|Issues Middle East: Southern
ISIS and Water Crisis
By Jason Zheng
President of the Arab Water
Council, Mahmoud Abu Zeid stated
that “water represents
life, seizing such resources in Arab countries would be very serious and would
constitute an inhumane means of pressure.”
Islamic States militants and the Iraqi
government come to a unanimous agreement that Turkey has been using more than
its fair share in water.
The Food and
Agricultural Organization of the United Nations
stated that based on the historical
treaty between Turkey and Syria in 1987, Turkey keeps about a third of the
Euphrates flow. Turkey has no treaty with Iraq. No international agreement for
the Tigris exist at all, however Turkey aims
to regulate the Tigris
similarly to the Euphrates.
The area of Iraq takes up
407,880kmof the Euphrate-Tigris River Basin
versus Turkey’s 192,190km. It can be said that Iraq should have a
larger share of the resource and also have the rights to regulate the water,
not Turkey. Turkey uses about 41 percent of the water resources while Middle Eastern countries consume most of theirs. The
falling water levels are the results of poor downstream management, the failure to make repairs and conflict.
Revolutionary groups such as ISIS
have decided on taking
control of the waters. In the summer
of 2014, ISIS diverted water supply toward Iraq by taking over dams, which
resulted in electric and water shortages for those areas which relied on
Waters in the Middle East are not properly regulated. Syria for an
example continue to plan water-thirsty crops like wheat and cotton, while
knowing that water is a scarce resource and it should be conserved.
today’s crisis it is much more severe.
ISIS have been taking control of the dams and diverting water elsewhere.
Water is no longer seen as a resource, but as a . Water scarcity takes accelerates the
process of revolutionary group takeovers, it is only a matter of more citizens
would join the army and rebel against the poorly defined government.
The problem is not whether
Turkey, Syria, and/or Iraq should take the blame or have more control over the
waters, it is the opposite. These
three key players need to come
to an agreement onto manage water
across their political boundaries. Until then, water as a resource, will be
continuously abused and exists for the fundamental goals of revolutionary
Using Icebergs for Solutions to Water
Shortages in United Arab Emirates
by Courtney Johnston
There have been many problems
worldwide involving water shortages. Some of these problems have even occurred
in the United States. However, there is one nation that is facing a water
shortage problem and one solution that was presented was to use icebergs from
Antarctica to create more water. An environmental company plans “to drag icebergs
almost 10,000 km across the Indian Ocean and park them off the country’s
coast”, to help the water shortage problem that is occurring in The United Arab
Emirates (Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2014, 2017). This country is very dry and
most of the land is desert, so there is very little rainfall (Fairfax New
Zealand Limited 2014, 2017).
the solutions to their water shortage is to desalinate seawater so that is can
be used by the people, however this is very costly and damaging the environment
(Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2014,
2017). Director of the Abu Dhabi-based National Advisor Bureau claims that,
“the icebergs could hold as much as 100 billion liters of the world’s freshest
water – enough drinking water for one million people for five years” (Fairfax
New Zealand Limited 2014, 2017).
Although this may seem like a solution to
their problems it may not be because this could cause even more concern and
arise more issues because it would cause major problems for the environment,
and may even attribute to climate change. The icebergs are already becoming
affected by climate change and they are melting at a much higher rate than in
the past. Trying to use icebergs to solve water shortage problems will bring
along with it other problems because other countries may try to use the
icebergs for their own benefit. Once one iceberg is used up then another one
will need to take its place. Water shortage in the United Arab Emirates is a
huge problem and other solutions should be presented to help the nation.
Zealand Limited 2014 (May 4, 2017). Tip of the iceberg is answer for
Water in Yemen
by Saima Hedrick
Yemen is a small nation in the Middle East, located on the southern-most tip of the Arabian Peninsula, with a population of approximately 23 million. It is known as the poorest nation in the Middle East, with limited arable land and access to water. The total amount of water used annually is 3.5 billion m, 2.5 billion of which is renewable. This may sound good but the vast majority of the nation’s water is used in agriculture (93%), only 6% is used for household purposes, and 1% for industries. This means that the average Yemeni only gets 6.5 m of water for household use annually; only 18 liters per day. According to the FAO, the recommended amount of water per person is 50 liters.
Experts believe that Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, will run out of water by 2017. This water crisis is exacerbated by a few key problems. Khat, a plant that acts as a stimulant when consumed, has been part of Yemeni culture for almost a thousand years. At least three-quarter of the male population chews Khat daily. Due to the conservative Islamic culture, the percentage of the female population that chews Khat is unknown. The cultivation of this amphetamine-like plant is very water-costly but makes an enormous profit because it is highly addictive. Khat growers can set any price they like and none of the crop ever goes to waste. As a result, farmers do not want to grow any other crop that may reduce the agricultural water consumption of the nation. With a limited supply of water, the Khat farmers often resort to digging wells to tap into ground water.
The population of Yemen is also growing at an alarming rate. At 3.5%, it has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. A 2006 UN report listed Yemen as having the tenth highest natural population growth rate in the world. This increase in population is causing an ever increasing demand for water. Private wells are increasing in number and causing aquifer depletion all over the country.
The government infrastructure is not strong enough to deal with the depletion of the nation’s water. The Yemeni government admits that a staggering 99% of water extraction is unlicensed.
In order to remedy these problems, and stop Yemen from running out of water, the World Bank and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) have several ongoing projects to help Yemen with its economy, government infrastructure, water management, and public education. With the funding from these bilateral agencies and NGO’s there is hope for this small Middle Eastern nation.
Saudi Arabia’s Water Crisis
by Courtney Johnston
Saudi Arabia is located in the
Middle East, which has a naturally hot climate. The Middle East is currently in
a water crisis that is caused mostly by climate change (DeNicola et al., 2015).
“Saudi Arabia constitutes the majority of the Arabian Peninsula and is one of
the largest arid countries without permanent rivers or lakes” making it “one of
the poorest nations in terms of natural renewable water resources” (DeNicola et
al., 2015). Without natural water sources, such as rivers or lakes, it is
harder to provide the country with water.
Especially with the temperatures becoming
hotter due to climate change, things will worsen. The water sources they do
have will likely become drier making it difficult to collect water. In Saudi
Arabia, “by 2010 water consumption increased by 75%” (DeNicola et al., 2015).
Most of this water came from nonrenewable sources of water and not from
renewable sources (DeNicola et al., 2015). This is a problem because that means
that the water that is being used is not going to be replaced naturally and
this will decrease the amount of water that is available to use.
show that due to climate change, rainfall will decrease an average of 100 mm
per year in the northern areas of Saudi Arabia (DeNicola et al., 2015). This
area already has drought conditions and this decrease will cause even more
worries because of the limited amount of water. Most of the water that the
country uses is for agricultural purposes, which also happens to use a great
amount of nonrenewable water (DeNicola et al., 2015).
Some ways that Saudi
Arabia is trying to help with their water crisis is by the process of
desalination, recycling the water, and by harvesting rainwater (DeNicola et
al., 2015). Officials need to try various methods to try and preserve water and
to try and save the nonrenewable water sources. Creating better methods to save
water and recycle water will help with the water crisis, even as the climate
does continue to change.
Aburizaiza, O. S., Siddique, A., Khwaja, H., Carpenter, D. O. (August 14,2015). Climate change and
water scarcity: The case of Saudi Arabia. PlumX
342-353. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2015.08.005
Water Scarcity in Oman
by Courtney Johnston
“The Middle East and North Africa is
the most water-scarce region of the world” (Roudi-Fahimi, Creel, De Souza,
2002). This area of the world has a lot of desert so there is also very little
rainfall. The climate of the area and these countries affects the amount of
rainfall that they get and when they get it. Two of the main reasons for water
scarcity in Oman are the population growth and dramatic climate change, which
can cause floods and droughts (Sultanate of Oman).
A growing population calls
for more demand on water resources. People need water to sustain life, as well
as other living things. Water is used for drinking, food production,
agriculture, and many more. People use water everyday and they are using more
than they need and this is contributing to water scarcity. “Over the next
twenty years, the demand for water domestic, industrial, commercial and
municipal purposes is expected to increase by more than 50%” and this is due to
“population growth, increase demand for food and domestic water, increased of
urbanization, increased water demand with the economic diversification program”
(Sultanate of Oman).
To help with this problem a plan was implemented called
the National Water Resources Master Plan (Sultanate of Oman). This plan was
created to develop and manage the country’s water resources (Sultanate of
The plan is trying to be implemented and achieved by the year 2020
(Sultanate of Oman). Using this plan the country officials hope that it will increase
the amount of water that the country receives and decrease the amount that the
public uses. Management of the plan is very crucial for the plan to meet goals
and to improve on the overall water scarcity issue.
F., Creel, L., De Souza, R. M. (2002, July). Finding the Balance:
Oman (n.d.). Internation Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015.