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Desalination and the Gulf: The Relationship between the Environment and Meeting the Region’s Water Needs

  • Raed Bashitialshaaer
Publishing year: 2011
Language: English
Pages: 1-22
Publication/Series: IDA-International Desalination Association
Document type: Conference paper
Publisher: IDA-International Desalination Association

Abstract english

On December 6-7, 2010, the International Desalination Association (IDA) presented its first Environmental Symposium, “Desalination and the Gulf: The Relationship between the Environment and Meeting the Region’s Water Needs.”
Held in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain under the Patronage of H.E. Eng. Fahmi
Bin Ali Aljowder, Minister for Electricity and Water Affairs, this event was the
result of 12 months of work undertaken by IDA’s global Environmental Task
Force (ETF). It was attended by approximately 200 regulators, scientists and
engineers, water producers, members of the desalination industry, environmentalists and academics.
The mission of IDA’s Environmental Task Force is to facilitate discussion of environmental issues between stakeholders and environmental experts to explore potential environmental effects of desalination, and recommend strategies to mitigate impacts.1 These best practices can be used to enhance the operation of current desalination plants and guide the design of future facilities, not only in the Gulf but also in other areas of the world. Task Force members, including many of the world’s most esteemed experts from science, academia, industry and the public sector2 came together alongside their colleagues to present a wide range of academic knowledge, technical expertise and data at this landmark event.
The ETF focused its initial efforts on the Gulf3, for good reason: It is impossible
to overstate the importance of a healthy sea to the region’s growing populations
and economies which rely on it for the majority of their water resources.
Consider these facts: For nearly half a century, desalination has provided a reliable and sustainable source of fresh water to the growing populations and
economies in the Gulf region. Some countries on the Gulf rely on desalination
to produce 90% or more of their drinking water. Together, countries on the Gulf
produce approximately 40% of the world’s desalinated water. Moreover, the
Gulf is home to the world’s largest desalination plants. For example, the contracted facility at Ras Azzour will produce more than 1 million cubic meters per day (m3/d) of desalinated seawater.4
Clearly, desalination is a critical component of sustaining life and economic vitality in the Gulf region.


  • Other Social Sciences
  • Water Engineering
  • Desalination
  • Brine discharge
  • Salinity
  • Gulf countries
  • Environmental impacts and assessment.


Environmental Symposium, “Desalination and the Gulf: The Relationship between the Environment and Meeting the Region’s Water Needs”
E-mail: raed [dot] bashitialshaaer [at] cme [dot] lu [dot] se

Visiting research fellow

Centre for Middle Eastern Studies


Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Lund University
Box 201, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden
Visiting adress: Finngatan 16
Phone: +46 (0)46 222 00 00 (pbx)
maria [dot] lofstedt [at] cme [dot] lu [dot] se