Monday, August 31, 2009

Yemen's Water Problems

I've noted before how Yemen's qat industry is sucking the country dry - in a literal sense - but this is striking to anyone who knows the patterns of available resources on the Arabian Peninsula throughout history:
"However, water shortages in the southern city of Aden are already fuelling violence. One person was shot dead and three were wounded, two of them police officers, during water protests on August 24.

"And fast-depleting aquifers make Yemen's plight the starkest in a desperately water-scarce region. Local disputes over water rights may turn violent, especially in tribal areas. Competition for supplies between cities and the countryside may sharpen.

"'Yemen's water share per capita is under 100 cubic metres a year, compared to the water poverty line of 1,000 cubic metres,' said Hosni Khordagui, Cairo-based head of the UN Development Programme's water governance programme in Arab countries...

"Agriculture sucks up more than 90 per cent of water used.

"Mismanagement of water resources is one reason why Yemen's plight is worse than that of neighbours such as Oman, argues Jac van der Gun, director of the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre in The Netherlands."

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