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Exotic Eco-Resort Planned for Oasis

Plans call for a sustainable getaway in the desert. Continue reading →

The word oasis conjures up one of those old-time adventure movies in which lost explorers are staggering through the desert to what they think is a verdant water source, only to discover that they're being tormented by a shimmering mirage.

But maybe from now on, you'll imagine a sustainable, solar-powered, emissions-free upscale resort built around a man-made spring, which allows guests to chill out and enjoy gourmet meals made from organic vegetables and farmed fish grown on site.

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That's the vision for a new "eco-resort" planned the Liwa region of the United Arab Emirates.

The project, designed by British-based Baharash Architecture at for UAE's Eco Resort Group, is an effort to create the world's greenest resort in the middle of the desert about 155 miles south of Abu Dhabi. Lonely Planet describes the area as "endless landscape of undulating sand dunes."

While Liwa has natural oases, this one will be created by using a deep well to extract groundwater and create an artificial spring. In an email, design director and founder Baharash Bagherian explained that project is being designed to use that water supply as carefully as possible. in addition to a filtration plant to provide potable water for guests, wastewater will be recycled for use in irrigation.

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The oasis will be surrounded by a flower petal-shaped complex that will include 84 guest suites. It will be topped by 157,000 square feet of solar panels to generate the resort's electrical needs.

The resort also will employ a wildlife biologist and conservation staff to study the handful of animal species that can tolerate the extreme heat of the desert.

In an effort to make the resort emissions-free, Bagherian said that the resort may utilize electric buses capable of traveling more than 200 miles on a single charge to transport guests from the airport in Abu Dhabi.

The resort is scheduled for completion in 2020.

Developers plan to build an eco-resort around a man-made spring in the UAE.

The Chinese government has long been embroiled in a dispute with Vietnam, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations over territory in the South China Sea. In order to support a military presence, the Chinese are building up reefs and shoals in the area to create a string of new man-made islands. While other countries argue the artificial outposts don't qualify as legitimate land, the Chinese theoretically could use them to assert control over an economic zone extending for 200 nautical miles around each site. Improvements in construction have made island-building easier, but the method remains fairly simple, and involves these basic steps.

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One of the sites picked by the Chinese government is Johnson South Reef, aka Mabini Reef, the site of a violent 1988 skirmish between the Chinese and Vietnamese navies. According to a recent report in the South China Post, the Chinese also are planning construction of a base on nearby Fiery Cross Reef, which could serve as a naval staging post and enable China to set up an air defense zone in the South China Sea.

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The usual method is to dredge millions of tons of sand and rocks from the sea floor. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, a Filipino fisherman observed a huge Chinese ship using a powerful pump and a hose to suck up the material. All of that is usually stored on a dredging ship until it is used.

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Island builders take the sand and rock and deposit it atop the existing reef base. One advanced technique called rainbowing, which has been utilized in the Persian Gulf, involves spraying the sand in layers, as if it were paint. By using data from global positioning satellites to guide them, island-builders can create precise shapes.

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Once the island itself has been created, it's crucial to quickly build a waterproof concrete barrier to prevent the artificial isle from being washed away.

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This image, released by a design institute that's part of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, shows the design of a military installation on one of the new islands, including buildings and an airfield.

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