WIT Press

Forecasting The Oil Spill Impacts On Coastal Desalination Plants In United Arab Emirates


Free (open access)





Page Range

263 - 274




1,098 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


W. El-Sayed Elshorbagy & A. Awad Elhakeem


Desalinated water is the major and only source of domestic demands in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as in most Gulf Countries. Oil spill accidents in the Arabian Gulf have resulted in a shutdown of several coastal desalination plants in the UAE and eventually jeopardized the domestic water supply. Forecasting the impacts of such events is therefore a necessary requirement so that adequate precaution measures can be taken. Based on numerical modeling technique, the Arabian Gulf hydrodynamics, and oil-spill trajectory have been simulated using a 3-Dimensional calibrated hydrodynamic/ oil-spill model. A broad set of hypothetical oil slicks have been employed to assess the possible risks on five strategic coastal desalination plants along the United Arab Emirates coastline known to produce more than 90% of the desalinated water in the country. A set of points covering an approximate area of 130 000 Km2 between Strait of Hormuz to the East and the state of Qatar in the West and North to the Iranian coast have been identified as source points for the initiation of oil slicks. Oil slicks are assumed to be of 0.5 m3/sec discharge rate continuous for 1 day. For each of the targets identified, two spatial maps covering the study area have been produced indicating first, the critical dragging wind direction and second, the shortest traveling time of the oil slick towards the targeted locations. The produced special maps are thought to be of direct operational use to all five plants as it enables operators to estimate the risk associated with any oil slick occurring in the study area by estimating the travel time to the plant based on the location of the slick and the prevailing wind conditions at any time of the slick life. Keywords: oil, spill, modeling, UAE, desalination, plants, Arabian Gulf.


oil, spill, modeling, UAE, desalination, plants, Arabian Gulf