Article image: Water Desalination Plants in the United Arab Emirates

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The UAE second export category after crude oil is aluminum. Full version

It is known that the water covers about 70% of our planet, but regrettably only 3% of the resources accounts for a usable fresh water. Water remains the most vital resource of the earth, a lack of which is keenly felt today. This is especially true for the Middle East countries, where freshwater resources are very limited due to the geographical and climate features. The possibility of desalinating and using sea water has become a solution to the problem.


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Desalination is the process of removing dissolved salts from seawater. Thus, the water becomes drinkable and suitable for solving various technical problems.

For example, water desalination facilities in the UAE provides about 80% of water consumed. The United Arab Emirates ranks second after Saudi Arabia in terms of the amount of producing desalinated water. Today, many specialized sea water desalination plants are built on the territory of the UAE.

Water in the UAE – problems and solutions

The United Arab Emirates Government implements long-term programs based on the active interaction between the state and private business in order to solve problems in the ground of water supply. Today, dozens of desalination plants and installations operate in the United Arab Emirates. However, when solving some problems, the government has to face other difficulties. This is because the process of seawater desalination is quite power consuming and cost-intensive.

Therefore, the authorities are in constant search for the alternative solutions. Desalination in the UAE is reaching a new level, which implies minimal costs and preservation of the environment. The problem of fresh water supply in the UAE remains relevant as the currently used technology for seawater desalination consumes large amounts of fossil fuels and electrical energy. This situation is aggravated by the rapidly increasing population, urbanization and economic needs.

Water Desalination in the UAE – search for alternatives

Use of the renewable energy sources for desalination plants is a vivid example of implementation of the advanced and environmentally responsive technologies. For instance, desalination plants running on solar power are already operating in the United Arab Emirates. Such projects are designed to make a fresh water production economically feasible and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions during production.

The main advantage of such plants is a zero emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere, and provision of the local population with a drinkable water. Moreover, the designers of such plants state that the usage of solar power will meaningfully reduce the cost of fresh water production.

It is not a secret that the United Arab Emirates is one of the most arid regions of the world experiencing an acute shortage of fresh water. However, the high revenues from the oil and gas economic sector permit to provide hefty volumes of water desalination. The state possesses all the essential dynamism, fiscal, personnel and decision-making resources that allows it to find operational and proficient solutions.

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