American Society of Civil Engineers

Sustainable Water Resources Development Plan for the Middle-East Countries

by Adnan A. H. Al-Qurashi, (Islamic andArabic Studies, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran - 31261, Saudi Arabia) and Tahir Husain, (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NF, Canada)
Section: Water Resources Management, pp. 1-10, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Bridging the Gap: Meeting the World’s Water and Environmental Resources Challenges
Abstract: Middle East and North African countries are facing the most severe water shortage problems in the world. With about 5% of the world’s population, it has less than 1% of all renewable freshwater resources in the region. More than half of the population in the region has less than 1,000 m3 renewable water annually on per capita basis which is lowest in the world and much less than the world average of 7,700 m3. Islamic Network on Water Resources Development and Management (INWARDAM) of Arab League countries has made an assessment of minimum water requirements in the region. According to INWARDAM, a minimum of 55 m3 per person per year is required for domestic uses. In addition, 1,150 m3 per person per year is required to sustain life by providing an average daily diet of 3,000 to 3,500 kilo-calories which is equivalent to 375 kg/year fruits and vegetables, 35 kg/year of meat and 125 kg/year of cereals. Therefore, a minimum of 1,205 m3 per person per year is the minimum requirements in the region for sustainable development. Due to hot arid climatic conditions prevailing in the Middle East countries, the renewable water resources in the region are very limited. Despite this, per capita demand has increased by several folds in the last 30 years. Review of current supply and demand situation in the Middle East countries shows that that there is a great degree of disparity in maintaining a balance between supply and demand due to limitations imposed by climatic condition in further developing and exploiting these resources. Disparity in supply and demand is also due to high population growth rate, exponential increase in per capita water consumption due to high standards of living and changes in socioeconomic settings.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Water resources
Middle East
Sustainable development