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Yemen’s Capital Could Run Out Of Water by 2025

Yemen’s Capital Could Run Out Of Water by 2025

Sana’a, the capital city of Yemen, is in danger of depleting its remaining water supply within the next 15 years, according to an indepedent report commissioned by the Yemeni government.

preliminary draft of the report was obtained last month by the Science and Development Network, a nonprofit information service.

The report found that poor water mangement and excessive agricultural consumption are to blame for the city’s quickly dwindling fresh water supply.

Yemen is one of the most arid countries on Earth and is almost entirely dependent on groundwater and rainfall for its water supply.

Sana’a is located more than 100 miles inland and at roughly 7,400 feet elevation, and is seen as particularly vulnerable to water shortages in coming years, as its main groundwater source is being rapidly depleted by thousands of illegal wells (New York Times).

The population of Yemen has more than doubled since 1975, putting a strain on the existing drinking water supply. Coupled with the fact that growing khat, a stimulant drug that is very popular with the people of Yemen, requires large amounts of water, experts agree that Sana’a could be the first city in the world to run out of water.

According to the National Agricultural Research Institution, khat consumes around 6,300 cubic metres of water per hectare, whereas wheat consumes 4,300 cubic metres. In Sana’a alone, khat plants consume 60 million cubic metres of water per year — twice the amount consumed by its citizens (SciDev.net). 

The United Nations has found that water scarcity already affects every continent. Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world’s population, live in areas of physical scarcity, and 500 million people are approaching this situation.

Another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world’s population, face economic water shortage (where countries lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers).

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Image Credit: Flickr - VinothChandar

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113 comments

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4:57PM PST on Jan 7, 2011

....the water crisis....like in our worst nightmares...

5:30PM PDT on Nov 3, 2010

signed the petition!Its unbelievable,whos'second after that?

2:29PM PDT on Nov 3, 2010

To preserve water in agruculture the yemen government has to teach about muching crops as it is the way to retain moist in the crops.

4:59AM PDT on Nov 3, 2010

Yemen really does need a right of way to the nearest seacoast, a pipeline to pump the salt water up to them and a big desalination plant. But desalinated water like that would cost well over $1,000 per acre-foot, so they would still need to conserve water.

8:03PM PDT on Nov 2, 2010

thanks for the article.

3:26PM PDT on Nov 2, 2010

@surjit: Forget reading the Quran: there's no point in reading Quran if you don't understand it as you have demonstrated.

I find it disgusting that based on someone's religion you are allowing the deprivation of resources to a WHOLE country, a large majority of which has NOTHING to do with the nonsense mentioned in the media. All the women, children, youth etc. aren't involved in the attacks against innocent lives.

5:43AM PDT on Nov 2, 2010

as said before, arab oil money could solve this....but no one looks to the side when concerns to profits.
water conservation for NOW

5:40AM PDT on Nov 2, 2010

Surely Arab oil money can fix the water problem, like a desalination plant plus a 100 km pipeline. But I guess the oil $$ are used to finance useless projects and terrorism instead of looking towards the future. When the oil runs out the Arab nations will return to their roots, poverty.

10:08PM PDT on Nov 1, 2010

Well maybe its time for these people to start learning a few home truths. The first one is the law of Karma. what you do is what you get back and attract to yourself. God helps those who help themselves.

9:24PM PDT on Nov 1, 2010

More and more countries in arid areas are turning to desalination for water supplies (including the USA) It is environmentally damaging due to vast energy consumption and the increase of salt in the sea water in the area and the rest of the oceans. Saudi Arabia is already experiencing problems from their huge plants. Desalination is not the cure.

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