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Water Security in the Arab World

Water availability in the Arab region is a critical issue as the region has 5 percent of the world’s population having access to merely 1 percent of the world’s total water resources. According to United Nations estimates, around 12 Arab countries suffer from severe water shortages. The per capita availability of renewable water resources is less than 500 m3 per year. In order to resolve this critical situation, many projects in the Arab Strategy for Water Security (2010-2030) support efficient management and use of water resources. Read more

Funding problems hit plan to clean Rio’s polluted waterways ahead of Olympics

With the Olympic Games just months away, Rio de Janeiro has a problem: rubbish. Hundreds of tonnes of unprocessed waste flow into the Guanabara Bay every year. The problem isn’t new but the prospect of Olympic swimmers and sailors taking to Rio’s contaminated waters have put the issue in the spotlight.

Previous promises from Rio officials to “regenerate Rio’s magnificent waterways” through investment in sanitation have not delivered results. Could the Dutch environment ministry have better luck? In an ambitious and diplomatically unorthodox move it has pulled together some of the country’s leading waste experts, including businesses and NGOs, to propose a variety of innovative solutions under the name Clean Urban Delta Initiative Read more

The Menace of Marine Litter

Marine litter, long a neglected topic, has started to garner some attention. Marine litter is composed of a diverse mix of items from various sources and so a one-size fits all solution is unlikely to be effective. Abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), plastic packaging (bottles, caps, bags, etc.) and plastic manufacturing pellets are amongst the most common and persistent items found. Comparing the feasibility and the financial case for recovery versus prevention for each of these groups reveals a worrying gap in our attempts to deal with the problem. Read more

The Menace of Plastic Water Bottles

Plastic water bottles are a common feature in urban life in the Middle East. The availability of water bottles is common and the cost is affordable by all sections of the society due to which its use and misuse has increased manifolds with time. People also provide it for free in mosques and other public locations. It is because of its easy availability that people misuse this resource considering it free, taking a bottle, sipping it, consuming partly and leaving it at the venue or throwing it in garbage bins. Read more

Freshwater Management Outlook for UAE

Per capita water consumption of freshwater in the United Arab Emirates is the highest in the world. Over the last several decades, the demand on municipal water supply has increased significantly in the UAE. This is mainly due to increase in population growth, economic development and changes in lifestyle of the people. Though water is used by many sectors such as manufacturing industries, agriculture and domestic purposes, residential  and commercial uses of water during the operational phase of the building is one of the biggest contributing factors that puts a strain on freshwater supply in the country.

Desalination and Sustainability Read more

Climate Change Impacts in Kuwait

Kuwait is facing a wide range of climate change challenges including sea level rise, water scarcity, desertification and loss of diversity. Kuwait is characterized by high temperature, high humidity and arid lands resulting in seriously degraded soil and land damage in addition to salt intrusion in the aquifers affecting the small scale agricultural lands thus enhancing the food security threat in the region. Since 1975, Kuwait has experienced 1.50C to 20C increase in temperature, which is significantly higher than the global average. In recent years, there has been a sharp change in rainfall pattern in Kuwait which may be attributed to climate change impacts. In addition, there has been marked increase in dust storms in last few decades which are noticeable signs of change in climatic conditions in Kuwait and neighbouring nations. Read more

Egypt’s Water Crisis – Recipe for Disaster

Egypt has been suffering from severe water scarcity in recent years. Uneven water distribution, misuse of water resources and inefficient irrigation techniques are some of the major factors playing havoc with water security in the country. Being more or less an arid country, Egypt is heavily dependent on rain in other countries to support its rapidly growing population and development. The River Nile is the lifeline of the country as it services the country’s industrial and agricultural demand and is the primary source of drinking water for the population. Read more

Water Scarcity in Bahrain

Bahrain is listed among the top ten countries that are likely to suffer from a water crisis in the next 25 years. The World Resources Institute (WRI) have estimated that 33 countries, half of which are in the Middle East, would suffer from a severe water crisis by 2040. According to the study that included 167 countries, the top ten countries that would face water crisis by 2040 are Bahrain, Kuwait, Palestine, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman. The finding shows that the Middle East is already probably the least water-secure region in the world as it depends heavily on groundwater and desalinated sea water, and faces exceptional water-related challenges for the foreseeable future. Read more

Introduction to Green Roofs

Green roofs are emerging technologies that can provide a wide range of tangible and intangible benefits to communities interested in enhancement of their environment. Green roof development involves the construction of a vegetative layer on top of a human-made structure or building adding green space to areas that would otherwise be unused. The major benefits of green roofs are reducing energy use as well as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing stormwater management and water quality, decreasing heat island effect by regulating temperature for the roof and the surrounding areas and providing aesthetic value and habitats for many species. Read more