Water resources in the GCC countries: An overview

Muhammad F. Al-Rashed, Mohsen M. Sherif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Citations (Scopus)


One of the critical problems that hinders the sustainable development in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is the lack of renewable water resources. Rainfall in the Arabian Peninsula is scarce and infrequent. Over-exploitation of fossil groundwater resources, mostly to meet the irrigation demands and create greenery lands, has already affected the aquifer's productivity both quantitatively and qualitatively. A great portion of the freshwater demands in the GCC countries is covered by desalinated water. Recently, after the Gulf war and uncertainty of oil prices, the expansion in the construction of desalination plants may not be economically feasible. This article investigates the water availability and assesses the water demands in the GCC countries. It emphasizes the need for the adaptation of an efficient and integrated policy for water utilization and application of relevant conservation techniques in various water consumption sectors. Water of higher quality should be preserved for drinking purposes and should not be utilized for other purposes that may tolerate water of lower quality. Recycling of water and artificial recharge of groundwater by surface water and treated wastewater should be adapted at a larger scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-75
Number of pages17
JournalWater Resources Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Demands
  • Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Management
  • Prediction
  • Water resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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