World water resources and ways to solve the water crisis
According to the latest Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas from the World Resources Institute, a quarter of the world’s population is currently experiencing “unusually severe water scarcity”, and by 2050, this crisis will affect another billion people. During an “unusually severe water scarcity”, a country uses at least 80% of its renewable water resources. Bahrain, Cyprus, Kuwait, Lebanon and Oman are the most challenging. To fight the water crisis, forests and wetlands must be protected and restored, and efficient agricultural irrigation techniques and energy sources less dependent on water, such as solar and wind, should be used.
Groundwater is the primary source of freshwater for at least 10 Arab countries and is crucial to agriculture. Especially now, due to climate change, there is less and less rainfall, and more and more rivers and lakes are drying up. However, no one knows how much groundwater is left in the Middle East. The reason is the various and complicated measurement methods the countries use.
Due to the drought, it is becoming increasingly challenging to grow amber rice, the pride of Iraq. It is so called because of its characteristic smell – in the Iraqi dialect, the word “amber” is used to describe any sweet aroma. Rice is the basis of the Iraqi diet and even an integral part of the identity of the local people. Meanwhile, Iraq, ravaged by years of drought, is experiencing its worst heatwave in decades. In 2021, the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture decided to ban most rice cultivation to save water.