However, as in the case of Gaza, there are solutions. With the right measures, a complex knot of challenges can be addressed. Decreasing the dependence of the agricultural and energy sectors on water is essential, while also maintaining and even increasing their output. For energy, transitioning to renewable energies can reduce the demand on water, with the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy also promotes energy security by reducing the reliance on imported fuels.
Climate will add to the challenge and make comprehensive strategies ever more urgent. As the region becomes drier and subject to higher temperatures, policies that reduce the economy’s dependence on water and anticipate climate’s effects on the ‘nexus’ will be critical for ongoing sustainable development and stability. Furthermore, agriculture and food production systems play a key role in valuing water and using it more productively. Some of the measures to achieve this include monitoring use, modernizing irrigation systems, increasing on-farm water productivity, and reducing water losses in food-supply chains.
Similarly, phasing out of water intensive cooling technologies for thermal power generation and improving efficiency can go a long way in reducing water needs for electricity generation. To respond to increasing water scarcity, power plants using once-through cooling technologies are likely to be phased out and substituted with less water-intensive seawater recirculation technologies or dry cooling.
In conclusion, the region would do well to further integrate the different policies for water, energy and agriculture for the improvement of all of the sectors as well as the economies upon which people depend.
About the author
Anders Jägerskog, Ph.D, is Senior Water Resources Management at the Global Water Practice at the World Bank. His work focuses on the Middle East and North Africa region. Previously he was Counsellor for regional water resources in the MENA region at the Swedish Embassy in Amman, Jordan; Director, Knowledge Services, at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) where he headed the Transboundary Water Management Unit and was work area leader for applied research. He managed the UNDP Shared Waters Partnership which facilitates and promotes dialogue and cooperation on transboundary water resources. He is Associate Professor (Docent) at Peace and Development Research, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg where his work focuses on global water issues. He worked for Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs; at the Embassy of Sweden, Nairobi and at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). In 2003 he finished his PhD on the water negotiations in the Jordan River Basin at the Department of Water and Environmental Studies at the Linköping University, Sweden. He has published over 100 scientific articles, book chapters, debate articles and reports on global water issues.
Further reading by/about Anders Jägerskog
#embed id=2127;3180;1984 class=list