Could the Middle East run out of water? How the UAE gets around the problem

Could the Middle East run out of water? How the UAE gets around the problem

The Middle East is home to some of the driest countries in the world, and droughts and heat are only expected to get worse as climate change worsens. Regardless, some places in the region manage to stay green and lush.
Tue, Sep 27 20226:31 AM EDT

The Middle East and North Africa are rich in oil and gas, but it's witnessing a shrinking supply of one of earth's most critical resources: water. 

Twelve of the 17 most water-stressed countries in the world are in the region, according to 2019 findings from the World Resources Institute. Scientists fear shortages will get worse as the climate warms and rainfall becomes less frequent. That could lead to food shortages, mass migration and conflict. 

"We are in a sustainability crisis, a climate crisis," Dr. David Hannah, a professor of hydrology at the University of Birmingham, told CNBC. The Middle East "has very limited conventional water resources, and some of the groundwater resources are saline," meaning they're often unusable or need to be desalinated using expensive, energy-intensive technology. 

So how can the Middle East make better use of the limited water it has? CNBC zoomed in on the UAE, which produces the most desalinated water in the world and attracts millions of tourists yearly with its lush green resorts and golf courses — in the middle of the desert.