A new report issued by the World Resources Institute, published last week, revealed that the world will face an unprecedented water crisis, and that countries in the Middle East and North Africa will be most affected by the crisis, including Bahrain, Kuwait and Lebanon.
The report also indicated, according to what was published by the British Middle East Eye website, that the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the occupied Palestinian territories, Egypt, Yemen, Qatar, Iran, Jordan, Tunisia, Iraq, India, Syria, Morocco, Eritrea and Algeria are among the first countries that will suffer from water scarcity.
The report said: “Our data indicates that 25 countries are currently exposed to a worsening water crisis every year, and this means that they use more than 80% of their renewable supplies of water for irrigation, livestock, industry and domestic needs.”
“Even a short-term drought puts these places at risk of running out of water and sometimes prompts governments to cut water,” the report added.
The report also shows that Turkey ranks 39th among the highest rates of water scarcity in the world. The government appealed to Istanbul residents to reduce their water consumption.
According to the World Resources Institute’s Canal Risk Atlas, published earlier, an additional billion people are expected to suffer from high water scarcity by 2050.
The report predicts that global water demand will increase by 20 to 25% by 2050, and the number of watersheds subject to high variability from year to year, or volatile water supplies, is expected to increase by 19%.
“This is a problem not only for water-dependent consumers and industries, but also for political stability. In Iran, for example, decades of poor water regulation and unsustainable water consumption in agriculture have already caused protests, and these tensions will increase as the water crisis worsens,” the report said.
This means that in the Middle East and North Africa, 100% of the population will suffer from an acute water crisis by 2050, and the report indicates that water scarcity in these countries is primarily caused by limited water supplies, in addition to the needs of the domestic, agricultural and industrial sectors.
The report indicates that water scarcity may lead to disruptions in industries, power outages and a decrease in agricultural yields.
This was demonstrated in India from 2017 to 2021, when a shortage of water to cool thermal power plants caused a loss of 8.2 TWh of energy. This amount would have been enough to power 1.5 million Indian homes for half a decade.
According to the report, global food stability is at risk. Currently, 60% of the world’s irrigated crops are facing an acute water crisis, especially staple crops such as sugar cane, wheat, rice and maize.
However, to feed nearly 10 billion people by 2050, the world will need to increase the production of food calories by 56% compared to 2010, a constraint exacerbated by water constraints and weather disasters such as droughts and floods.
To improve water regulation and reduce water scarcity, the World Resources Institute says countries should strengthen their water regulation policies, promote water conservation in agriculture, implement comprehensive water resource strategies, and enhance water infrastructure using environmentally friendly methods and green infrastructure.
International financial institutions and other creditors should consider launching strategic debt relief initiatives, such as forgiving part of the debt in exchange for environmental obligations, or debt forgiveness in return for a commitment to finance biodiversity or build strong infrastructure, according to the report.
In addition, it is necessary to prioritize prudent water management and cities should work on developing action plans to enhance the water infrastructure in urban areas. Farmers should switch to crops that use less water or use methods such as sprinkler or drip irrigation and stop flooding.