Document Type : Original Article
Soil and Water Conservation Research Institute, Shanghai, China
Water tension is growing with the growing population of the world. The demand for healthy and adequate food in any sustainable development is among the most important sustainability indices. In this context, water resource management plays a very important role. At present time, most of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa are under water tension. In a sustainable development, a sound management of water resources is crucial in the socio-economical development of these countries in these regions. The objectives of this paper are 1) To review the present state of water resources management and water tension in the Middle East and North Africa, 2) To review the water resources managements in Iran, and 3) To discuss some case studies in the central desert arid condition of Iran.
The definition of sustainability with regard to arid and semi-arid conditions is discussed here. However, sustainability as used in the environmental policy and research arena is indeed a complex issue. In general, sustainability even on a local level has to address and relate to global issues. With the advances in technology the water utilization has boosted the underground water resources. The sustainability of the present state of utilization with the emphasis on the groundwater resources could be very questionable. In the Middle East, for example, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Territories (The West Bank and Gaza) have a combined population of nearly 42 million. Of these people, an estimated 41.5% rely on transboundary streams and 52% utilize springs, wells and rivers supplied by local precipitation. The remaining 6% turn to water pumped from deep wells. At present time, these water supplies are being taxed to their limits. it is the point of view of the author that we should consider ancient integrated systems as sustainable ones.