A worker performs a routine inspection of filters at the Hadera Desalination Facility, in the central Israeli coastal town of Hadera on April 3, 2002. - Israel, a leader in making seawater drinkable, plans to pump excess output from its desalination plants into the Sea of Galilee, depleted by overuse and threatened by climate change. Israel now plans to tackle the challenge by reversing the water flow through its vast network of pumps, pipes and tunnels dating to the 1960s, the National Water Carrier. (Phot

Middle East Water Security: Competition heats up as resources become scarcer

August 2023 Al-Monitor PRO Trend Report 

3,486 words


In March this year, the United Nations (UN) held “the first UN water conference in a generation” in New York. Several UN officials used the opportunity to sound alarm bells about the deteriorating water security situation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Rola Abdullah Dashti, executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), said that almost 50 million people in the Arab World lack basic drinking water and 390 million live in countries suffering from water scarcity — almost 90% of the total population. Dashti added that the Arab region is not on the right trajectory in its attempts to meet the sixth UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to provide clean water and sanitation services to the entire population by 2030. 

As Youssef Brouziyne, head of the MENA Office at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Cairo, told Al-Monitor, “MENA is a water-scarce region by nature, but it’s now a very interesting case in terms of water scarcity because we’re watching and witnessing every type of issue related to water security play out.”

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