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Making the Most of Scarcity : Accountability for Better Water Management Results in the Middle East and North Africa


  • World Bank


Water -- the resource itself as well as the irrigation and water supply services derived from it is important for every country. It is fundamental to human health, wellbeing, productivity, and livelihoods. It is also essential for the long-term sustainability of ecosystems. Here, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the most water-scarce region of the world, good water management matters even more than it does elsewhere. The report suggests that MENA can meet its water management challenge. People have a very real need for water for drinking and for household uses. This domestic use, however, accounts for less than ten percent of a typical country's water consumption. Every country in the region has enough water resources to meet domestic needs, even accounting for the larger populations expected in the future. And policy decisions can help improve the way drinking water and sanitation services are delivered so that people get the services they need. The bulk of a typical country's water consumption goes to agriculture. This demand depends on such factors as the structure of the economy, people's consumption preferences, agriculture and trade policies, and how efficiently water is used. These factors can be influenced by policy choices. Similarly, countries can protect their environmental quality with policy and institutional choices. The necessary policy changes are far from easy. Yet they are essential, and, when coupled with improvements in accountability to the public, water resources and services will support communities and promote economic development and bring benefits to the entire population.

Suggested Citation

  • World Bank, 2007. "Making the Most of Scarcity : Accountability for Better Water Management Results in the Middle East and North Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6845, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:6845

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Shigeru Kimura & Romeo Pacudan & Han Phoumin, . "Development of the Eco Town Model in the ASEAN Region through Adoption of Energy-Efficient Building Technologies, Sustainable Transport, and Smart Grids," Books, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), number 2015-rpr-20 edited by Shigeru Kimura & Romeo Pacudan & Han Phoumin.
    2. James E. Rauch & Scott Kostyshak, 2009. "The Three Arab Worlds," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 165-188, Summer.
    3. Erika Weinthal & Neda Zawahri & Jeannie Sowers, 2015. "Securitizing Water, Climate, and Migration in Israel, Jordan, and Syria," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 293-307, September.
    4. Damerau, Kerstin & Williges, Keith & Patt, Anthony G. & Gauché, Paul, 2011. "Costs of reducing water use of concentrating solar power to sustainable levels: Scenarios for North Africa," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 4391-4398, July.
    5. Zyadin, Anas & Puhakka, Antero & Ahponen, Pirkkoliisa & Pelkonen, Paavo, 2014. "Secondary school teachers' knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes toward renewable energy in Jordan," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 341-348.
    6. Jeannie Sowers & Avner Vengosh & Erika Weinthal, 2011. "Climate change, water resources, and the politics of adaptation in the Middle East and North Africa," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 104(3), pages 599-627, February.
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:4:p:383:d:68491 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Raffaello Cervigni & Helena Naber, 2010. "Achieving Sustainable Development in Jordan," World Bank Other Operational Studies 21890, The World Bank.
    9. World Bank, 2011. "Poor Places, Thriving People : How the Middle East and North Africa Can Rise Above Spatial Disparities
      [Lieux pauvres, populations prospères : Comment le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique du Nord peuvent s
      ," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2255, April.
    10. Undp, 2011. "HDR 2011 - Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All," Human Development Report (1990 to present), Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), number hdr2011, December.
    11. Wouter Wolters & Robert Smit & Mohamed Nour El-Din & Eman Sayed Ahmed & Jochen Froebrich & Henk Ritzema, 2016. "Issues and Challenges in Spatial and Temporal Water Allocation in the Nile Delta," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(4), pages 1-12, April.


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