The WaterBlog

Alarming Water Security Trends in the Middle East, North African and Sub-Saharan African Countries

Frank van Steenbergen, Nizar Zaied and Femke van Woesik In the Middle East, North Africa (MENA), and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), water scarcity has emerged as a pressing concern for many Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) member countries. Alarmingly, nearly 40% of the IsDB member countries (22 out of 57) face physical water scarcity, with availability dropping below 1000 cubic meters per capita per year. Additionally, 16 countries experience economic water scarcity, with levels below 3000 cubic meters per capita per year (Molle et al., 2017). With 80% of water resources allocated to agricultural activity (IsDB, 2019), escalating water scarcity poses a profound threat to this sector. The Arab Climate Change Assessment report further accentuates the severity, indicating that a substantial portion of cropland in the Arab region's key agricultural systems, encompassing crucial crops like wheat, maize, and olives, resides in the highest vulnerability brackets (ESCWA, 2017). In return, this underscores the imperative for the agricultural sector, being a major water consumer,… Continued

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