Water Shortage in MENA Region: An Interdisciplinary Overview and a Suite of Practical Solutions


The chronic water shortage in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region is a perplexing issue, undoubtedly because various operational sectors, multi-institutions and stakeholders are inextricably interconnected. In the light of climate variability and the unprecedented population growth rate, the per capita water resources and biocapacity will continue plummeting, and the demand-gap will seriously expand. Existing water quantification agreements have been deemed inefficient to solve the problem of naturally diminishing water resources and thus require immediate re-assembling. Most scholarly endeavors, including key international organizations, NGOs, and “Think Tank” policy briefs have limitedly addressed water shortage in contexts of regional politics, mass media, and, importantly, from social psychology perspectives. Therefore, a thorough analysis and interdisciplinary approach is required to find a feasible and suitable framework of solutions and from a multi-perspective podium. A synthesis of cross-sectorial bottlenecks that are crucial to water management is presented, and a suite of practical recommendations are introduced to water authorities and governments. This study argues that in the shadow of the region’s political instability, the clash of ideologies and its repercussions, and issues of national security and sovereignty, regional cooperation on water issues remain prognostications. In this essence, governments of MENA countries are urged to develop measures to substantially increase the water supply through innovative approaches. Such measures include enhancing the capacities of water harvesting, maximizing the storage capacities of the built dams, and deploying groundwater recharge techniques. Furthermore, seawater and brackish water desalination through clean energy technologies is a contemporary solution with socio-economic and multiple benefits. Multi-billion water projects might not be suitable approach in the absence of external funding and the aforementioned hurdles. Further research is required to address the social economics, and environmental aspects of desalination and the socio-economic feasibility of privatizing drinking water utilities and price polarization.

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A. Zyadin, "Water Shortage in MENA Region: An Interdisciplinary Overview and a Suite of Practical Solutions," Journal of Water Resource and Protection, Vol. 5 No. 4A, 2013, pp. 49-58. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2013.54A008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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