Mena region becomes global water hotspot
Global warming, geopolitical risks and the likelihood of recurring pandemics are forecast to increase the vulnerability of already water-scarce Mena countries
Supply chain disruptions related to the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted the need to take immediate and meaningful actions to boost water security across the most water-stressed countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.
The disruption to global supply chains may renew the desire for greater agricultural self-sufficiency, particularly in countries where food imports account for up to 90 per cent of consumption.
In addition to substantial agricultural imports, many Mena countries are also reliant on increasingly vulnerable transborder water supplies.
This calls for robust frameworks for intraregional cooperation, which is not easy to achieve as shown in the case of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which presents a threat to both the water supply and political stability in Egypt and Sudan.
Warming and summer droughts have been a growing trigger for power and water shortage-related protests in countries such as Algeria and Iraq in recent years, while Lebanon experienced a severe power crisis, which also impaired its water supply, in 2021.
And all of this is just the start. “Climate change, geopolitical risks and pandemics are expected to make these [water-scarce] countries increasingly more vulnerable,” notes one industry consultant. Read more
MEED's February 2022 water and wastewater report also includes:
> Desalination tariffs and the race to the bottom
> Water sector could turbocharge net-zero
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