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Water scarcity and demand in Middle East

Jan 16th 2015 at 10:17 PM

The Middle Eastern region is the most water-scarce region of the world. The Middle East, which is home to 6.3 percent of the world's population, contains only 1.4 percent of the world's fresh water. Rapid population growth has exacerbated the water scarcity faced by the continent. High population growth imposes additional pressures on water scarcity besides natural factors including droughts and limited freshwater reserves.

Water demand in this continent has increased in recent past. However, agricultural sector is the biggest player in water consumption. Governments in most Middle Eastern have traditionally focused on increasing access to fresh water by investing in seawater treatment plants. Energy demand in this region is expected to triple in coming 15 years. Demand for power and energy is likely to increase maximum in countries such as Egypt, Iran and Turkey. The Middle Eastern region is the hub for most nuclear power plants but these plants are the largest consumers of water. They can reduce the consumption by using advanced cooling systems.

Water scarcity in the Middle East will undoubtedly persist and even worsen in the coming decades if government will not undertake effective management of shared water resources. Wars waged over water can be avoided with proper resolve and foresight. Efforts are required to mitigate the dwindling supply of water for future generations.

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