With all the talk about sustainability within the Gulf, water is an ongoing concern. Desalination has had its role in transforming the Arabian Region from harsh desert to favored business and tourist destination. But with that plentiful supply of water comes waste in how this resource is abused and the massive amounts of energy required to desalinate the water for human and business use.

I type this from the Dubai Mall Food Court as I pass the time to visit another example of Dubai's excess, the Burj Khalifa. In front of me is the food court's waterfall, which does a nice job of cooling the air and enhancing what is already a pleasant February. Naturally the ice rinks, aquariums, igloo bars and ski hills would not thrive here without desalination.

But landscaping also consumes massive amounts of water, despite the drip irrigation systems that are becoming more common in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The most absurd beneficiaries of desalination are the annual flowers that color the road medians and office park entrances throughout the Gulf and Middle East region. Yes, petunias may make for great pops of color along Dubai's roads, but they are also hugely unpractical in a climate that approaches 50 degrees Centigrade in the summer.

Local vegetation may not always be the best alternative, but surely drought resisting plants of all colors and stripes are preferable to the pastel colors found throughout Dubai and other Gulf cities. The Gulf states should celebrate their desert environment, instead of trying to become something that it is not: a land hospitable to most forms of vegetation. Talk about water stewardship and sustainability would have a great start buy adopting plants better suited to the cool desert winter nights and harsh summer days.

More annual flowers on the road median in front of Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa

More annual flowers on the road median in front of Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa

Read about how Dubai’s sustainability agenda must start with public health on Triple Pundit.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.