Increasing The Sufficiency Of Water Supply To Arid Regions In Yemen

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Climate change has put a challenge to provide water to arid regions of the world. This report will discuss the impact of global warming in arid regions such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen, find the reasons and the effects of decrease of the water supply, how it impacts the economy of the region or its nation; consider possible solutions using statistics and sources from Water projects in the region, GCC countries case study, scientist and universities researches. ‘The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change was driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere ‘ (National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2017), furthermore, Carbon Dioxide which is released into the atmosphere from cars, trains, ships are ruining the ozone layer of the planet, therefore, letting the UV light from the sun melt the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic, rising sea levels and drying out rivers, lakes and reducing rainfall, creating a great impact on the life and flora in the arid regions of the planet.


Yemen and Saudi Arabia share borders however their water resources are very different, as well as how they deal with this. Saudi Arabia has fast economic growth and this drains all of the water resources ’The Middle East, a part of which is Yemen and Saudi Arabia, is an area of low precipitation and high evapotranspiration, much of it with less than 200 mm precipitation a year and potential evapotranspiration of over 2000 mm; this defines it as ‘arid’. It has a few rivers, arising in the mountains, two of which, the Euphrates and Tigris, are a major source of water in the region ‘(Ray Macey, 2018) However they are not flowing to Yemen and only partly in Saudi Arabia, however after global warming the rivers don’t supply enough fresh water. Because of scarce water resources, there were a lot of conflicts because of ‘ownership’ of the rivers. There were and still are fights among the countries because they could not share it and also because of the circumstances freshwater is now more valued than anything as it is a direct source of life.

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Figure 2 The Middle East, with major rivers: the Jordan, Euphrates and Tigris.

Long description

Also, the water security is directly connected to the wealth and development of countries like Yemen or Saudi Arabia, because when a country has low water but are developed economically, how Saudi Arabia is, the wealth resources come from oil, it can afford ways in which the water supply is available, the country is stable economically and they can use water desalination or other means of sourcing freshwater for their citizen and for the agriculture, which demands more and more water, however, Yemen has very low water resources but also does not have any wealth from oil resources unlike developed middle eastern countries, it is hard to survive due to the absence of financial support.

Figure 4 Water security in the Middle East, in relation to freshwater availability, economy (measured by gross national product, GNP) and adaptive capacity.

Present options

UAE and Saudi Arabia are economically secure, have luxurious cities with all the richest percentage of the nation having a residence there, the country’s wealth is secured by the oil resources, However, in reality, the water resources are decreasing rapidly. ‘A report from the Emirates Industrial Bank in 2005 said that the UAE had the highest per capita consumption of water in the world. Additionally, for the past thirty years, the water table of this region has dropped about one meter per year. At this current rate, the UAE will deplete its natural freshwater resources in about fifty years.’ (Barton, 2015)

Desalination plans in this are the biggest in the world, the mechanism of desalination is very expensive and to be able to support this process it must be located next to a sea or ocean, therefore this is why countries like Saudi Arabia can afford it because of their wealth,’ Seventy per cent of desalination plants in the world are located in this area, found mostly in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain.’ (Barton, 2015) but countries like Yemen can not afford it and they rely on world water organisation and charities to help them survive by supplying water. Desalination is also harmful to the environment and it created a closed circle because when desalination is making freshwater usually the self which is separated is usually dumped back into the sea creating a higher level of salt in the water and as a result kills and harms the wildlife in the water. Also, this process leaves the water without necessary minerals like calcium because of the high temperature, this water would not give the people or agriculture enough for health. Furthermore, desalination needs a lot of electricity which could also be very harmful to the environment. ‘Even with a large number of desalination plants to reduce water deficiency, the UAE needs to adjust its water use habits before its energy consumption doubles in 2020 ‘(Barton, 2015)

The other option of controlling water consumption in Saudi Arabia and Yemen and making the use of the water more efficient is policies created by the government to minimise the waste of the water and find a way to reuse water

‘Many countries were forced to make difficult decisions and restructure institutions involved in water governance. To encourage better management and conservation, many countries moved to situate water management responsibilities in one national-level ministry.’ (Michel, Pandya, Iqbal Hasnain, Panuganti, & Panuganti, 2012)

If the water situation is controlled by the government and there is a solution to the water waste then the chances for environmentally safe water supply will grow

The third option for increasing the sufficiency of water supply to arid regions in Yemen is to improve piping systems especially from countries which have enough of the water and can share if without conflict between there countries, if these countries can build thousands of miles nor pipes for oil transfer can surely do it for water ‘FAO’s project rehabilitated more than 30 water conveyance systems in the West Bank, improving the efficiency of almost 150 kilometres of water piping for domestic and agricultural use.’ (Steduto, 2018) Farmers could acces the water again and use if for their agricultural purposes as well as all the people could improve their health because they had fresh water which contained all the necessary minerals.

Requirements that either option must satisfy

‘Total water demands are expected to increase 36%over the next decade in Saudi Arabia. Today 91% of the combined total water demand is abstracted from groundwater, 7.2% by desalination of ground and seawater and the remainder from treated surface water. ‘(Dawoud, Water import and transfer versus desalination in arid regions: GCC countries case study, 2011) Due to this all the middle eastern countries are becoming dependent on artificial water resources, the population in these countries is rapidly growing and the amount of immigrants is increasing with every year due to the development of the economy, furthermore developed countries in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia are is become more active in international projects and developing their agriculture, meanwhile, Yemen or Kuwait are struggling to survive and drain their last water resources. If Wealthier countries in the arid region keep using desalination as the only way of producing water then this will do more harm than good to the environment in the whole world, or create more harm to their less fortunate neighbour countries. therefore, desalination is not an option.

Compare all options

Out of all the options the best one will be building more pipes from other countries like Iraq or Syria (they have two biggest rivers) through Saudi Arabia and delivering the water to Yemen and Kuwait. When the miles of pipes are built of an environmentally safe, recycle material they will present no harm or danger to nature or the people consuming the water. Therefore if the government would spend the money in building pipes rather then the stations for desalination it would be easily possible. Also, desalination extracts all the healthy minerals which are needed for life whereas pipes will just transport water from point a to point B without harming it, becoming much safer also it would provide more water two places which are on land and not only next to a water body like an ocean or a sea which is necessary for desalination. Government policies would not be enough to secure water for every single citizen and no matter how hard the government would work to minimise the waste of used water learn how to reuse it they will always need more water because of the increase of the population Adam the other hand growth of agriculture


In conclusion, due to climate change, caused by human actions, harms countries like Yemen more with time. However at the time given, the best and safest solution is to provide more freshwater both to wealthy and poor countries is by building water pipes, that will transfer water from lakes and rivers located in countries with enough resources to share. On the other hand, people have created other types of water supply such as desalination, it does more harm in the long term and requires a lot of electricity which can only do worse for the planet, intoxicating the water by throwing back-extracted salt which kills and harms the wildlife. Also, we should make new government policies in Yemen and Saudi Arabia with all other arid countries focused to minimise the waste of water and learn how to reuse water and how to teach the people to use it more efficiently so that the solved with a positive outcome. Furthermore, charities are working to help people to build pipes using their funds. However, it is not enough to use only one option so the governments would have to work on creating policies together with building pipes because if you only create new policies it will never be enough as the population is growing and agriculture is developing, increasing the need of freshwater, more developed countries, for instance, Saudi Arabia should teach Yemen’s government how to treat the problem by using their own experience.

Recommendation of one option

It is impossible to choose one option because it should work as a combination. If people only use pipes but there is a still big waste of water it would not solve the problem however when governments of developed and underdeveloped countries in the Middle East work together it will bring big changes and help both nations to give each other better standard of life.


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