Changes in water resources availability can be expected as consequences of climate change, population
growth, economic development and environmental considerations. Water resource systems have benefited both people and their economies for many centuries. The services provided by such systems are multiple. Yet in many regions especially Middle east and North Africa (MENA) regions, water resource systems are not able to meet the demands, or even the basic needs, for clean fresh water, nor can they support and maintain resilient biodiverse ecosystems. Typical causes of such failures include degraded infrastructures, excessive withdrawals of river flows, pollution from industrial and agricultural activities, eutrophication from excessive nutrient loads, salinization from irrigation return flows, infestations of exotic plants and animals, excessive fish harvesting, floodplain and habitat alteration from development activities, and changes in water and sediment flow regimes. Inadequate water resource systems reflect failures in planning, management and decision-making – and at levels broader than water. Planning, developing and managing water resource systems to ensure adequate, inexpensive and sustainable supplies and qualities of water for both humans and natural ecosystems can only be successful if such activities address the causal socio-economic factors, such as inadequate education, population pressures and poverty.
It is considered that the adoption of IWRM concept could be the only possible way to maximize the benefit of Water resources in a sustainable manner without compromising the quality of environmental system, which in turn will require construction of regulation and control structures on the rivers and streams in a planned and integrated manner. Hence, MENA region countries are following the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). This study evaluates the current IWRM system of MENA region and highlights different challenges that the countries are facing while applying IWRM such as competition of water use, water scarcity, community conflict and unemployment.
MEENA communities face with many challenges with respect to their water needs. These challenges include increased water scarcity and/or flooding associated with climate variability, economic, uncertainty, a complex web of regulation and bureaucracy, aging and disregarding infrastructure, pollution and impaired water resources, and a broad range of stakeholders with poor understanding of water issues. The objective of this research is to create a plate form for MEENA communities to overcome these challenges through organizing around and operating under key sustainability principles and practices.
MENA region Water Resources Background
Water resources are being altered due to changes in climate, population, economic development and environmental considerations. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region can be considered as the most water-scarce region of the world. According to FAO AQUASTAT (WRI, 2005) the average renewable water resources per capita for 2005 are about 47 000, 20 000, 11 000, 4000, 6000 and 1500 m per year for South America, North America, Europe, SubSaharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and North Africa (MENA) regions, respectively. Moreover, water availability is highly variable within the MENA region. For example, within MENA the per capita water availability is currently less than 200 m3 per year in Yemen and Jordan. The 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC (IPCC, 2007) projects strong changes in climate across the MENA region. Temperatures are expected to increase while at the same time substantial decreases in precipitation are projected. These elevated temperatures will result in higher evapotranspiration demands and this will, in combination with decreases in precipitation, severely stress the water resources in the region. The impact of these changes is assessed by various other studies (e.g. Hanasaki et al., 2008; Elshamy et al., 2009; Wit and Stankiewicz, 2006; Legesse et at., 2003) indicating an increasingly large water de?cit in the future.
Ø Basic Concept of IWRM:
IWRM is an empirical concept which was through the-ground experiences of practitioners.
The Global Water Partnership’s definition of IWRM is widely accepted. It states: ‘IWRM is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems
Ø IWRM in the context of MENA Region:
Effective utilization of the water resources optimizes the benefit of the water resources, but it is the biggest challenge for the MENA countries. It is considered that the adoption of IWRM concept could be the only way to maximize the benefit of Water resources in a sustainable manner. The present MENA region water laws have also envisaged adoption of IWRM concept. The challenges for adopting the concept in MENA are as follows:
2. Competition of water use
3. Security of/from water.
4. Community conflict.
5. Insufficient water uses in agriculture
6. Limitation of water resources and increasing water scarcity with the time due to prevailing aridity, fast population growth and agricultural policies.
7. Inferior quality of water services in large cities due to fast pace of urbanization
Ø Statement of Problem
MENA countries are suffering from huge deficit in their water resources reaching more then 20 billion cubic meters, being met mainly by an intensive over-drafting of renewable and non-renewable groundwater resources and rivers for their different uses. Furthermore, conflict between the agricultural and domestic sectors on the limited water resources in the region are rising, and as a result, groundwater over exploitation and mining is expected to continue to meet growing demand in these two sectors.
If the current population growth rates, water management approach, water use practices and patterns continue, annual demand may reach more then as its now. As a result, the food security will become a challenge. In addition, the shortage of water will also severely affected irrigation, drinking and other daily water uses the water shortage occurred especially in dry regions because of urbanization and rapid increase in population. On the other hand, the climate change is another factor that challenges the availability of limited resources.
Ø Research Question:
This research will include quantitative and qualitative data on water resources, amount of water losses, watersheds, catchment areas, water utilization, water generation including fountains, amount of water resources to develop the current paper.
• How to develop this new scientific tools, concepts and theories to solve the water loss management problems in MENA region?
The following research methodology shall be followed to conduct the studies.
1. Assessing water resource availability and needs
2. Collecting information of developed IWRM plans for that balance economic, social and environmental needs.
3. Finding ways and methods for implementing water efficiency measures to control demands.
4. Searching for approaches toward encouraging changes in public attitudes to create a more water conscious culture.
5. Resolving conflicts over water.
6. Improving knowledge within and across sectors and agencies to manage water more efficiently.
From this research I found that, creating and IWRM integral plan is more sufficient from generating customary water supply plan. Unlike traditional water plan development, an IWRM strategy requires thinking about water in the context of economic, social and environmental needs and creating an adaptable framework for ongoing action and coordination instead of a static project-oriented plan. To accomplish this, it is imperative to include the public and all sectors affected by water planning.
Developing water management policy, can also help us to find other innovative and technical approaches to identify threats to water resources both in quantity and quality. And design legal and planning instruments to deal with each threat and it can also assist us to provide legal, technical, and administrative guidelines for mechanisms to ensure efficient allocation of water, and providing strategy for implementation, monitoring and enforcement major water related projects. This will be helpful to increase the agricultural based livelihood, improve irrigation facilities, and find the solution for uncontrolled water loss to stabilize crop production using watershed as one of the essential variant to accomplish the objectives and electivity production and other economical production. It will nourish the agriculture sector in a sustainable manner as strategic and critical pillar for country’s economic growth.
In the capacity of Civil Engineer at the Kabul Municipality in Afghanistan, and my academic studies, I have the passion, commitment and confidence to increase my knowledge and expertise through this golden capacity development opportunity.
Per above mentioned problems, challenges and proposed solutions, I feel undoubtedly that the result of this research will be resourceful, effective, and efficient intervention to seek long term and sustainable solution. Furthermore, it will help Afghanistan’s economic growth towards self-sufficiency, stability what international community including South Korea as one of the country’s main donors would like to see in the future.