Prepared by the researcher: Dr. Rana Al-Sayed Abdel Latif – researcher interested in political affairs and climate change
Democratic Arabic Center
The issue of water and the water crisis in the world is of great importance, and many universities have vacated specialized professors to conduct future studies due to the seriousness of the situation during the next fifty years, and the wars that may occur because of water, until they called it the war of the future, and those who look deeply into the march of human civilizations It is noted that most of them originated near the banks of rivers or water sources in general, as water played an important role in the course of human life and the emergence and progress of civilizations.
If we look at the situation of water in the world, we notice that about 80% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, and the fresh water found in the interior of rivers and lakes suitable for human use does not exceed 1%.
The issue we are dealing with is the subject of the upcoming conflicts in the world over water and its sources, and thus the issue of water security for every nation in the next fifty years. There is no doubt that the expected water crises will be among the risk factors that scientists expect will lead to wars, because the water crisis is defined as The imbalance that occurs in the balance between renewable and available water resources compared to the increasing demand, which is represented by the emergence of a deficit in the water balance and is called (the water gap). It has been agreed that any country whose average per capita share of water per year is less than (1000-2000) m3 is considered a country He suffers from water scarcity.
Regarding our Arab countries, there are 13 Arab countries that fall within the category of countries with water scarcity. These countries are the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia) and the Maghreb countries (Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritana). In addition to Jordan and Palestine, we note that water scarcity is worsening due to high population growth rates if we compare the average per capita share in 1960, which amounted to 3430 m3 and the average per capita share in 2025, which will reach 667 m3, i.e. a decrease of up to 80%.
The concept of water security:
Water security is the amount of good, suitable water for human use available in a way that meets different needs in quantity and quality, while ensuring that this sufficiency continues without impact. This can be achieved through proper use of available water resources, developing tools and methods for this use, in addition to developing water resources. current, then search for new resources. On the other hand, the concept of water security is linked to the concept of food security, as they both lead to each other, since water is essentially food, and the lack of quantities of water suitable for human use leads to harm to food security, and then to the national security of countries, as a result of individuals and institutions relying on water in all areas. Business.
The concept of climate change:
Climate change is a disturbance in the Earth’s climate with a rise in the planet’s temperature, a significant change in the nature of natural phenomena with a tendency to violence, and a continuous deterioration of vegetation and environmental diversity.
The phenomenon of climate disruption finds its explanation, according to a number of scientists, in the rise in temperature of the oceans and atmosphere at the global level and over many years. Most of the studies completed in this regard attribute the phenomenon of climate change to a number of factors, most notably industrial activity and the toxic gases it produces that accumulate in the atmosphere, severely affecting the Earth’s temperature regulation and the succession and balance of environmental phenomena.
The impact of climate change on water availability:
Climate changes will have significant impacts on ecosystems, ways of life, and development in the world, through changes in weather patterns, whether daily, seasonal, or annual, through unusual phenomena and events, especially changes in temperatures, amounts of rainfall, sea levels, and tidal fluctuations, in addition to the occurrence of Storms, floods, and drought. These changes vary in severity from one country to another.
Studies and reports in some countries show an increase in average temperatures and annual rainfall, as well as an increase in sea levels and the frequency of occurrence of storms affecting stability, life and natural systems, as this is often observed in estuarine and coastal areas.
There are several practical measures that can be taken in preparation for any climate changes, and decision makers can also be urged to take specific steps to mitigate and adapt in preparation for these changes. How we utilize water and energy resources is one of the most important actions to take. Improving our water and energy management will prepare us to be resilient in the future. Understanding and knowing our available water resources, their sources, and methods of management will lead to adopting sustainable methods for exploiting water, providing more flexible and efficient water distribution systems, and thus optimal investment in the infrastructure for their use, with the aim of improving access to water and reducing the risks of climate change.
Major changes in the water cycle in nature (hydrological cycle) as a result of climate change include:
- Changes in seasonal distribution and amount of precipitation.
- Increase in rainfall intensity in most cases.
- Changes in the balance between snow and rain.
- Increased evaporation and decrease in soil moisture.
- Changes in vegetation resulting from changes in temperature and precipitation.
- Subsequent changes in land resource management.
- Accelerated ice melting.
- Increased inundation of coastal areas and loss of wetlands from sea level rise.
Huge dangers on the way:
An additional risk to water security comes from climate change. The world is witnessing unprecedented warming, and temperatures are now about 0.5 degrees Celsius higher than their average levels during the period between 1961-1990. Climate change is already affecting water resources around the world. It led, for example, to an increase in average sea level by 1.75 mm annually during the second half of the twentieth century, and caused a widespread retreat of non-polar glaciers, reducing the flow of water in the dry season, and increasing the temperatures of lakes and seas.
Solar energy trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases drives the hydrological cycle, and any increase will lead to a significant intensification of the cycle, changing rainfall patterns and exacerbating extreme events such as droughts and floods. Currently, the effects of climate change on water security can be seen. Globally, the area of land classified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as “very dry” has more than doubled since the 1970s. This was accompanied by greater rates of flooding in areas located in the mid- to high-latitudes, and longer and more frequent drought seasons in parts of the continents of Asia and Africa, as well as the El Niño phenomenon, which became more frequent and severe, all of which combined to change the balance between the availability of water resources and the demand for them. .
Water security in the developing world is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, partly because their locations mean that these nations feel the brunt of climate change, partly because their low incomes and weak institutional capacity limit their ability to adapt to changes in water supplies, and partly because they depend on It strongly affects water-based industries, such as agriculture. In Africa, rising temperatures, increased evaporation, and low rainfall rates have combined to reduce water flow by up to 40% in many major rivers and have caused recurring droughts in the Horn of Africa.
United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was appointed by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program to provide an objective source of scientific information. The year 2013 provided more clarity than ever before about human-caused climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its Fifth Assessment Report, which examined the science of climate change and reached a definitive conclusion that climate change is a reality and that human activities are the main cause of it.
Fifth assessment report
The fifth report provides a comprehensive assessment of sea level rise and its causes over the past few decades. It also estimates accumulated CO2 emissions since pre-industrial times, and provides a budget for future CO2 emissions to limit temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Nearly half of this maximum emission had already been generated by 2011. Thanks to this team, this is what we know:
Average global temperatures rose by 0.85°C from 1880-2012. The oceans became warmer, the amounts of snow and ice decreased, and sea levels rose. The average global sea level rose by 19 cm. The oceans also expanded due to rising temperatures and melting ice from 1901-2010. The extent of Arctic sea ice has shrunk in every successive decade since 1979, with 1.07 x 106 square kilometers of ice lost each decade.
Given current concentrations and ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases, the end of this century is likely to see an increase of 1-2°C in global temperatures above the 1990 level (i.e. about 1.5-2.5°C above the pre-industrial level). The world’s oceans will continue to warm and ice will continue to melt. Average sea level is expected to rise by 24-30 cm in 2065 and 40-63 cm by 2100 compared to the period 1986-2005. Most aspects of climate change will continue for centuries even if emissions stop.
There is disturbing evidence of important shifts, which will lead to irreversible changes in the planet’s major ecosystems and climate system, if they are not already reached or surpassed. Ecosystems as diverse as the Amazon rainforest and the Arctic tundra may be approaching thresholds of radical change through rising temperatures and drought. Mountain avalanches portend a serious decline, as will the effects of reduced water supplies in the drier months, which will have repercussions that transcend generations.