How Dubai Gets Water for their Needs

One may wonder how Dubai gets water when it is situated in the middle of a desert. Their water consumption rate, too, is one of the highest in the world. But Dubai is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. When they are masters in building artificial islands and skyscrapers, getting fresh water for their needs is an easy task.
There are many ways from which Dubai gets its fresh water. Here are 3 of the most prevalent ways.

3 Ways How Dubai Gets Water

1. Desalinated Seawater

Although Dubai does not get much rainfall and does not have its own freshwater rivers, the city is very conveniently located by the Arabian Gulf. This means that they have access to plenty of seawater.

There are numerous desalination plants across the UAE. In Dubai, the desalination of seawater happens at the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) plants. There are eight water desalination plants in the UAE. These plants function under BOO, Build Own Operate contracts, and their energy is supplied by fossil fuels.

Although most of Dubai’s freshwater comes from the desalination of seawater, it comes with a lot of complications. Not only is the process tedious and expensive, but it also has a lot of adverse effects on the environment.

The process affects the marine climate of the Arabian Gulf due to the release of synthetic substances and concentrates. It also causes a lot of air contamination. This has led to the Red Tide impact in the Arabian Gulf.

2. Groundwater

Most of the groundwater available in the UAE is saline as well. There are just two freshwater aquifers that provide clean water. Natural groundwater recharge is about 300 million cubic meters per year.

Brackish, saline groundwater is used for the irrigation of date palms in the UAE. Date palms are comparatively salt-tolerant. However, UAE is currently battling with declining groundwater levels and the declining quality of the water. This has been caused by the unplanned and uncontrolled withdrawal of groundwater, especially for agriculture and forestry.

3. Treated Wastewater

Wastewater is treated and utilized in many ways, like thruway finishing and water systems of nurseries. The excellent management of recycled water in Dubai and the UAE has led to their vast greenery and growing agriculture plans.

Is tap water in Dubai safe for Drinking?

Yes, the tap water of Dubai is desalinated and purified water. It has been assured to be safe water for drinking by the Dubai municipality. But you might find the taste of the water in Dubai different from what you are used to.

Although the tap water of Dubai is perfectly safe for drinking, most tourists in Dubai tend to prefer bottled water that is available in every corner store and supermarket. This is because they find the taste of the water distasteful for their palates.

The taste of tap water in Dubai also varies from area to area. The taste of water in Karama tastes different from the water in Barsha.

Most of the residents of Dubai also prefer purified water or natural mineral water for drinking and cooking tap water. Prevalent mineral water brands include Masafi and Mai.

How Dubai Gets Water: Conclusion

Dubai gets freshwater through two main ways: desalination of seawater and groundwater. The majority of the water used in Dubai is desalinated water. Though it is quite suitable for drinking, most people prefer buying natural mineral water for consumption.

Groundwater that is unsuitable for drinking and treated wastewater is used for irrigation, construction purposes and other uses that tolerate saline or brackish water. Thus, Dubai has managed to solve its freshwater issues in the midst of the Arabian desert and become a flourishing green city through proper water management and technology.

Also read:

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Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo – No.1 Aquarium in the World

*All pics are taken from


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