April 18, 2021
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Searching for oasis
Water scarcity in West Asia and regional implications The area covered by the Persian Gulf and Northern Africa is the most water stressed region in the world. Being dry and arid, the area has limited natural resources of water and renewable water resources.  Roughly, the water resources here amount to three river basins-Tigris-Euphrates, Nile and the Jordan River Basin, which are suffering from very limited and rapidly diminishing fresh groundwater resources and desalination plants. The population is growing rapidly which is stressing the water crisis even more. This is despite the fact that most of the Arabian Peninsula is a desert and does not support much human settlement, except in areas with reasonable water resources such as oasis, coastal areas and river basins. The economies of the region have not been credited with a decent water management system which highlights the problem of diminishing water supply and increasing demand for it. Water crisis is a trans-border issue and so far the countries have not carved out any long term water sharing mechanisms. The lack of water is a sticky point and the contention lies in a sharing mechanism without which, water could potentially turn into a geo political concern and possibly, the cause for war. Given the other instabilities in the region and the stagnant state of economic development in the Middle East, local conflict dynamics are likely to deteriorate in the absence of a pragmatic solution to
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