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Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2010 Nov 28;368(1931):5339-50. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2010.0184.

Progressive development of water resources in the Middle East for sustainable water supply in a period of climate change.

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Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Negev, Israel.


The history of the Middle East has been influenced by past global climatic changes. Warm periods caused droughts, resulting in desertification, migration and war. Cold periods were humid and brought prosperity and agricultural settlement to the desert fringes. The forecast based on this correlation is that the present global warming will cause the drying up of the Middle East. As in the past, this negative impact should be mitigated by using the groundwater resources stored from past wetter times. This will involve deep drilling, pumping and modern irrigation methods within the framework of a new policy of 'progressive development', which will entail the use of currently undeveloped natural water resources beyond that of present water replenishment. While the use of the one-time groundwater reserves is taking place, a master long-term comprehensive progressive development plan for the Middle East will be prepared. This plan will include the step-by-step development of other water resources such as treated effluents, desalinated brackish groundwater and desalination of seawater.


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