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News Syria: Why the water shortages?

Poor planning and management, wasteful irrigation systems, intensive wheat and cotton farming and a rapidly growing population are straining water resources in Syria in a year which has seen unprecedented internal displacement [http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=88139] as a result of drought in eastern and northeastern parts of the country. 

Compared to other Middle Eastern countries, Syria is not naturally water poor. According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Arab Human Development Report 2009 [http://www.arab-hdr.org/contents/index.aspx?rid=5], Syria was ranked 13th out of 20 Arab countries for precipitation per capita.   

Annual per capita water consumption was 300 cubic metres, making it ninth out of 18 Arab countries but significantly below the global water scarcity mark of 1,000 cubic metres per capita. The global average is 6,750 cubic metres.

In 2007 Syria consumed 19.2 billion cubic metres of water - 3.5 billion more than the amount of water replenished naturally, with the deficit coming from groundwater and reservoirs, according to the Ministry of Irrigation.   

Agriculture accounts for almost 90 percent of the country's water consumption, according to government and private sector.   Agricultural policies encourage water-hungry wheat and cotton cultivation, and inefficient irrigation methods mean much water is wasted. 

The recent influx of hundreds of thousands of people from drought-affected regions into towns and cities is placing a huge strain on urban water supplies.   

The Damascus water basin is a closed water system and its resources are being depleted. The city water network leaks up to 60 percent of the water it carries, according to the local authorities. Migrants living on the outskirts are having to pay for water from tankers at an inflated price.

 

Contact information n/a
News type Inbrief
File link http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=88554
Source of information DAMASCUS, 25 March 2010 (IRIN)
Keyword(s) water shortages
Subject(s) AGRICULTURE , DRINKING WATER , DRINKING WATER AND SANITATION : COMMON PROCESSES OF PURIFICATION AND TREATMENT , FINANCE-ECONOMY , HYDRAULICS - HYDROLOGY , INFORMATION - COMPUTER SCIENCES , INFRASTRUCTURES , METHTODOLOGY - STATISTICS - DECISION AID , POLICY-WATER POLICY AND WATER MANAGEMENT , PREVENTION AND NUISANCES POLLUTION , RISKS AND CLIMATOLOGY , WATER DEMAND , WATER QUALITY
Relation http://www.semide.net/countries/fol749974/sy
Geographical coverage Syria
News date 31/03/2010
Working language(s) ENGLISH
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