Middle East: Fog harvesting vital to address water scarcity

Water experts called for urgent management of water resources and exploration of new sources in the wake of growing demand for water and huge water deficit in countries situated in the arid zone.
water harvestingThey suggested fog harvesting a right solution to maintain greenery in the Middle Eastern countries, thus making a strong ground for such activities in Dhofar which is abundant with thick fog during four months of khareef (monsoon) season.

Dr Nadim Farajalla, Associate Professor of Environmental Hydrology at American University of Beirut, cited Catley-Carlson’s study which states that worldwide there would be 40 per cent increase in demand for water by 2030. “All this has been compounded by a changing climate in which, globally, temperatures are going to rise and precipitation fall leading to diminishing resources coupled by increasing demand.”

He mentioned these findings in his paper titled ‘Fog harvesting — A viable source of water in a changing climate in arid regions. His paper was discussed during the recently concluded symposium on water.

Dr Nadim said the Middle East is considered as the most water scarce region in the world due to far more dependence on renewable water resources than other regions.

He cited other studies which state that Tunisia is using 83 per cent of its available renewable resources, while Egypt is using 92 per cent, Libya 644 per cent and Gaza 169 per cent. “According to FAO estimates, All the GCC countries except Oman, are using in excess of 100 per cent of their available freshwater resources.
“This situation is not going to improve as the precipitation in the Middle East is to decrease between 5 per cent and 25 per cent by 2050. Thus recharge of groundwater and replenishment of surface water will decrease drastically,” the paper said. He suggested fog and dew harvesting a viable solution to meet the ensuing water crisis in the Middle Eastern region. “This ancient technology has experienced a revival in the latter parts of the 20th century and early 21st century.

Historically, fog harvesting was known in Palestine, in ancient Greece, in the Canary Islands and in India in the 1600s amongst many other places.

More recent research has focused on estimating the amounts of water that could be yielded by cloud harvesting and on means of integrating this source of water within existing water supply networks or as supplementary sources of water.”
The fog harvesting, according to him, is an essential approach not only to provide much needed additional water but also to enable areas to adapt to climate change by conserving and protecting marginal and degraded landscapes.

Source: Oman Daily Observer (By Kaushalendra Singh)

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