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A Gunrun Project


The Waters Beneath

February 10, 2015
Foreign Policy

In May 2009, a truck rolled through the Sheikh Yasin camp in Mardan, Pakistan’s “city of hospitality,” where thousands of people had fled following one of the country’s military offensives against the Taliban.

If water was a scarce commodity to this refugee community, ice was a luxury. And it was worth fighting for: A single block could refrigerate whatever perishables the displaced had secured for their families.

Fata Morgana

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Balazs Gardi, October 20, 2013

Due to climatic conditions and high per capita income the United Arab Emirates is already one of the largest water consuming countries in the world. Shopping centers and luxury hotels are built with vast and lavish water features. Sprinklers pump desalinated water on golf courses that evaporates before touching the ground while underground aquifers in the region are pumped dry.

It Takes a Man of Vision to Write on Water

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Balazs Gardi, February 4, 2013

I took off from Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi’s small military airport, to photograph aerobatic airplanes race in front of the newly constructed Sheikh Zayed Mosque. After a few circles around the world’s fifth largest mosque we headed towards the neighboring emirates to see even more ambitious constructions.

The Swiss pilot asked me to take a few photos of the Jebel Ali Palm from above. With further developments in mind, one of his clients back home bought a couple of ‘leafs’.

It Takes 400,000 Liters of Water a Day to Keep a Small Desert Golf Course Green

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Balazs Gardi, January 4, 2013

Looking down from a helicopter parts of Dubai look just as green as pastures in Scotland. Golf courses connect the various housing projects wrapped with artificial lakes and landscaped gardens, the Greens, the Meadows, The Lakes, The Jumeirah Islands.

With an estimated 350 liters, or a little over 92 gallons, per person per day the United Arab Emirates’ water consumption is among the highest in the world. The water used to irrigate the agricultural fields and keep the meticulously maintained golf courses and public gardens green would at least double this amount.