The Arab world is being faced with a regional water scarcity problem. This could lead to serious food and water shortages unless necessary measures are put into place quickly. Scarily, the Arab Forum for Environment and Development published in 2010 reports that Arabs will be faced with severe water scarcity as early as 2017. Water scarcity brings a wealth of problems with it including its limitations on food production, economic growth, health and well-being.
Two-thirds of the water supply for the Arab world comes from outside of the region and is currently being stretched to the limit. A total of 13 Arab countries are on the list of the greatest water scarce areas. By the time 2017 arrives, Iraq and Sudan will be the only areas that pass the water scarcity test. This is assuming that Turkey and Ethiopia will continue to provide water supplies.
According to statistics, more than 70% of Arab regions are faced with sparse rainfall and are extremely dry. It’s believed that climate change will worsen the conditions. Arab regions are expected to face a worrying 25% decrease in rainfall and a quarter percent increase in evaporation speed. The outcome will mean that rain-fed farming will be at risk, with typical yields predicted to fall by 20%.
Due to the fact that water supplies do not meet the increasing demand because of population and economic growth, ground water supplies have been taken advantage of. This has led to a major decline in water tables and in the pollution of aquifers. A further complicated for Arab countries relates to water pollution because of increasing discharges into water bodies of industrial and domestic wastewater. Reports suggest that over 43% of wastewater in the area is discharged without treatment.
The conditions of water availability in the Arab world is degrading and worrying and is likely the most serious challenge that the Arabs will face in a long time. Without great efforts to develop and improve water management, the situation will only continue to get worse.