Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:25 am (KSA) 21:25 pm (GMT)

Water Scarcity Threat in the Middle East

Ahmad Shugairy

By 2025, 1.8 million people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions.

The Middle East is becoming more of a cause for concern as more people in the region face difficulty in accessing drinking water. The increasing stress on freshwater resources brought about by an ever rising demand, and by growing pollution worldwide is of serious concern.

 The issue of water scarcity constitutes a threat to the near term future. Governments are beginning to take actions to solve it; such as raising awareness on the issue through direct messages that encourage everyone to contribute in a way and be part of being water efficient 

The Middle East has recently been acknowledged as a booming region. This has been seen in the rapidly expanding infrastructure, high population growth and increasing economic development. With these vast developments and activities each country in the Middle East is posed with a serious threat how will it provide sustainable levels of freshwater for its population.

Arab countries such as Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt are some of the most afflicted countries in terms of freshwater shortage. 15 % of the people in the Arab world don't have access to clean water and 30 % of the Middle East population doesn't have access to an adequate sewage system and sanitation. The biggest ratio lays in Sudan where 70 % of the population doesn't have access to these services.

The Middle East and North Africa are the most water scarce regions of the world as they have the fastest growing population rate of 2.6% and 2.2%.
In recent years the amount of freshwater available per person has declined dramatically.

According to the World Economic Forum, “during the 20th century the world population increased fourfold, but the amount of freshwater that is used increased nine times over. Already 2.8 billion people live in areas of high water stress and this will rise to 3.9 billion by 2030 and by that time, water scarcity could cut world harvests by 30 per cent.”

The issue of water scarcity constitutes a threat to the near term future. Governments are beginning to take actions to solve it; such as raising awareness on the issue through direct messages that encourage everyone to contribute in a way and be part of being water efficient.

Water is the most precious element that god gave us and it’s essential for all socio-economic development and for maintaining healthy ecosystems.
In Saudi Arabia, The Ministry of water and electricity has recently launched the “Save Saudi Water” campaign which targets every member living in the kingdom to make a pledge to save water and to be aware and conscious of how water is being consumed.

Every drop of water is precious and everyone, everywhere, could make a difference through simple means of utilizing less water. The holy Quran says “and we have made from water every living thing.”

To make a pledge and support your city save water, visit: http://www.saudiwatersavers.com/


*Written for Al Arabiya

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