Middle East Most Water Stressed Region
in the World
Join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AmCham MENA for BusinessH2O, a Middle East-focused water innovation summit on October 30th in Washington, DC. This conference will bring together business leaders, policy makers, and water experts to highlight major water projects across the region, public policies to meet the growing demand for water, and best practices in corporate water management.
Water is a vital resource for business and a critical input for economic growth and prosperity. However, the Middle East is the most “water-starved” region in the world and is expected to face huge economic losses from water scarcity. Addressing these challenges requires innovation in water management, strong collaboration with governments, and leadership in the business community.
Twelve out of the 17 most water-stressed countries in the world are in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to the 2019 World Resources Institute Global Water Risk Atlas.
The region is intensely hot and dry with a low water supply to begin with, and is facing growing water demands and complications from climate change that are expected to cause huge economic losses -- as much as 6-14% of MENA GDP by 2050 according to the World Bank. These countries consume 80% of their available water annually and are facing "day zero" conditions, meaning residents' taps are close to running completely dry.
Qatar is the most water-stressed country, followed by Israel, Lebanon, Iran and Jordan. Libya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea and the UAE round out the top ten.
While population growth, socioeconomic development, and urbanization increasingly threaten water supplies, there are areas where the MENA region has significant opportunity to boost water security, such as increasing levels of water reuse since 82% of the region's wastewater is not reused.Addressing the world's water challenges will require innovation in water management and leadership from the business community. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's BusinessH2O International Business and Policy Forum will work to tackle these issues in the Middle East by profiling major projects throughout the region and highlighting new technologies and poligy solutions that can be used to alleviate water shortages.