Water resources play a very important role in global sustainability. Moreover, water is integral to human existence. Sadly, many environmental challenges gas caused by global challenges have made people lack an adequate supply of water. Nations in the Middle East region are notably susceptible to risks related to the reliability and security of water.
The issue of water scarcity has persisted in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for centuries. There are predictions that by 2030, the per capita water availability in MENA will dip below the critical water scarcity threshold of 500 cubic meters per person per year. As the population continues to grow, one can only expect that the water scarcity in MENA will only get worse.
Presently, rapid population and economic growth, the sharing of water resources across borders, and the repercussions of climate change, such as frequent droughts, diminished rainfall, and elevated evaporation rates, have markedly influenced water supplies in the region. These factors collectively contribute to the pressing challenges surrounding water availability and security in the MENA region.
The MENA area only gets 2% of the world’s renewable freshwater, although housing only 6% of the world’s population.
Governments in the region must implement a complex web of interconnected initiatives in order to effectively ensure a sustainable water supply in MENA.
Water Scarcity Solutions
The MENA area can benefit greatly from the following strategies for water scarcity:
To support sustainable water management in the area, there is a need for a move towards low-energy technologies, such as membrane-based systems, and harnessing renewable energy sources to power desalination and wastewater treatment. This strategy move offers the potential to pave the path for a more sustainable and ecologically responsible future.
Desalination involves removing salt from saltwater. It is a very common way to supplement the insufficient water supply. According to the World Bank, MENA has about half of the world’s desalination capacity. Desalination investment is rapidly increasing, with the Middle East and North Africa accounting for 48% of worldwide desalination expenditures.
Collaboration and Partnership
Intensified diplomacy and international collaboration can solve shared problems with shared water resources and enhance sustainable development. The Middle East region can successfully support its expanding population and provide equitable access to water by jointly and sustainably addressing water concerns.
Comprehensive national awareness programs have been launched in certain countries, like Egypt, where there are over 100 million people, to emphasize the value of wise water usage. To encourage responsible water use, policies like increasing accessibility to water-saving taps are being implemented. The Egyptian government has also instituted sanctions for actions that contribute to Nile contamination, such as rubbish dumping, in recognition of the need to alleviate future water issues. In order to reduce heat during the summer, penalties are also in place for people who misuse water in public areas.
This article covers some new and existing solutions to water scarcity in MENA. A sustainable strategy must prioritize desalination, low-energy technology adoption, international cooperation, and awareness raising. Through coordinated efforts, technical advancement, and a common commitment to responsible water management, the MENA area can overcome water scarcity.