Friday, February 11, 2011

Water shortages to force Mideast cooperation

Terra Daily: A report for the Swiss and Swedish governments warned on Thursday that water shortages in the Middle East were so alarming that opposing camps in the region would have little choice but to cooperate. Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey called for closer cooperation between Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinians and Israel on managing increasingly scarce water resources, arguing that water could also be used to forge a "blue peace."

"The report comes to an alarming conclusion; five of the seven countries are experiencing a structural shortage and debit of most of the big rivers has declined by 50 to 90 percent between 1960," she told journalists. "In the future the main geopolitical resource in the Middle East will be water more than oil," she added, warning that it was closely tied to peace efforts.

The report by an Indian thinktank, Strategic Foresight Group, highlighted huge depletion of major rivers such as the Jordan and Yarmouk in the past half a century, the punctual depletion of the Euphrates by drought and the shrinkage of the Dead Sea to a small lake by 2050….

The Euphrates River in central or Southern Iraq, shot by Jayel Aheram, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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