Towards Developing a SEMED Water Knowledge Platform – Mediterranean Water Development Outlook
At the cross-roads of three continents, the Mediterranean region is one of the most historic, culturally rich and diverse regions in the world. Endowed with unique geographical, ecological and geopolitical features, it benefits from the continuous exchanges across peoples and territories. In a constantly changing world, the Mediterranean faces serious natural and human-made challenges, including water scarcity, population growth, migration, industrialization, urbanization, pollution, and climate and other environmental change, along with the proliferation of energy-intensive lifestyles. These issues entail a rather blurry picture for the present and the future of the Mediterranean region, posing threats also to its water security. Not far from the Mare Nostrum, the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) extending, south of the Mediterranean Sea, from Morocco to Egypt and, east of the Mediterranean Sea, from Yemen across the countries of the Arabian Peninsula all the way to Syria is also facing a particularly alarming situation of water, making it as one of the most water insecure regions of the planet. Annual renewable water supplies in MENA are approximately 620 billion cubic meters (BCM), compared to Africa’s almost 4000 BCM, Asia’s 12,000 BCM, and a world total of approximately 43,000 BCM. In 2015, the World bank estimated that MENA’s per capita annual water availability is estimated on average of only 1,200 cubic meters, around six times less than the worldwide average of 7,000 cubic meters which is below the amount needed to prevent a significant constraint on socio-economic development, making the region the most water stressed in the world.