Dubai’s population boom long ago outgrew its groundwater supply. Today, it provides only 0.5 percent of the city’s demand. To meet the other 99.5 percent the Jebel Ali plant imbibes 2.8 billion gallons from the Persian Gulf every day, turning it into drinking water. In the first step, the sea passes through filtration baskets, which isolate large materials including trash, seaweed, and occasionally marine life. The very salty wastewater produced gets pumped back into the Gulf.