Thursday, February 3, 2011

Yemen to run out of water in 2025

Observed by: Mr. Alaa Isam

Studies discussed by the national conference for managing and developing water resources in Yemen warned against the danger threatening waters resources in Yemen because of wasting water and the country’s limited resources.

The recent studies presented by a number of concerned international and local bodies revealed the size of dangers facing water resources in Yemen under the extreme wasting of water. The studies expected the most water reserve would be exhausted by 2025. The paper presented by the World Bank entitled “the Aftermath of Current Situation in the Absence of Work”; Yemen will run out of water in the period between 2020-2050. This study was based on the bad way of using water.

Annual feeding

The paper indicated that most of ground water would be depleted by the advent of 2025. The paper said only annual feeding will remain for Yemen in the time when there is no awaiting improvement in climate change and the increase of global warming. The paper tackled also the affect of this problem on Agriculture and income via reducing the agricultural production and income could reach 40 percent. The paper also indicated that the effect of the problem on rural areas will be shown in shrinking the economy and the increasing poverty levels as well as the increase of local migration from countryside to urban areas. The study also said the effect on the urban areas will be on reducing water supply and the increase of their prices, especially for poor people.

Project Costs

On the whole economy, the study confirmed that water scarcity will affect all people via increasing the costs of infrastructure projects and the reduction of the agricultural production. This will affect also food prices and food security and led to deterioration of local currency. However, the paper said that these results could not be absolute as long as there are choices could help in avoiding the problem if Yemen decided to move towards basic changes in managing its water resources. The study suggested necessity of political decision and cooperation of the whole society supported by big investment projects.

“Green” and “Blue” water

For his part, professor of London King College G.A Alan talked in his study entitled “ Yemen’s Challenge in Managing Water” talked about political challenges in drafting laws for water sector and implementing them. He pointed out that Yemen is very poor in terms of “green” and “blue” water to cover the need of growing population. He indicated that the problem of water supply in Yemen has three main reasons; big demand for water, using water ground for irrigation during 1970s and 1980s and the most important one is the poor capabilities of Yemen’s economy to deal with the second reason. He asserted that re-allocating ground water is the most difficult thing in the area, clarifying that other countries in the region have income enabling them to cover the cost of importing great quantities of water. Besides, they are able to cover costs of establishing and operating water infrastructure projects for house and industry use.

Floods water

Meanwhile, the study presented by researcher Mathias Kister talked about the mechanisms of distributing water and about irrigation by floods water in Tihama flatlands. Entitled “Managing Waters for Just Distribution, Economic Activity and Environment Stability”, the study raised a question on the types of policies through which Yemen tried to legislate rules to manage water local management that ensure social equality between consumers. It also dealt with tools that protect water resources in Yemen in the best way.
Ruling management

The study provided also suggestions - the possibility of re-structuring water management for ensuring social equality and using water in sustainable way via accurate comparison in similar way applied in Eritrea and Pakistan. The study asserted that the problem of just distribution of water on local level will be accompanied by complete exhaustion of water resources in the near future. The study indicated that the basic idea based on the priority of giving water to fields located on the top mountains and this idea must continue to form distribution principle.
Work symbols

The study suggested six work symbols to be used for limiting the danger of water depletion and to motivate sustainable use. The study suggested drafting laws fit water situation and defining the quantity of extracted water and fees of water taxes. Secondly, forecasting ability percentage on water quantities must be increased so that this help on raising awarness level on underground water reserve. Thirdly, constructive criticism must continue to improve the capability of using water provided that the cost must not exceed the possible improvement. Fourthly, canceling the central system in government water managements like the General Authority for Water Resources as knowledge, effect and legality is at the hands of partners and concerned bodies. Fifthly, the government has to set up tax means, tariff and the price that could re-direct the agricultural activity towards traditional concentration on agricultural products that do not need much water quantities. Sixthly donors’ contribution must be directed from urban to rural areas to reduce the effect of the transitional period.
Traditions and customs

The last study tackled the process of organizing water usage on local level in Yemen. Prepared by local and foreign researches, the study indicated that Yemen has rich traditions customs on controlling water and lands. This helped improving ground and surface water. The study clarified that these rules form institutional position and valuable source in dealing with population growth and the depletion of ground water. The study indicated that many societies have started dealing with the issue via taking a number of measures to solve it. The study also noted that it is possible to support local societies in rural areas to improve the process of managing water. It asserted that the national bodies, governorates and water basins committees can lead this process via easing the process of evaluation, providing information and active implementation of those efforts.


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