Middle East water supplies will deteriorate over the next 25 years which will threaten national security, economic growth and force more people to move to cities that are already overcrowded, showed a new analysis just released.
As the Middle East, home to more than 350 million people, starts recovering from a number of deadly heat waves the World Resources Institute claims that water shortages were the key factor in the civil war that started in Syria in 2011.
The water shortages and drought in Syria likely was a contributing factor to unrest that stocked the civil war, said WRI.
Shrinking water resources and a chronic mismanagement forced over 1.5 million people, most of which were herders and farmers, to lose their livelihoods and leave their property, move to cities and magnify the general destabilization of the country said the report.
The new WRI rankings placed 14 of the world’s 33 countries that are most water stressed within the Middles East region and in North Africa, including Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Israel, Palestine, Oman, Iran, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
Farms, companies and residents in the above mentioned countries are very vulnerable to just the slightest of change in the supply of water said the WRI report.
The report says that more people will have to move to large urban areas, which will further strain supplies. An emerging middles class might also call for more electricity generation from water and intensive water based food production.
Already the Middle East is prone to water conflict and likely will remain that way said the report. Water is a substantial dimension in the decades old conflict between Israel and Palestine.
The government of Saudi Arabia said its citizens would depend entirely on imports of grains by 2016 a change from many decades of growing everything they needed due to water resources depletion said the government.
Middle East supplies of water depend on underground aquifers. However, they are drying out at rates that are very alarming.