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Water has always posed great challenges for the Middle East and North Africa. With rapid growth, regional instability, and climate change, these challenges are more pressing than ever. This report describes how the region’s current water challenges go far beyond age-old constraints of water scarcity. The report explores how countries can anticipate and act to strengthen water security, rather than waiting to react to the inevitable disruptions of water crises.
Beyond Scarcity: Water Security in the Middle East and North Africa draws on regional and global examples to show that limited water resources need not restrict the region’s future, but that a combination of technology, policy and management can convert scarcity into security.
Offering a comprehensive analysis of one of the region’s most significant challenges, the report examines the sustainability and efficiency of current water resources management, the challenges to maintain and extend access to affordable water services, and the growth of water-related risks and the adequacy of the actions taken to address them.
“If we think of water resources as a bank account, then the region is now seriously overdrawn,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa. “Drawing water from rivers and aquifers faster than they can be replenished is equivalent to living beyond one’s means, and it undermines a country’s natural capital, affecting longer-term wealth and resilience. But there are solutions, and they start with clear incentives to change the way water is managed.”