Water scarcity is commonly seen in Middle East, while Yemen is a country faces most severe water shortage in Arab world, where people suffer from starvation, poverty, and waterborne diseases. Besides, insufficient water supply also intensifies regional conflicts, which makes the Yemeni more miserable.
This essay explores the possible measures that preserve the water resources in Taiz, Yemen.
·Demographically, according to figures in 2003, the population of Ta'iz city was 460,000, making it the third largest city in Yemen.
·Geographically, Ta’iz is a city in the Yemeni Highlands, near the famous Mocha port on the Red Sea, lying at an elevation of about 1,400 metres above sea level. Yemen is located in a dry and semi-arid region of the Middle East, where the average annual rainfall ranges from 500 to 800 mm in the high lands, 40 to 100 mm in the coastal areas and 50 mm in the desert areas (Al-Omari, 2008). Yemen has no perennial rivers. It relies on rainfalls and underground water.
·Agriculture is a major industry of Ta'iz, since the rainfall in this region is relatively high compared with other regions of Yemen. The economic base of Ta'iz is coffee, the qat (mild narcotic) and vegetables. Among the city's own industries are cotton-weaving, tanning and production of jewellery. Ta'iz is the largest industrial base in Yemen.
3.0 Presentation of options
Desalination makes new water source out of seawater.
In this case, we need to establish a desalination factory in a coastal city of Yemen, and lay pipelines to transport the water to Ta’iz.
3.2 Rainwater harvesting
Rainwater harvesting is a method to reuse the rainwater by accumulating and storing before it reaches the aquifer. This could provide water for drinking, for livestock, and for irrigation.
Give up water-consuming crops(qat) in agriculture (to import virtual water)
More than half of Yemen’s water is used to grow qat (or Khat).Qat is one of the major causes of the water crisis because the crop is sucking up most of Yemen’s groundwater. By giving up water consuming crops, the country will gain millions of litres of water.
4.0 Comparison of options
4.1.1 Cost of Desalination
Desalination, desalinization, or desalinisation refers to the process that removes some amount of salt and other minerals from saline water. ^ "Desalination" (definition), The American Heritage Science Dictionary, Houghton Mifflin Company, via dictionary.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-19.
The desalination method in this case includes two steps: the first one is to desalinate seawater in a nearby costal city; the next step is to transport the desalinated water from the coastal city to Ta’iz.
The desalination technology has long been an option for the high-income countries of the region, but recent advances mean that it is becoming increasingly viable for poorer countries.
Thanks to the advances in technology, production costs for desalination have dropped in recent years. In 1999, the average price of desalinating water was US$1.0/m3, while the price fell to between US$0.50/m3 and US$0.80/m3 in 2004 (World Bank and BNWP 2004). For some large plants, the cost of desalination can be reduced to US$0.44/m3, though these costs may be distorted by energy subsidies, soft loans, or free land (Bushnak 2003).
Bushnak, Adil, 2003. Presentation to the 3rd World Water Forum. Kyoto, Japan.
World Bank and BNWP (Bank –Netherlands Water Partnership), 2004. “Seawater and Brackish Water Desalination in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia: A Review of Key Issues and Experience in Six Countries.” Working Paper No.33515, World Bank, Washington, DC.
Still, desalination is more expensive than most conventional sources when they are readily available, the technology often costs less than exploiting conventional sources when major investments such as interbasin