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Apr 8, 2010

Water Scarcity in the Gulf Region

According to the 2009 Arab Human Development Report by the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), all of the Gulf states are water poverty stricken. Recently, the 9th Gulf states regional conference on water was held in Muscat, Oman (3/22/2010). The main objective of the meeting was to discuss water shortages and the development of a strategy for a better management of water resources. In light of population growth, increasing tourism and the economic development of industries and agriculture, a new strategy is required. More than 400 experts attended the conference in addition to public officials from the Gulf states.

Some experts emphasized that water consumption per individual in the Gulf states is among the highest in the world and that a better management system is needed badly. Furthermore, a complete system of sanitation and sewage networks should be constructed. Water recycling should be a priority for at least agricultural use. At the present, more than 30 stations of water desalination are in the Gulf region producing fresh water at a cost of one dollar per sq. met. Nearly 70% of water desalination projects are located in the Gulf region. Some experts promote passive energy sources such as the sun as a source of energy to cut the high cost of water desalination.

In addition, experts urged Gulf state governments to establish a joint water network connecting Gulf states in light of the growing population and the development of industries, agriculture and tourism.

The Gulf region rainfall is meager and it is among the driest areas in the world. Nearly 95% of the land is classified as desert.

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