No more water in the well

Middle Eastern countries are amongst the driest on the earth. We all know that, but few of us seem to realise how low per capita water resources really are in the region. Equally worrying is the fact that as each year goes by, and populations continue to grow, there is less water for each person to consume.

  • E-Mail
By  David Ingham Published  March 15, 2006

No more water in the well|~||~||~|Middle Eastern countries are amongst the driest on the earth. We all know that, but few of us seem to realise how low per capita water resources really are in the region. Equally worrying is the fact that as each year goes by, and populations continue to grow, there is less water for each person to consume. Not only that, but ground resources continue to dwindle at an alarming rate. Some experts believe the ground water in Gulf countries could effectively be gone within 15 years. You would think that Middle Easterners would be extremely careful about water consumption, but the fact that remains that we are a wasteful lot. Few of us have dual-flush toilets and if we do, we probably don’t use them properly. We also leave our taps running needlessly, shower several times a day and use our washing machines endlessly. You might ask what all this has to do with health. According to one water management company, 45 million people in the MENA region lack safe water and more than 80 million lack safe sanitation. As populations continue to grow and ground resources are continuously depleted, those figures could get even higher. Desalination is one obvious solution to the problem of dwindling water resources, but desalination is expensive and only Gulf countries can realistically afford it. A far better approach would be to conserve and recycle water, but so little of either is going on. Asking the public to save water is one obvious measure. Make use of the dual flush on the toilet and don’t leave taps running, for example. Whether or not such campaigns would have any effect in the MIddle East is doubtful, but it is good to see that at least one company, Nestle Waters, has made a start by sponsoring the rollout of the WET campaign in the region (see page 10 this month). On the water recycling front, much more could be done. Water from large residential developments could be trapped, cleaned up and used to water the public gardens. Labour camps, factories and shopping centres are also huge users of water that could easily be cleaned up and reused. Some corporate citizens, such as Emaar, are taking a lead in recycling water, but a lot more is needed. One way to encourage conservation and reuse is to hit people in their pockets by removing water subsidies, which are common in the region. If action isn’t taken quickly, we may wake up one day to find there’s no more water in the well.||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code