Climate change and food insecurity – Groundwater will be key

Hotter and more unpredictable weather means the need to ensure water and food security in the region is becoming critical

Comment: Hotter and more unpredictable weather makes freshwater ever more vital to survival. Karen Villholth and Alvar Closas explore the problems and solutions for managing this precious resource.

In the arid regions of the Middle East and North Africa, freshwater resources are among the lowest in the world.

In the last 40 years, per capita freshwater resources have decreased by two thirds and are expected to fall over 50 percent by 2050. Yet population figures, and demand for food, are going in the opposite direction.

Food production currently uses around 85 percent of these dwindling freshwater supplies. As climate change advances, bringing hotter and more unpredictable weather, the need to ensure water and food security in the region is becoming critical.

Groundwater – water supplies found in permeable rocks and sediments underground – has historically been an important water source in the MENA region. In Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and Yemen, groundwater contributes more than 50 percent of total water withdrawals.

Groundwater supplies can serve as a lifeline to those inhabiting dry and arid areas. Traditional communities in the Northern Africa and Middle East region have historically depended strongly on groundwater due to its widespread availability and its reliability, even during drought.

However, quenching the thirst of growing populations and agricultural land with groundwater comes at a price.

Read the full article
Read the full article

Funders & Partners:

Related Articles