From: Omar Naje, SciDevNet, More from this Affiliate
Published October 25, 2010 08:54 AM

Yemen's capital 'will run out of water by 2025'

[SANA'A, YEMEN] Water shortages in Yemen will squeeze agriculture to such an extent that 750,000 jobs could disappear and incomes could drop by a quarter within a decade, according to a report.

Poor water management and the enormous consumption of water for the farming of the popular stimulant khat are blamed for the predicted water shortages, which experts say could lead to the capital Sana'a running out of water by around 2025.

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The report was produced by McKinsey&Company, an international management consulting firm, which was charged by the Yemeni government with identifying ten governmental priorities for the next decade. A preliminary draft of the report was released last month (24 September).

Yemen has no rivers, so the main sources of water are groundwater and rain. The study warns that almost 90 per cent of the country's available freshwater is used for agriculture.

"Sana'a, the Yemeni capital, located 2,150 metres above sea level and 226 kilometres from the Red Sea shore, is facing depletion of its main groundwater basin," said Mohamed Soltan, a hydrology expert who manages the city's groundwater basins. "Sana'a will be the first city in the world to run out of water by 2025."

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