According to a new report released by UNICEF, 90% of children in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) live in areas with extreme water scarcity. According to reports, the Middle East and North Africa are the most water-scarce regions in the world. According to the report, the main driving factors behind this are growing agricultural demand and the expansion of irrigated land using aquifers. On a global scale, agriculture occupies an average of 70% of water, while in the MENA region it consumes more than 80%. Other factors contributing to water shortages include conflicts, especially in Syria, Yemen, and Sudan, migration from rural to urban areas, population growth, poor water management, deterioration of water supply infrastructure, and governance issues. Conflict and regional economic and political instability have also increased the demand for emergency water sources, including truck transportation, further exacerbating groundwater depletion.
Although climate change is not the only cause of water shortage, due to saltwater flowing into freshwater aquifers and increasing pollution concentrations, climate change has led to a decrease in agricultural rainfall and a deterioration in the quality of freshwater reserves. UNICEF stated that they will continue to support local partners, governments, civil society, and the private sector in addressing water vulnerabilities in the Middle East and North Africa, including:
- Protect the human rights of individuals to access water and sanitation services without being compromised by other water use or threatened by targeting water infrastructure in conflict settings.
- Create a strong enabling environment through strong national policies and regulatory systems to address shortages, including over-exploitation of groundwater, water accounting, and data analysis.
- Cooperate with civil society, especially young people who are agents of change, to discuss the value of water resources and water conservation.
- Start the climate change response plan, prioritize water shortages, and allocate sufficient national budgets to solve the problem of water shortages.
- Establish coordination groups between major ministries (such as water, agriculture, energy, and finance) and sector participants to support policy revisions and improve technical capabilities.
- Support the capacity building of major water sector participants, including regulators, private sector operators, and national water companies to upgrade aging infrastructure, develop sustainable operations, and reduce water waste.
Bertrand Banville, UNICEF’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Water scarcity has a profound impact on children and families, starting with their health and nutrition. Water scarcity is also increasingly becoming a source of conflict and displacement. Driving factors. What is even more unacceptable is that those fighting in the conflict are targeting water infrastructure. Attacks on the water supply infrastructure must stop.
with information from: https://environmentjournal.online/articles/report-reveals-unprecedented-water-scarcity/