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Middle East Bulletin

Middle East Bulletin

[Middle East Bulletin] Water shortage :Yemen's holocaust

by | 13-11-2014 13:12 Comments 0 recommendations 0

Yemen is situated in the midst of the Indian summer monsoon with moist winds rising from the Indian Ocean across the red sea. Sometime between March and September winds during heavy rain fall from direction of the Gulf of Aden. A new storage dam was built in 1980 with a capacity of 400,000 m3 was built right below the previous Mareb dam but due to the pressure exerted to increase agricultural output as well as providing to the needs of the rapidly growing population (3.8%/ year).An imbalance between the supply and demand continuously growing is a major cause of the exhaustion of the available water resources. In addition to a national policy that encouraged expansion instead of sustainable management and efficient use of water.


The rapid exhaustion of groundwater reserves has in raised awareness to this critical water shortage situation that is in many of the major cities of Yemen and resulted in an inadequate access to clean, drinking water for the people of Yemen.


Yemen has a population of over 20 million yet the volume of water that is accessible to each citizen is at maximum 130 m3   or less annually. With 90% of the population only receiving 90m3 or less on an annual basis. In reference to the International norms, this volume is hardly sufficient for domestic use alone, the minimum measured to be 100 m3 person/ year. Middle east and North African countries access  an average of 1 250 m3/person which accounts for about 12% on an average comparison to Yemen .And in comparison to the world  an average of 2% of  water consumption  with 7 500 m3  per person on an annual basis.

The magnitude of the water issue in Yemen is best described by a World Bank publication:


The main causes of the water crisis are familiar from other countries of the Middle East: rising demand as population and market-led agriculture develops groundwater exploitation getting out of hand and Government policy that has promoted expansion rather than efficient use and sustainability management The situation in Yemen stands out, however, amongst other arid countries: in no country in the world is the rate of exhaustion of aquifers proceeding so fast. Yemen also stands out because of the still weak capabilities of governance structures. It will not be possible to approach a realistic solution in short time whereby the Government will be in such a control that it will be able to avert further crisis development at every place in the country. (World Bank, 1996).


This is imposing a serious threat to the future of Yemen and it must be addressed. Yemen is one of the worlds ten most water-scarce countries. Sanaa could be the first capital city in the world to run dry. (Lichtenthaeler, G. 2010).


We the youth are responsible to do all in our power to help find solutions to this serious threat. By implementing policies that will help monitor the usage of water as well as observing and implementing procedures and methods that other countries with similar problems applied in managing the water scarcity problems but well before the a fore mentioned is put into place a bigger issue must be tackled which is "raising awareness". People in Yemen due to the high level of illiteracy are unaware of the seriousness of water shortage and they must be educated on its effects and consequences of misuse. This issue must be addressed and solutions must be provided to help Yemen from a soon to be water disaster.


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