The United Arab Emirates is considering building an artificial mountain to increase rainfall and address the country’s water shortages.
The International Business Times reports that according to the UAE’s Federal Water and Electricity Authority, an average resident uses an estimated 550 liters of water daily — almost two to three times the international average of 170 to 300 liters.
The high consumption is especially problematic as water in the region is in very short supply due to the arid climate and naturally low precipitation rates.
Arabian Business reports that the government has already turned to artificial weather modification. In 2015, $558,000 was spent on cloud-seeding. In February of the same year, the U.S.-based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) received $400,000 in funding to produce a development plan for a man-made mountain.
UCAR is in the early stages of the project. It is collaborating with the National Center of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) in a modelling study to evaluate the effects building a mountain would have on the weather, and what height, width and location would be best.
Mountains force air to rise up into the atmosphere, where it cools and condenses into clouds. The clouds then produce rain or are seeded to stimulate precipitation.
But cloud seeding can have undesirable outcomes, such as too much rainfall or none at all. Due to the rain shadow effect, an artificial mountain can inhibit rainfall on one side, causing that area to become more parched, according to Discovery.