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The population of the Middle East and North Africa is facing an imminent, severe water crisis, with a number of potentially disastrous consequences for the region. This water crisis—devastating in and of itself—also means food shortages and famine. Moreover, this additional pressure on the region’s most vulnerable is likely to increase or even begin large-scale conflicts and contribute to an already significant refugee crisis.
Approximately 60 percent of the Middle East and North Africa’s population already live in areas under severe water stress; if the current rates of land degradation continue, 8.3 million more hectares of arable land will be lost by 2020. Average water availability in the Middle East and North Africa has reached a mere 1,200 cubic meters annually.