Watering the future

History repeats, history rhymes and sometimes history regresses. Wandering through cities and fields in the Middle East and North Africa a thousand years ago, you would have been struck by the security of water supplies, the irrigation enabling highly productive farms and governance structure in place to allocate and value water in a sustainable way, supporting a flourishing civilization.

Today, the situation is very different. Leaking water pipes mean that some cities lose up to 40 per cent of their water before it even reaches users, extreme weather events damage farmers’ crops and, in some parts of the region, urban water systems are targets of armed conflicts.

So what led to this dramatic shift? As always, there are no easy answers but rapid changes in the economic, social, and environmental characteristics of the Middle East and North Africa have exacerbated existing water challenges. — blog.wb.org/blogs