Beginning in the late 1940s, the British took a keen interest in expanding water resources and developing agriculture in the Trucial States (the modern-day United Arab Emirates). This article explores the ideological, political, and economic motivations driving these colonial development initiatives. Ultimately, such projects entailed a fundamental restructuring of local power relations and the displacement of traditional methods of resource management. Devised with little consideration of the region's ecology, the development schemes initiated in the mid-20th century continued to expand in the post-oil/post-federation period, contributing to the depletion of water resources and the transformation of the region's biodiversity.

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