Water as the Oil of 21st Century!
Droughts, storms and floods
will cause us to notice atmospheric changes and the change in the
volume of water in our access.
Water can be regarded the oil of the 21st century. Access to water resources
is the main factor in development of the world economy and effectiveness of
government policies in the years to come. In fact, global shortage of water
resources threatens economic growth and leaves a negative impact on
geopolitical stability. We should accept that water in the years ahead will
be a very valuable commodity and can be the main factor for many domestic
and interstate conflicts; water crisis is the main crisis of the
twenty-first century and is the main factor that causes us to feel
Droughts, storms and floods will cause us to notice atmospheric changes and
the change in the volume of water in our access. On the other hand, drop in
the quality of drinking water is also a very serious problem that will
become apparent more than before due to the same water crisis. The important
point is that we live in a planet that has sufficient water resources but if
these resources are not protected and in absence of a proper management for
its consumption, a hard future will be awaiting us.
Although 70 percent of the Planet Earth is covered by water, only 2.5
percent of this water is fresh and safe while one percent of it is
available. Meanwhile, water meets a large part of the needs of the body and
without water even there is no possibility for human survival and for
production of other foodstuffs. It is expected that by the year 2025, half
of the world countries will be faced with shortage of water resources and by
the year 2050, over 75 percent of the world population would be witness to
International warnings indicate that 46 world countries with a total
population of 2.7 billion are at the risk of living in extreme dehydration;
Moreover, atmospheric changes and water related crisis have escalated the
possibility of violence in those countries and their conflict with other
In 56 world countries with a population of over 1.2 billion, the risk of
political instability has been forecasted. This shows that half of the world
population is faced with a crisis which requires high costs to encounter or
even eliminate. It is a crisis that has been created due to improper
management of the resources, which prevailed abundantly in the world in
previous decades. Of course, we should bear in mind that this crisis is seen
more in the Middle East and North Africa rather than other countries of the
world. Because these countries are in tropical areas and management of water
resources and wetlands in these regions is not done properly.
Therefore, water can be considered one of the scarcest resources available
on Earth and one of the most essential of them. On the other hand, this
slight volume of water in the world has not been evenly distributed and some
areas such as those in North America have high volumes of water while the
Middle East and North Africa do not have adequate water resources for
supplying their everyday needs.
Studies conducted by the World Bank show that countries in the Middle East
and North Africa are the world countries with the most water scarcity while
their population grows every day and for the shortage of financial
resources, they cannot take advantage of a great part of water industry
Therefore, water shortage in these countries has resulted in a cut in their
agricultural output and has endangered survival of human beings and animals.
According to the World Bank, five percent of the world population is
residing in these regions while only one percent of the water resources to
be restored in the world belong to these countries and this imbalance well
shows the situation the Middle East is facing today and what conditions it
will experience in future.
According to a report by the United Nations, 12 world countries with most
water scarcity are located in the Middle East and the average accessibility
to water in the Middle East and North Africa is 1200 cubic meters per
person, which is one-sixth of the average access to water in the world.
The average amount of water available to each individual a year ago was
equal to seven thousand cubic meters. Meanwhile, some of the countries of
this region have allocated the highest per capita consumption to themselves
and the scope of their problem broadens every day. It should be noted that
the Persian Gulf littoral states are experiencing the largest gap between
water supply from restorable resources and demand for water. For example,
Bahrain has used 220 percent of its renewable water resources while the
amount of consumption in Saudi Arabia is 943 percent and in Kuwait 2465
percent of the renewable resources.
On the other hand, atmospheric changes caused reduction of rainfalls to 20
percent and increased precipitation rate. Meanwhile, wetlands that play an
important role in water supply in the countries are rapidly degrading and
this high speed of destruction is more observed in tropical countries than
in other countries. Of course, absence of protection for wetlands and their
unprincipled use has escalated the speed of destruction, which can be
controlled contrary to the atmospheric changes.
However, this event is taking place and although the wetlands can be
classified as protected areas and their further destruction can be
prevented, until their renewed regeneration, a solution should be found for
Commenting on this problem, the Foreign Policy journal wrote that the Middle
East has a big economic advantage and that is richness of this region in oil
and natural gas reserves. The Middle East has high oil reserves a great part
of which has been discovered and a large part has still to be explored. It
seems that politicians in these countries should export oil and with its
revenue should purchase the desalination technology or import fresh water
into their countries through piping or other methods agreed with their trade
This system can
be called ‘oil for water’, which in future is the only way to supply fresh
water to the Middle East. It is expected that up to that time, the price of
water in the world would grow considerably as its value for the continuation
of human survival and the survival of other creatures is not less than oil.