Posted by: r.m. | February 24, 2011


While several countries in the Arab World rise up with hope and anger and bravery, there are other issues uniting this region.  And it is not only oil and gas.  But something much more precious.


It is priceless. Demand is increasing. Supply is decreasing. And supply is expected to decrease further.  And management of water in the region has yet to rise to the level needed.

From the Guardian (Feb 20, 2011) Water usage in north Africa and the Middle East is unsustainable and shortages are likely to lead to further instability – unless governments take action to solve the impending crisis



  1. Water is really such a great resource.Unfortunately,we are not appreciating it.It is such a pity that we live in Lebanon,the country of water,yet we have to buy it!It is about time our government,when there is a government,to step up and solve this problem before we end up with no water.

  2. The Arab world’s main problem was always water shortage, that is not what we learned from this article. But what is worrying is the rice in prices of almost everything, including water… Arab countries do not have the water, but they certainly have the means (and by that, i mean the funds) necessary to save them the trouble of facing a potential water disaster. Then why not use them ? In Lebanon, i guess, we won’t be facing such an increase in prices, since our water resources are large (until now, at least) and are there for everyone to envy (Or else, why would Israel be so attracted to us ?). I guess the best solution is for Arab countries to use a system where water could be transferred from water-rich countries in the areas (like Lebanon, for example) to water-poor areas in exchange for resources needed in the giving country (like petroleum or fuel). Such a system would not only save both countries from their respective problems, it would also encourage making good relationships between Arab countries and make them a force (precisely a “unit”) to be reckoned with on the worldwide scale.

  3. fights between countries have always been related directly or indirectly on energy.
    what does life mean? life means energy because whithout energy we would be all dead! so sources of energy are very important to maintain life; water is a major source of energy. although fuel ,gaz and many other energy sources have been the center of attention before and nowadays, however, this will no longer be the same!
    these energy sources will be depleted in the future and maybe in the near future who knows?!! because as we know fuel and other sources require millions of year to be renewed. however, water remains a renewable source!! and water will be to a great extant the center of attention of people to produce different kinds of energy, especially that now developed countries are trying to minimize the pollution that petrol and gaz causes! Lebanon as we all know is very rich in water, so lets try to make advantage of it because i will assure you that when petrol is depleted, all arab countries will loose their values and only lebanon will have a big role and word to say! lets try to appreciate what we have (“water”) which all countries will be fighting on soon…

  4. Soon, poverty, repression and decades of injustice will become minor problems when compared to the water crisis.Our inappropriate use of water will provide the entire humanity new reasons to fight. These struggles won’t be only over gas, fuel and land, but also over a principal source of living.
    We, as Lebanese, never think of the crisis from which water will suffer at a certain stage, because water has been always provided to us, at least until now! However, this will lead to severe consequences if we don’t take serious actions and fast. In fact, water preservation should be maintained and the first way to do this is by performing water awakening campaigns. This awareness will be the first step toward limiting the decrease in water supplies. However, if we keep up on this stream, water will soon be privatized much like any other natural resource. Water will be owned by the private sector which only cares about its economic goods and at a certain point, we will be forced to pay gas prices for water! This means that poor communities, unable to pay for bottled water, will suffer from thirst. I believe that self-reliance in an attempt to control water locally in poor nations will definitely help alleviate the problem for them. In addition, this privatization and marketing of water will try to get rid of public employment and lots of people working for cities water systems will be fired from their jobs.
    thus, lets give water some of our attention in order for it to stay for life and never for profits.

  5. I just want to mention that humans are not adapted to respond to long-term crisis such as climate change.

  6. What does the Arab world do when its water runs out? Well I think King Abdullah and Ali Abdullah Saleh are more interested in spending their people’s money on luxury villas and other senseless mega-projects. And if they run out of water, I’m pretty sure they can afford barrels of water at 100$ each. The problem in our Arab world is that nobody is taking this issue seriously. Our dictators can keep on building desalination plants but they will stop working once the oil resources run out. This article is trying to grab our attention to the degree of environmental mismanagement and energy waste we’re facing in the Arab world. Australia and Israel have had terrible water problems for years and yet were able to find solutions (Israel is using nuclear energy plants to empower desalinizing facilities / Israel and Turkey strike a 20-year water deal). The terrible and bitter question that we Arabs should ask ourselves: What are we doing? Nothing. Despite our huge oil and gas resources we are unable to find long term solutions for this problem. We have physically used nearly all our available water in a profligate way. Few solutions are left : We should promote water conservation and start counting for every drop we’re wasting (For example install water meters); Design new laws that demand water saving; Promote awareness. As long as we continue to over exploit nature and water resources, more people will be dying due to the wars over water rather than the lack of it.

  7. I liked the Arab’s revolution…it expresses their freedom and conscience…
    But we (Arabs) should not forget the important problems that we face such as water, decreasing number of trees, fuel duration….we should pay attention and fight for the long term living…

  8. Nothing come for free! We should pay for everything when there’s no exchange! Our greed and thirst for our benefits are leading us to a closed end. Energy being the issue by itself is a big problem, where we all tend to consume more and more energy of all its kinds but we never thought of consequences. Specifically, the water- essence of life- shortage issue should be taken seriously.
    This article showed how stupid Arabs are to not think of consequences of the aggravating factors of water demand such as: populations growing, underground reserves shrinking, climate change: temp increase, drought and water scarcity. Moreover, instead of making a step ahead some countries worsen the case, for example turning the impurities of desalination back to the sea affected greatly the marine life!! However, if ecological disaster is to be avoided, we must find common solutions or else greater troubles are yet to come unless we: limit water and energy profligacy, increase in the use of water-saving devices in all buildings, build large underground reservoirs. In addition three of the most solutions I found really water saving are:
    First, the countries sharing of their natural resources; for example the exchange of food and oil, water and oil etc.
    Second, thinking economically i.e. instead of wasting a lot of water on growing crops on lands not naturally able to do so, such as Saudi-Arabia, instead shift farming elsewhere- buy land in Africa-to save its water supplies.
    Third, and the most important is that we show people how water wasteful they are and make them recognize how vulnerable they are to conflict! People are ignorant to the amount of water they use daily and because the change we ask for as a whole unit toward water saving starts from an individual him/herself.
    Furthermore, I would like to comment on the last paragraph saying: it seems that there are countries using water crisis as an issue for more fighting. Israel for example has an access to water like us but is on struggle with the 3 countries Palestine Lebanon and Jordan, suggesting that when it comes for benefits, the wind of change will blow to destroy ONLY the weak!
    At last, I say for every action there’s equal and opposite reaction. We’ve coming generations that depend on us for human and life continuity. Moreover, why should we use water as a source of envy and troubles? We should think wisely in a better way to consume water and reduce its wasting as much possible.

  9. I like the idea that God has blessed all the Arab countries in a rare distinct resource, and each country has his own special unique way to drain it! I mean that’s fantastic, i think Arab countries are paying billions of dollars for those kinds of researches…
    The problem as i see it is that Arab countries only know how to use Raw Material, and if this could be directly used so be it, but if it needs to be processed which is mostly the case we dont know how to work it out. So what’s the easiest solution?! Sell IT!!! And BUY processed material from the raw material we sold to the western countries!
    I mean how ironic is that! We have everything yet we dont know how to produce 1 thing! We always have to rely on foreign countries, because we lack the knowledge. This makes me feel as if knowledge is from above, it’s as if a country is born with knowledge or is born without it, it’s not as if it’s acquired… And that’s sad
    Karim BABA – Biol 207 – Section 1

    • Who said we Arabs can’t produce one thing! Well we created islands!!
      I think it’s not because we don’t have the knowledge!! It’s because we have what the whole humanity wants and depends on, and especially because we are ruled politically! Our only fault is that we don’t have the courage to rule and not to be ruled. For example, the events of “1973 oil crisis” when Saudi Arabia stood against the US and proclaimed an oil embargo in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military” during the Yom Kippur war, caused the US to increase the price of wheat. But then political objectives met. Therefore, I’m sad now to say we hold only and only no power.

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