Desert Innovations: How Middle Eastern Countries are Revolutionizing Water Conservation:
The MENA region has faced challenges meeting its increasing water demands for many years. According to a report by Orient Planet Research in 2020, the water requirements of the Gulf Cooperation Council region are projected to reach 33,733 cubic meters annually by 2050. The amount of storage expected in the region’s future is only 25,855 cubic meters. As populations increase and freshwater sources diminish, it has become more crucial to urgently seek sustainable solutions to foster water conservation and improve the region’s water security.
Approaches To Sustainable Water Conservation In Arid Regions
Many Arab countries are investing in new technologies and approaches to protect freshwater sources, recycle and reuse wastewater, and reduce the negative effects of desalinating seawater on the environment.
The MENA area uses nearly 80% of the water for agriculture, which is more than the global average of 70%. The World Bank reports that natural underground aquifers are depleting faster than refilling with fresh water. For this reason, they are developing new smart water management systems which use AI technology to monitor and control the dwindling resource.
Countries in the MENA region are turning to advanced technologies like membrane bioreactors, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet disinfection. These are currently employed to treat wastewater greatly, making it safe for reuse in irrigation, industrial, and even potable applications.
Another method these countries are considering is to treat greywater locally, enabling the water to be used and reused at its origin. This technique helps to avoid extra expenses related to pumping.
Atmospheric water harvesting is also a potential solution for addressing water scarcity. This method involves gathering water from the air using different techniques such as condensation, dew collection, and fog harvesting
A company in Dubai called Dake Rechsand created a creative way for the UAE to address climate change, water problems, and food security. Using their special technology, they can turn desert sand into fields supporting farming. The key to their solution is the creation of “breathable sand,” which keeps water around plant roots while letting air pass through.
Due to its dry environment and heavy reliance on imports, the Middle East is at the front of these changes. Saudi Arabia, for example, launched Vision 2030. Vision 2030 includes plans to use water resources optimally, cut consumption, and use renewable water. This is part of the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative. The UAE’s also announced its Net Zero 2050 plan in 2021. The goal of this plan is to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in line with its climate commitments and to address its own environmental problems.
It is certain that solutions to the increasing issue of water scarcity are attainable. The goal is to speed up the development and spread of new approaches for managing water in a sustainable way.