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Ed Webb

Warming Temperatures & Decades of Oil Spills Cause Irreversible Damage to the Persian G... - 0 views

  • According to estimates by experts, pollution levels in the Persian Gulf are 47 times higher than the world’s average and are steadily increasing. The 600-mile body of water that is also known as the Arabian Gulf currently has 34 oilfields with more than 800 wells. In addition, roughly 85% of the oil extracted in the Gulf countries is exported – 40% of the world export of crude oil and around 15% of the world’s total export of refined products come from the region – and more than half of all the oil is carried by ships. It is estimated that approximately 25,000 tanker movements sail in and out of the Strait of Hormuz, the only sea passage that connects the Persian Gulf to the open sea. Accidental spilling is unavoidable and, on average, 100–160 thousand tons of oil and oil products end up in the Gulf every year.
  • In 2017, ScanEx and the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences began conducting the pilot project on the satellite monitoring of the state of the water of the Persian Gulf. The results of the research confirmed the severe levels of oil pollution in the gulf waters and the damage, some of it which have been irreversible, on its marine life. “In addition to military-led pollution, other issues such as warming waters due to climate change and the increasing saline levels due to desalination efforts by countries in the Gulf area aggressively worsening marine productivity and habitats,” says George Stacey, an analyst working with Norvergence, an environmental advocacy NGO.
  • a combination of human activities was pushing at least 35 per cent of the fauna in the Gulf waters to extinction in the next 60 years.
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  • Fisheries of Bahrain, with a relatively large fishing industry, and Iran, with the highest catch and fewer employment alternatives due to sanctions, are pointed out to be particularly vulnerable
  • A lot of the damage done in the past few decades cannot be reversed completely but it is not too late to prioritize the sustainability of the marine ecosystems of the gulf waters right now because any damages to it will trickle down to impact the communities living on its coasts and reverse years of development and advancements.”
Ed Webb

US tech firm turns Dubai desert air into bottled water - Arabianbusiness - 0 views

  • Instead of drilling wells or purifying seawater, it will wring moisture from the air to create bottled water at a plant 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Dubai
  • Zero Mass Water, will use renewable energy instead of the fossil fuels that power the many desalination facilities in Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates
  • The bottling plant is run on solar, the bottles we use are recyclable and the caps are sustainable,” said Samiullah Khan, general manager at IBV, an Emirati firm that will buy the water. The caps will be made from bamboo
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  • Zero Mass isn’t going to rival bulk water processors any time soon. It will initially only be able to produce up to 2.3 million litres annually - about the volume of a typical Olympic swimming pool. The technology is still much more expensive than desalination for the same output of water. So Zero Mass’s will be in the same bracket as imported, high-end brands such as Evian and Fiji
  • The rectangular boxes - measuring around 2.4 meters (8 feet) by 1.2 meters - absorb water vapour and extract it using solar energy. Although they can operate almost anywhere the sun shines, Dubai’s hot and humid climate makes the emirate a prime location, according to Cody Friesen, founder of Zero Mass
  • The panels have dust filters and use a chemical compound that only captures water molecules, ensuring the water is purified even when the air is polluted.
  • Gulf nations want to reduce their heavy dependence on food imports, especially with the coronavirus pandemic disrupting global supply chains. This month the UAE imported 4,500 dairy cows from Uruguay to boost milk production. It’s also trying to farm rice locally, the success of which will largely depend on using sustainable amounts of water.
  • Water-from-air is only suitable for farming in enclosed environments such as warehouses
  • “With hydroponics, it’s a huge advantage to be using very pure water to begin with,” said Wahlgren. “If you’re using desalinated water, there’s still quite a large salt component, which can be harmful to the plants.”
Ed Webb

Cyber attack targeted Israel's water supply, internal report claims - 0 views

  • Cyber attack targeted Israel's water supply, internal report claims
  • A suspected cyber attack took place against several Water Authority facilities over the weekend, according to an internal departmental report.
  • A memo sent by Water Authority officials ordered all personnel to immediately change the passwords to the facility's systems, "with emphasis on the operational system and the chlorine control in particular."
Ed Webb

Egyptian official: Ethiopia dam negotiations in Washington 'a disaster' | Mada Masr - 0 views

  • Three days of negotiations in Washington between the foreign and irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan ended on Wednesday without an agreement over the filling schedule for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, according to a joint statement by the three countries and the World Bank that was released by the US Treasury Department
  • reconvening again in Washington on January 28 and 29
  • Egyptian officials, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity, say that Cairo finds itself in a weak negotiating position with little outside support and is coming under pressure to agree to a less than favorable deal
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  • Another official source confirmed that the talks were not going well and that the Trump administration was pressuring Egypt to accept the minimum conditions in order to finalize a deal
  • the Trump administration is pressuring Egypt to accept Ethiopia’s proposals in return for compensation from the World Bank in the case of any water shortages. The nature of the compensation is unclear as yet
  • Ethiopia is refusing to commit to a number of key conditions: Firstly, that its annual share of water will be less than 40 billion cubic meters; secondly, that it will provide Egypt with an early notification before the dam’s operations begin; and thirdly, that the operations of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be compatible with the safe operation of the Aswan High Dam — specifically, that the High Dam would be capable of producing sufficient electricity.
  • The source said that Egypt cannot fully go against the wishes of the United States and that they are not getting the kind of support they were hoping for from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
  • an assessment by the Irrigation Ministry has concluded that Egypt will not get enough support from international bodies such as the United Nations Security Council or the African Union in the negotiations, according to the source. Egypt does not have a strong ally in Africa and when Ethiopia plans to begin filling the dam in July, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s term as head of the African Union will have ended and handed over to South Africa
  • Cairo is trying to avoid an open-ended scenario in which a final deal is not agreed upon, which would lead to the dam being filled without Egypt’s consent.
Ed Webb

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan resume talks over disputed Nile dam | News | Al Jazeera - 0 views

  • The irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have met in Cairo for a new round of talks aimed at resolving a dispute over a multibillion-dollar dam being built by the Ethiopian government. The two-day meeting, which got under way on Monday in the Egyptian capital, comes almost a month after the three sides agreed to work towards resolving the issue at a US-brokered meeting in Washington, DC.
  • Egypt wants Ethiopia to agree to release a minimum of 40bn cubic metres of water from GERD annually. It is also calling for the accompanying reservoir to be filled over a longer period than the four or so years envisaged by Ethiopia, in order to ensure water supplies remain sufficient in the event of droughts. Analysts fear that the three Nile basin countries could be drawn into conflict if the dispute is not resolved before the dam begins operating. 
Ed Webb

How the Suez Canal will continue to change Mediterranean Sea - 0 views

  • Since the opening of the Suez Canal, the renowned waterway connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, its environmental impact has been a matter of concern, with the arrival of nonindigenous species from other regions. Since the official inauguration 150 years ago, the number of species that have arrived through the canal — known as Lessepsian or Erythrean species — is estimated to exceed 400, according to different studies. This is a substantial migration that some observers warn is causing the most significant biogeographic change currently underway worldwide.
  • “This has caused a substantial change in the traffic [food] webs of the Eastern Mediterranean, and such kind of life chain change has not been observed anywhere else in the world.”
  • Even if the introduction of Erythrean species started as soon as the canal opened, only a few established in the Mediterranean back then. It has only been in the last decades that the process has skyrocketed, and the number of alien species in the Mediterranean — not only Lessepsian — more than doubled between 1970 and 2015, bringing a new sense of urgency.
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  • acceleration has been facilitated by a Mediterranean Sea that is now more welcoming for alien species in terms of temperature and salinity. But also because the possibilities to arrive are higher due to the successive enlargements of the Suez Canal since its inauguration and the increase of maritime transport and aquafarming
  • Until now, there has not been any basin-wide extinction of indigenous marine species recorded in the Mediterranean, but there are cases of local disappearances and gross reductions in numbers. This has been particularly the case in its eastern basin, where the ratio of alien to native species is the highest.
  • there are nine species recorded that pose human health hazards, all of which are considered to have arrived through the Suez Canal. Their presence is particularly high in the Levant, but a lethally poisonous pufferfish has been found as far as in Spain. In the summer of 2009, one of these species caused 815 documented hospitalizations along the southeastern coast of Turkey,
  • “The major changes are in the shelf water, where artisanal [fishermen] used to fish. … So you are not only changing the economy in [quantity] but depriving people’s livelihood,”
  • “Egypt is now building huge desalinating plants near the canal and their outflow is high salinity affluent, which should be used in the Bitter Lakes [in the center of the Suez Canal] to reintroduce the salinity barrier that used to be present in the early days, and that we know was efficacious in stopping at least some of the invaders."
Ed Webb

Selling water and electricity to Egypt - Egypt - Al-Ahram Weekly - Ahram Online - 0 views

  • The majority of Nile Basin countries want to sell water to Egypt, while Ethiopia wants to do the same with the electricity that will be generated from its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), said Egypt’s former water resources and irrigation minister Mohamed Nasreddin Allam in an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly
  • believes that the GERD will certainly decrease Egypt’s share of the Nile River, which is the lion’s share among the Nile Basin countries by virtue of the 1959 Agreement on the use of the river, though he stressed that Egypt has other options
  • “What we [Egypt] need to do is not to buy the electricity that will be generated by the GERD, and the dam will then become useless,” he suggested
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  • Negotiations between Cairo and Addis Ababa came to a stalemate due to disagreements about the process of filling the reservoir behind the dam, as Cairo has asked for this to be linked to the level of the water in the reservoir behind the Aswan High Dam so that Egypt’s water quota is not drastically affected. This demand was rejected by the Ethiopian side, as it would make “the GERD the hostage of the Aswan High Dam”, a note issued by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry earlier this month said.
  • Egyptian-Ethiopian relations have long been tense. Ethiopia’s former emperor Haile Selassie took a number of actions against Egypt at the UN Security Council during the Nasser period, for example
  • Selassie had backed France and Britain after Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal Company in the 1950s, which led to the Tripartite Aggression against Egypt in 1956
Ed Webb

Thirsty crops, leaky infrastructure drive Tunisia's water crisis | PLACE - 0 views

  • "We used to grow much more wheat, we used to plant tomatoes, but we don't have (enough) water,"
  • Poor planning, sparse water resources and the worsening impacts of climate change have combined to create a crippling water crisis in Tunisia, say civil society groups.
  • Due to random cuts to water supplies, debt and management issues with the GDAs and the poor quality of water that runs from the taps, Marzougui said about three-quarters of the population have problems accessing clean water.
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  • The country's irregular rainfall patterns are accentuated by climate change, with periods of droughts and record high temperatures oscillating between torrential rain and floods, according to the agriculture ministry.
  • "We need a lot of water during Eid - for cooking, showering, for washing the intestines of the sheep," she said, referring to the traditional method for preparing meat during the holiday. "The infrastructure is bad, we lose water in the distribution network. The summer months are peak tourist season, so there is a lot of water consumption," said Louati of the OTE. "And because of climate change, the availability of water varies more than before."
  • It is mostly women who carry the burden of fetching water
  • Even for houses on the grid, water is not guaranteed. Nomad08 recorded 3,000 cuts between 2016 and 2018 across the country, lasting up to 60 days at a time.
  • latest government figures also reveal that poor infrastructure means in some regions about half of water is lost before it even reaches the tap
  • In 2017, the minister of agriculture created a committee dedicated to prioritising climate change in the management of agriculture and water. "We are in front of a fait accompli - we need to do with what we have and it is only going to become less (water)," said Rafik Aini, coordinator of the committee and senior negotiator in climate change at the agriculture ministry.
  • Tunisia's new Water Code, which was approved by ministers in September and is waiting to be debated by parliament, includes climate change as a factor to be considered in water policy decisions, unlike the original 1975 code.
  • In addition to repairing the water network, Aini told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the government's 2050 strategy for water will involve desalination projects powered by renewable energy.
  • "It costs a lot of money and there is still (more) water lost through the network (than desalination stations are projected to produce)."
  • In January, a study by the U.N. University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) warned that the global levels of surplus salty brine produced by this method were 50% higher than previous estimates.
  • Desalination would also have "profound impacts" on the sea ecosystem, where this waste is mostly dumped, the report found.
  • the "politics of agriculture needs to change," said Gafrej. "With precious and rare water, we do not have the right to produce certain cultures like watermelons."
  • about 80% of Tunisia's natural water resources are used for agriculture, according to last year's government figures. Thirsty crops like oranges, watermelons and tomatoes are grown for export abroad, mostly to Europe.
  • In intensive farming regions, like Kairouan, groundwater is being extracted at a faster rate than the underground supply is renewed, as well as from non-renewable groundwater sources. A government report noted that these resources are exploited up to 400% in certain regions.
Ed Webb

Ethiopia's Abiy Ahmed issues warning over Renaissance Dam | Egypt News | Al Jazeera - 0 views

  • Ethiopia's prime minister has warned that if the need arises to go to war over a dam project disputed with Egypt, his country could ready millions of people, but that only negotiation can resolve a current deadlock.
  • Talks collapsed earlier this month over the construction of the $5bn dam, the largest in Africa, which is approximately 70 percent complete and is expected to provide much-needed electricity to Ethiopia's 100 million people.
  • Egypt, with a similar population, fears the Nile dam will reduce its share of the river and leave the country with dwindling options as it seeks to protect its main source of fresh water.
Ed Webb

Russia may help solve the GERD problem: Egypt's foreign minister - Politics - Egypt - A... - 0 views

  • Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Soukry told Russian Sputnik news agency that Russia may help solve the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) problem after the failure of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to reach an agreement on the dam's filling and operation
  • Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi will meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Moscow on Thursday to continue discussions on the GERD. The Russia-Africa summit and business forum is co-chaired by El-Sisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin
Ed Webb

What's behind Egypt meeting with Greece, Cyprus at this time? - 0 views

  • The seventh tripartite summit between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece was held Oct. 8 at Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo. The summit was chaired by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and involved Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
  • a joint declaration that the three presidents underlined the importance of making additional efforts to boost security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region, and strongly denounce any Turkish attempt to undermine the Syrian territorial integrity. They also expressed willingness to promote cooperation in the fields of natural gas drilling and transportation, and stressed the need for stronger international efforts in combating terrorism and extremism. The declaration stated that the three presidents emphasized that an effective international role to break the deadlock in the talks over the Grand Renaissance Dam is a necessity.
  • attributed the importance of the summit’s timing “to the need that each country supports the other in the decisive issues facing it.”
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  • Cairo had officially announced that the talks over the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have come to a dead end, and that Ethiopia rejected the proposals Cairo made to Addis Ababa and Khartoum. This is while Ankara said Oct. 7 that the Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz will start gas drilling activities southwest of Cyprus.
  • Egypt needs to mobilize international support in the talks over the dam, and that Cyprus needs similar support against the Turksih gas drilling activities in the waters that Cyprus considers to be part of its Exclusive Economic Zone
  • “I do not think that such support would have a major impact on the [international] decisions relating to the Turkey-Cyprus dispute. Neither do Egypt and Greece have effective means to pressure Turkey, nor are Cyprus and Greece able to pressure Ethiopia in the talks over the dam. Yet at the end of the day it is a kind of political support.”
  • the energy dossier, particularly natural gas, was of utmost importance at the summit.
  • Cyprus and Greece are interested in investing in the Suez Canal, and Egypt is interested as well in the advantages Cyprus and Greece can bring to the field of ports management
  • Syrian and Libyan crises and subsequent illegal migration via the Mediterranean Sea,
  • The three countries signed May 22 an electricity interconnection agreement.
  •  “The summit delivers to Turkey the warning message that carrying on with its international law violations would require the three countries to take a firm stance that the European Union — which already imposed sanctions against Turkey — backs.”
  • part of the Eastern Mediterranean Initiative (Cairo Declaration) on tripartite cooperation and coordination in the gas, energy and oil resources dossiers in the Eastern Mediterranean that Egypt launched on Nov. 8, 2014
Ed Webb

GERD talks should continue despite deadlock, Egyptian experts say - Politics - Egypt - ... - 0 views

  • Talks between Egypt and Ethiopia over the latter's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) should not stop, despite reaching a deadlock earlier this month, Egyptians experts said at a conference in Cairo on Tuesday
  • an event organised by the Egyptian Center For Strategic Studies (ECSS)
  • On 5 October, Egypt announced that talks with Ethiopia over GERD had reached a dead due to the “intransigency” of the Ethiopian side.
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  • On Friday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed agreed in a phone call to overcome any obstacles facing negotiations on the dam's operation, according to the Egyptian presidency. The pair are set to meet at a summit in Russia next week
  • Egypt fears that the dam will reduce its water supply, which is dependent on the Nile, while Ethiopia maintains the hydroelectric dam will not restrict the river’s flow and hopes the mega-project will turn it into a regional power hub. The dam, which has been under construction since 2011, is being built on the Blue Nile, which accounts for 85 percent of the Nile water that reach Egypt
  • Ethiopians were trying to both finalize the process of ratification for the 2010 Entebbe agreement, which has been signed by six out of the ten Nile Basin Initiative states
    Egyptian officials aren't used to not getting their way in the Nile Basin
Ed Webb

Saudi Arabia's water depends on Japan desalination tech - Green Prophet | Impact News f... - 0 views

  • Toray Industries of Japan tells Green prophet that its new technology called ROMEMBRA – a reverse osmosis (RO) tech will be working for Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia is looking for desalination technology to help provide drinking water for its growing population. Saudi Arabia has the means, from oil, to produce water energy intensive desalination. Only rich nations can afford this.  Environmentalists see this as a last resort solution when all other options to conserve water have been explored. 
  • Gulf countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are investing in desal tech to cater to rising populations and a dire situation due to mismanaging resources and climate change. And they are looking to solar and alternative energy solutions to power such technologies.  The RO or reverse osmosis method consumes less energy over conventional evaporation method.
Ed Webb

Climate crisis: 13 ways the Middle East is under threat | Middle East Eye - 0 views

  • The Middle East and North Africa have always been used to more than their fair share of extreme weather and conditions. But it has been made much worse by the twin threats of climate change and man-made intervention, which are hitting the region with increased frequency and ferocity.
  • "In the Middle East there has been a significant increase in the frequency and the intensity of sand and dust storms in the past 15 years or so."
  • The lavishly titled Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), under construction on the Blue Nile since 2011, will be the largest in Africa when it is completed. But in Cairo it is being watched anxiously: a rapid increase in demand due to population growth, severe mismanagement of resources and a lack of investment in water infrastructure have made Egypt one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, relying on the Nile for 90 percent of its fresh water.
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  • Jordan. It has been described by the UN as one of the most water-scarce countries on the planet
  • Once a water-rich country, southern Iraq has faced successive droughts and significant drops in annual rainfall, following the construction of major dams in Turkey and Iran since the 1970s.
  • Arab states are facing a water supply emergency for which they need a coordinated response, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, predicting that per capita resources will be halved by 2050.
  • The Middle East and North Africa have suffered more than any other region from water scarcity and desertification, problems being complicated by climate change
  • In the UAE, reclamation schemes, such as Dubai's Palm Islands and World Islands, have altered the geography of the coast and wave patterns have destroyed marine ecosystems.
  • Campaigners in western Turkey have protested against a Canadian-owned gold mine project amid fears the deforestation will reduce a hilltop to an arid desert.
  • Dubai has one of the hottest climates on the planet. At the height of summer, temperatures can reach a high of 41ºC in the shade. But the emirate's urban growth - between 10 percent and 13 percent, year on year, for the past four decades - has boosted those figures.
  • Pilgrims attending Hajj in Saudi Arabia may be at risk of extreme heat and humidity that is driven by climate change
  • It has been calculated that golf courses in the US use, on average, 130,000 gallons of water each day. Those in the kingdom and elsewhere will likely use many times that amount, as well as fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides to keep them alive. All these chemicals eventually feed into precious groundwater supplies, potentially causing pollution problems. 
  • In 2017, scientists warned that climate change means that the Middle East and North African region (MENA) is susceptible to some of the more severe consequences of warming, including lethal heat waves, extensive drought and rising sea levels.
  • Morocco was ranked second of 57 countries in this year's Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), which examines four performance categories: emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy. But while Egypt was mid-table at 21st, Turkey came in at 47th, Iran was 55th and Saudi Arabia was last at 57th, a position it has held for the past few years.
Ed Webb

Qatar's agriculture push risks further groundwater depletion - 0 views

  • Qatar's leading news outlets recently reported that local agricultural production has jumped by 400% since a political and economic blockade was imposed on the emirate by its Arab neighbors in 2017. And within a few years, 40% to 50% of fresh products could be produced locally,
  • the blockade caused Qatar to realize its vulnerability when it comes to the food supply
  •  recently ranked as the most water-stressed country in the world. It is also one of the few countries with no permanent rivers as rainfall is extremely unpredictable and highly erratic
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  • Qatar’s fast-growing agriculture has been looking deep underground for its water.
  • Each year, 92% of the 250 million cubic meters (75,000 acre-feet) of groundwater withdrawn from the country's aquifers is given free of charge to farmers
  • At Baladna, Qatar's largest producer of fresh dairy products, 12,000 cows produce 400 tons of fresh milk and and other dairy goods a day. The company’s press officer, Saba Mohammed Nasser Al Fadala, acknowledges that "cows were not made for the desert."
  • Artificial recharges and irrigation return flows reduce this loss but also may be polluting the aquifers, in part because of chemical fertilizers used by farmers
  • groundwater depletion causes seawater intrusion into aquifers: In 2014, 69% of wells in Qatar were classified as moderately saline
  • Half of the groundwater allocated to agriculture is utilized to grow fodder that feeds 60% to 70% of the 1.6 million head of livestock in Qatar.
  • Qatar withdraws nearly four times as much water from its aquifers than is replenished by rainfall each year
  • To mitigate the depletion of Qatar’s aquifers, local authorities plan to ban the use of groundwater to grow fodder by 2025 and restrict it to vegetable crops. Treated sewage water that is currently allocated to the irrigation of green spaces, deep injection into aquifers and agriculture is to be used for fodder.
  • Freshwater reserves for Qatar are estimated at 2.5 billion cubic meters. However, an annual groundwater deficit of some 100 million cubic meters or more puts Qatar's future in a precarious situation
  • each Baladna cow requires an average of 700 liters of water a day, most of which is used for misting in Qatar's heat. The press officer said up to 80% of this water can be recycled
  • The Ministry of Municipality and Environment says it supports those who reduce their groundwater consumption and move toward hydroponic farming. A budget of $2.75 million to $3.3 million has been allocated to a program that aims to provide up to 140 farms with free greenhouses
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