There are people in over 17 Arab countries living well below the water poverty line of 500 cubic metres annually, said Arab decision makers from around the Arab world, meeting on water insecurity this past Monday, in Jordan, reports the Jordan Times. They recognized climate change in the Middle East as an issue that will further impact their poorly-available water resources, noting that 75% of the surface water in the Arab world, originates from outside its borders.
Jordan is one of the most water poor countries in the Arab world, and its residents rely on bi-weekly water deliveries to their homes, that fill up tanks located on roofs or in underground wells.
Action to protect water sources in the Arab world is needed now, they appealed, while meeting at a scientific forum on Arab water security. Taking place in Jordan, and organised by the Arab Administrative Development Organization, the experts said new strategies are needed badly to help improve water management in the region, likely to face the brunt of climate change effects.
The game plan?
Strategies are needed to bridge the gap between supply and demand. Meanwhile, Jordan’s Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar said that Arab countries need to band together to protect their resources, while raising public awareness to the issue. He also encouraged sharing water resources, according to the article.
According to environment experts, Arab states face several threats due to increased drought and desertification, scarcity of water resources, increased salinity of groundwater and the spread of pest epidemics and diseases caused by the phenomenon.
So far, climate change has caused a 30 per cent reduction in the Kingdom’s surface water resources, as well as a decrease in the volume of rainfall and agricultural production, both of which the country and the Arab world heavily rely on.
The three-day meeting included water experts from Iraq, Jordan, Oman, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. It’s a shame that the Arab world continues to purposefully lock Israel out of its round table discussions (at least publicly). A world-leader in water tech exports, cooperation among all Middle East countries, Arab or not, would be beneficial to curbing major foreseeable problems. NATO, for example, is already working to be that bridge, between Jordan and Israel.