As the effects of climate change begin to manifest in the Persian Gulf region, oil-producing states are beginning to witness the consequences of climate change in the region. While researchers have generated substantial material predicting an array of environmental outcomes, little work has been done to translate those efforts in terms of human impact. This study attempts to contribute to understandings of the human (social, political, and economic) impact of climate change and rapid technological change in the Persian Gulf region through an analysis of Oman’s adaptation efforts. Our work builds on existing scientific literature which describes environmental effects and provides projections for the expected environmental impact of climate change. We used this scientific research as a departure point in order to explore the social, economic, and political effects of water scarcity and technology in Oman.

As a critically water-scarce country, Oman has devoted significant efforts to water resource management in the past. These technological adaptations fit roughly into three strategic phases. Despite these adaptations, current and future environmental change is intensifying the challenge of water scarcity in Oman. In this paper we use political ecology to analyze how the physical restructuring of water, due to a changing climate and the widespread implementation of technological adaptation such as desalination, bureaucracy, and infrastructure, is altering social and economic arrangements in Oman.

(Source: Author interviews)

Desalination and Climate: How the Restructuring of Water is Shaping Oman

Authors: Mikaela Bennett and Joshua Kaye

George Washington University, 2018