Yemen known for being the only country in the Arab region that is not rich in oil. Although two thousand years ago it was know for its fertile soil, it now faces huge challenges in terms of water supply. The capital Sana’a was founded without any access to rivers, lakes or even the sea. For more than two thousand five hundred years the people from Sana’a have been using groundwater and rainwater sources to maintain life. And now both are becoming increasingly scarce. There are also accompanying problems of unequal division between the rich and the poor and contamination. Rural areas lack basic services, such as water. In the urban areas only 50 % has access to the city’s water infrastructure, the rest has to rely upon tanks.
Water is now extracted from non-renewable aquifers, contributing to the depletion. The Sana’a basin does also provide water for agriculture. The water levels have dropped, which leads to farmers having to dig deeper at higher costs. The farmers, with their limited resources, can only dig down for 600 meters. Farmers have to move to the most profitable crop, so that they can pay for water usage. The most profitable crop is Qat, a high-cash crop. Agriculture near Sana’a is becoming an more and more expensive business. Next to the water prices, the fuel that is used to pump water from the ground is increasing in price.
Sana’a is not a sustainable water. Water is often pumped from underground without any attempt to preserve the resources. In addition, the population has grown from hundred and thirty five thousand people in the seventies to more than two million today.