Water Shortages in MENA: A Trigger for Resilience & Innovation

Water has been – and will continue to be – a key shaper of life on earth. It is a major driver for the rise, dismantle, and displacement of civilizations. History has shown that water could be a cause of peace and conflict among nations.  From a more practical perspective, water is at the heart of socioeconomic and environmental development agendas. The MENA region is the most water-scarce region in the world, a situation being magnified by climate change and political instability. While the impacts of such amplified water challenge are becoming more visible, the indirect and unmeasured impacts on … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts in the GCC

The GCC countries face multitude of climate change challenges including desertification, biodiversity loss, water scarcity and sea level rise. The region is characterized by high temperature, high humidity and arid lands resulting in seriously degraded soil and land damage in addition to salt intrusion in the aquifers affecting the small scale agricultural lands thus enhancing the food security threat in the region. All of the above geographical threats have therefore increased and activated the participation of GCC states in global negotiations recently as evidence are uncovered and impacts being felt across the region. If a couple of days of rain … Continue reading

An Ecological Model for Wadi Arabah

The Wadi Arabah region is an extremely arid valley in Jordan characterized by hot climate, meager annual rainfall, high evaporation rate and limited water resources. The arid desert creates several challenges to extracting and managing water in this region thus hampering the development of agricultural, domestic, and industrial sectors in the valley. The casual attitude towards water management in the region highlights the need for additional consideration to the hydrological and geographical realities of the area. Agriculture accounts for the largest water consumption, especially in summer. In arid land with high evaporation rates, negative agricultural practices may lead to reduced … Continue reading

Storm Alexa – Positive Aspects for MENA

The year 2013 saw history being made when Storm Alexa swept across the Middle East and North Africa bringing blizzards, torrential rain and icy winds to a region that hasn’t experienced such a storm in over 100 years. Storm Alexa caused devastating floods in Arab cities, such as Gaza, and power cuts in certain areas of Jordan. Heavy snowfall in Jordan covered the streets, hindering mobility and forcing people into their homes for several days. The storm has also brought hardship and misery upon the Syrian refugees enduring the bitter cold in fragile tents and makeshift shelters. Positive Aspects However, … Continue reading

The Significance of Domestic Water Conservation

The Middle East region is plagued by water scarcity and water management issues. Despite heavy investment in the water sector, water management remains a serious economic and environmental issue throughout the region. Overconsumption of water is a serious issue as per capita use of water in most of the Middle Eastern countries is several times more water than the global average. For example, on an average each UAE and Saudi Arabian resident consume 550 liters and 250 liters of water per day respectively. On the other hand, per capita water consumption in United Kingdom and Germany is 150 liters and … Continue reading

Sustainable Development in Jordan: Perspectives

During the last few decades, sustainable development emerged as a hot topic in many reform agendas and strategic management plans in Jordan. The picture is not always optimistic where poverty, climate change and wars to name but a few of the continuous burdens, yet, some results have been successfully reaped. In this article, I will provide a reflection on the sustainable development journey in Jordan. Firstly, what the country achieved from the year 2000 to 2015 and secondly, what challenges the country has to counter from the year 2015 to 2030. Millennium Development Goals – Year 2000 to 2015 Jordan … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts in North Africa

In North Africa, rising temperatures associated with climate change are expected to decrease the land areas suitable for agriculture, shorten the length of growing seasons and reduce crop yields. The decrease in annual precipitation that is predicted for Northern Africa in the 21st century will exacerbate these effects, particularly in semi-arid and arid regions that rely on irrigation for crop growth. Whilst extreme events associated with climate change, like floods and droughts, will probably set economic development back many years, approaches to climate change adaptation are not usually aligned with development issues. Climate change mitigation will divert resources from programmes … Continue reading

Food Security in the Middle East

Despite the fact that the Middle East is blessed with a rich geological inheritance of hydrocarbons and mineral resources, it is a water-scarce and arid region that has its share of demographic and socio-economic problems. It is difficult to grow food crops in the Middle East due to scarcity of water supply and limited availability of arable land. The region is highly vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity markets because of heavy dependence on imported grains and food items.   According to a report issued in 2009 by the World Bank, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and … Continue reading

Can Atmospheric Water Generators Resolve Egypt’s Water Crisis?

Egypt faces an imminent water crisis which could jeopardize the country’s stability and regional dominance. Egypt is currently below the United Nations threshold of water poverty. The current water shortage in Egypt is 13.5 Billion Cubic Meters per year which is expected to continuously increase. According to hydrologists, a country is considered to be facing water scarcity if supplies drop below 1,000 cubic meters per person annually. Egyptian officials state there are currently around 570 cubic meters (150,000 gallons) of water available per person per year. This figure is expected to drop further to 500 cubic meters by 2025. The … Continue reading

Water Stress in the Mediterranean

For many years now, the Mediterranean has been facing problems leading to a situation of serious environmental degradation. An increase in the temperature and salinity levels has been recorded during the second half of the 20th century in the Mediterranean Sea. However, this increase does not follow progressive trend and periods of temperature alternation have been observed. Following several climate change scientific reports, sea level trend at the global scale is higher than at the regional scales. Furthermore, in the regional scale there are other influence factors such the atmospheric pressure and the wind. In addition, the small rises in temperature … Continue reading

Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Arab Countries

Addressing water scarcity, both natural and human-induced, in the Arab region is considered one of the major and most critical challenges facing the Arab countries. This challenge is expected to grow with time due to many pressing driving forces, including population growth, food demand, unsettled and politicized shared water resources, climate change, and many others, forcing more countries into more expensive water sources, such as desalination, to augment their limited freshwater supplies. The heavy financial, economic, environmental, as well as social costs and burden to be borne cannot be overemphasized. Furthermore, the water scarcity challenge in the Arab world is being … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts in the Levant

Many countries in the Levant — such as Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria — are afflicted by water scarcity, weak institutional and governmental resource management, high food import dependency and fragile economies –  all coupled with increasing populations and demand. According to the recent reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the Arab World will be witnessing hotter and drier conditions with extensive droughts causing severe water shortages that will have dire impacts on agriculture and livelihood. Farmers in the Arab world for centuries have been addressing adaptation and resilience issues through farming, water management and environmental degradation. Global … Continue reading