A man is filling water from a publicly installed water hydrant in 1960
50 years ago Dubai had NO running fresh water! Water sources were a natural pond (in an area that later became Karama) occasionally refreshed by rainwater; some sweet water wells near Al Fahidi Fort; areas where Hamarain Shopping Centre and Dubai Hospital are now located plus several wells in Jumeira. People either collected water from the pond or nearby communal wells or bought from Water Sellers who collected water from the pond for delivery by donkey cart or old Tanker Trucks. Wealthy families drilled their own wells and installed electric pumps. The water carried viruses and was unhealthy. Cholera was an everyday risk. Water Purification Tablets introduced in 1956 went someway to reduce that risk.
Today, in 2014 Dubai’s potable (drinking) water is obtained from desalination; the process is: They take the sea water, boil it and let the steam cool. The condensed water is then filtered and treated to make if fit for human consumption, washing and industrial use. The byproduct is concentrated brine (salt) water which is then pumped back into the Gulf. In actual fact the water is used first in the Dubai Aluminium (Jebel Ali) works before final cleaning at the DEWA (Jebel Ali) plant. This way they are able to utilise the water first to cool the aluminum smelters before it is cleaned for further domestic/ commercial consumption.