Crisis in West Asia

a study conducted by scientists from five countries including the us and Canada stated that Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities should work together to preserve aquatic eco-systems in the region. Fresh water supplies in the Middle East now are barely sufficient to maintain a quality standard of living, said Gilbert White, chair of the study committee and professor emeritus of geography at the University of Colorado, usa. The problem of sustaining fresh water resources was identified as one of the most pressing concerns facing the region.

The area is largely arid and receives less than 250 millimetre of rainfall annually, typical for a desert climate. But the total water use was estimated to be about 3,183 million cubic metres in 1994, and has been increasing steadily as economic and agricultural development continues. This increased water use, the committee said, guarantees that inhabitants will probably live under conditions of significant water stress in the near future. Many important sources of high-quality water in the region are deteriorating with urban development and agricultural use, the committee said. Some 97 per cent of the regions wetlands