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A worsening water crisis in North Africa and the Middle East

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) already the most water stressed region in the world, faces a worsening crisis in terms of its access to water in the decades to come.

A country is water stressed when it cannot provide the minimum water supply to satisfy the essential needs of its population. This is set by the World Bank at 1,700 cubic metres of water per capita per year. The region – made up of the 22 countries in the Arab League, together with Turkey and Iran – also has very low levels of rainfall. Most of it has 600 millimetres per year and is thus classed as part of the arid zone.

There are several reasons why the water crisis is set to get worse – key ones include; the region’s burgeoning population, irrigation and the consequences of climate change. Regional populations of around 300 million today will more than double to over 600 million by 2050 and be confronted with the threat of climate change.


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