Summary: Bahrain’s crown prince made bold commitments at COP26 but reality in the small Gulf island kingdom shows a government that continues to put profits ahead of environmental concerns.
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2 thoughts on “A Manama view”
I have often wondered about the effect of land reclamation on subterranean aquifers bringing fresh water from the Arabian Shield to springs in Bahrain, on land and in the surrounding sea. When I was a child in Bahrain in the 1950s, there was flowing water at a point alongside the road from Manama to Awali which was inhabited by terrapins and used for a large outdoor laundry. It was set among estates of thriving date palms. When I returned to Bahrain in 2003, the site was dry and palms groves across the country much diminished. If disruption of the aquifers has reduced fresh water arrivals, that would explain the concomitant reduction in palm groves, although I am only speculating and have not read any supporting research. It may be that water use in Saudi Arabia, which has seen significant falls in the water table since the 1970s, has had more to do with the reduction in fresh water flows to Bahrain.
In the early Eighties the pool Robin Lamb describes, known as the Maiden’s Spring, still had water but probably less than in his childhood. At that time the palm groves were suffering badly from lack of water and it was commonly said that the fresh water springs offshore around Bahrain had largely dried up. It was generally believed this was all due to the the draining of aquifers in Saudi Arabia exploited to grow wheat at ten times the world price. Given the fact that human settlement in Bahrain went back at least 5000 years and was dependent on the availability of fresh water, it was a sad comment on modern human stewardship of natural resources. Land reclamation may well have made matters worse but is hardly the prime cause of dead palm groves.