“The Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) is the most water scarce region in the world. Worldwide, the average water availability per person is close to 7,000 m3/person/year, whereas in the MENA region, only around 1,200 m3/person/year is available. The region also has the highest variability of precipitation in the world. Moreover, with the population expected to grow from around 300 million today to around 500 million in 2025, per capita availability is expected to halve by 2050.” Worldbank, 2009
This is the introductory statement provided in a paper by Joshka Wessels on the Middle East Water Crisis. The full text can be found in an earlier post: The Middle East: Looking Through Its Many Cracks and Fissures. Having an honor such as being the most water scarce region in the world is not a distinction but it is a reality.
It appears that there will finally come some relief to the water deficiency on Gaza with the commitment to built a reverse osmosis desalination plant. To further understand the severity of the water deficit.
“There are 1.6 million Palestinians living in the most densely population area on earth with water unfit for drinking. The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) confirmed this week that unless the planned desalination facility is in operation by 2020, the aquifer currently supplying water to the country would be irreversibly diminished, if extraction continues at the current rate.”
Another canary in the mine warning is already visible. The salinity levels of the aquifer already exceed World Health Organization guidelines. This is an indication that as these freshwater reserves are further depleted, more and more saltwater from deep coastal, ocean aquifers will begin to fill the void enabling freshwater to be displaced forever. (See: The Oceans Are Coming to better understand this saltwater/freshwater relationship).
Let’s hope this project - Reverse Osmosis Confirmed for Gaza Desalination Plant – moves forward to enable completion well before depletion of this ancient aquifer serving this ancient region.