MidEast has world’s lowest per capita water and high birthrate

9-7-16    According to the UN refugee agency, 6.6 million people have been displaced internally in Syria due to the war and around 4.3 million people have fled to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Europe in the last six years.

“Damaged [water] infrastructure, a lack of maintenance, and limited power supply has resulted in a 50% reduction in access to safe water [in Syria],” said Mogadam….

“The [water] situation is getting worse throughout the Middle East region,” said Ashok Swain, director of the International Centre for Water Cooperation, who has co-authored a new book on emerging security threats in the Middle East.  “The Middle East as a whole has the lowest per capita water availability in the world.  At the same time it has also one of the highest rates of population growth.  Governments have largely focused on water supply management, through desalination.  Current co-operation over water resources is minimal.  That needs to change,” he said at a water conference in Stockholm….

Middle-East water researcher Francesca de Châtel said that the roots of the Syrian conflict were to be found in 50 years of Syria’s mismanagement of water, the failure of intensive, irrigated wheat and cotton farming, and growing water scarcity.  “The failure of largescale agricultural development projects from the 1950s onwards undermined farmers’ livelihoods and dislocated rural communities.  As rivers disappeared and wells ran dry after years of overexploitation, farmers abandoned their land and sought work in the big cities.”   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/07/water-supplies-in-syria-deteriorating-fast-due-to-conflict-experts-warn

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9-2-16     This will be exacerbated by inefficient irrigation which currently consumes 85% of the MidEast and North Africa region’s water.  In Saudi Arabia, this has resulted in the depletion of two-thirds of its  groundwater supplies since the 1980s.[6 ] Inefficient water use has also seen the water table in the United Arab Emirates drop by one meter per year, a rate which will see its freshwater reserves depleted in roughly 50 years.[7]

IS’s quest for hydrological control began in Northern Syria when it captured the old Soviet Tabqa dam in 2014, a major source of electricity and water for the country. IS has also launched repeated offensives to capture the Iraqi Mosul and Haditha dams, the two largest in the country.

Considering that over 95% of Iraq’s water comes from Tigris and Euphrates,[11] anyone controlling both dams would have a stranglehold on water and electricity supply which would have a crippling effect on food production and economic activity in central and south Iraq.       https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/09/02/water-scarcity-cooperation-or-conflict-in-the-middle-east-and-north-africa/

CIOB_map.PNG -Turkey to north; Tigris & Euphrates flowing to Perisan Gulf–in blue; Istanbul-Baghdad Railway in red

 

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