Urban Design Strategies for Intervention of Constructed Wetlands in Semi-Arid Zones: An Application on the case of Abu Nakhla Wetlands in Doha, Qatar
Author(s)Al Amawi, Rana Sameh
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AbstractWith rapid economic growth and increasing population, Qatar is facing enormous challenges in protecting the environment while sustaining its natural resources (The Peninsula, 2012). Apart from pollution and natural resource shortages, limited fresh water supply and wastewater management are other challenges facing Qatar. Accelerated demographic changes and escalating industrialization due to the preparation of the upcoming mega event 2022 FIFA World Cup indicate that the country needs proper wastewater management in parallel with preservation of the native habitat. Today, many green initiatives and smart solutions can be merged together with advanced technology implemented around the world, to come up with better strategies for water management through Constructed Wetland Systems. Abu Nakhla Constructed Wetlands marks the biggest Treated Sewage Effluent reservoir in the Gulf state of Qatar. The wetlands are considered as a good ecological and attractive habitat for various animals, as it is a refuge for the survival of these animals in the middle of the desert (Abdulfatih, et al., 2002). Recently, local authorities announced to drain Abu Nakhla Wetlands and the area rehabilitated, trusting that it is the best environmental solution (Gulf Times, 2014). This decision was made due to various reasons including residents’ complains about their health and safety concern (Raya News, 2014). In order to consider these concerns and maintain a healthier neighborhood for them, yet preserving the reservoir and its rich eco-diversity, the thesis sets guidelines and urban design strategies to support the positive demand of these parties. Its importance derives from the fact that it highlights the significance of constructed wetlands and preservation of its environmental biodiversity, especially in Semi-Arid Zones like Qatar’s where continuous draught causes threats to water and food security. The thesis studies and analyzes landscapes in the Semi-Arid zone of Qatar, emphasizing water challenges in the region. It proposes a clearer understanding about Wetlands in general terms by identifying the different typologies and systems. The thesis applied the Case Studies Methodology for some wetlands with similar characteristics to Qatar’s climatic conditions and Abu Nakhla’s case to provide reference and guidelines for the case study. In addition, the thesis sheds light on Qatar’s perspective on Wetlands and the current use of Treated Sewage Effluent with reference to local environmental legislations. Finally, the study concludes with a comprehensive analysis for Abu Nakhla Wetlands. Accordingly, urban design guidelines and strategies are developed to sustain the environmental development, thus supporting national vision and local green initiatives. These aim for a positive contribution to the national levels in terms of economic, environmental, and social performances under four approaches of Environmental and Eco-Touristic, Food Production, Educational, and finally recreational and leisure.