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Arab water deficiency Regional, Economics, 6/1/2002

An Arab expert in the field of world environment affairs expected water shortage in the Arab states to reach in 2002 some 200 billion cubic meters of water, noting that the need of the Arab region of waters in 2000 reached 360 billion cubic meters and expected the needed amount of waters to be 500 billion cubic meters by the year 2020.

Expert Issam al-Hennawi, the international environment expert and former director of the environment affairs department at the UN environment program as well as the teacher at the national center for researches in al-Diqi in Cairo said that the Arab states whose water resources are not enough and sufficient, use untraditional water sources to meet part of its water needs. He added that among these are desalination of water and sewage water treatment, noting that the production capacity of the 47 desalination stations in the Gulf Cooperation Council GCC member states estimated at 1.6 billion cubic meters per year. This, he explained represents 50% of the local requirements of potable waters. It is expected to increase the capacity of these desalination stations to 3 billion cubic meters with the fall of 2003.

He added that there are 65 rivers in the Arab states noting that this river network only meets part of the Arab region for waters.

He stressed that the question of water in the Arab region is very complex, noting that 88% of the water is used for irrigation purposes in the Arab states and 70% of the volume of irrigation water is lost because of the use of traditional irrigation systems, leakage in water pipelines and bad administration of irrigation waters.

-- Martin (, June 02, 2002

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