Risks and threats of desalination in the Arabian Gulf
Al Nahyan, M T
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Desalination constitutes the sole long-term reliable and sustainable source of fresh water for the desert Arabian Gulf Region. The region is facing unprecedented growth with continuous population increase and economies that diversify from oil production to manufacturing and industry, and real estate and tourism. The scarcity of water makes it in addition to its life-sustaining role a limiting economic resource for the region. The current article analyses the situation in terms of desalination production in the region, which for the majority of the Gulf countries has doubled during the last decade, but still does not keep up with the continuously increasing water demand. In addition, the paper presents the risks and threats from utilizing as a sole source of water hat of a closed sea, the Arabian Gulf, which has a small opening to open ocean, a shallow depth, and a long residence time. The Arabian Gulf serves also as a major shipping route for oil exportation, navigation, wastewater effluent outlet, tourism, and entertainment making management of all its functions complicated. Parsimonious use of water in all facets of the economy is hence recommended.