The Middle East and North Africa is one of the most water scarce regions on the planet. Population growth and increasing demands for food, housing and jobs place extreme pressures on water resources. In addition, limited rainfall and declining groundwater make the region susceptible to the effects of climate change. Improved water management is critical as disputes about water may exacerbate political tensions. The first step for sound water decision-making and management is an accurate understanding of the location and availability of water resources. Obtaining verifiable water data remains a challenge in the region due to the costs of data collection and analysis, and the lack of uniform, comprehensive data management and decision-support systems. OMEP promotes improved access to better data, and the decision-support systems necessary to interpret the data, leading to better management of water resources, and increased adaptability to climate change.
OMEP develops innovative remote sensing and hydrological modeling tools that monitor the availability, agricultural efficiency and equitable use of water resources, and allow water managers to make better water allocation and investment decisions. Future activities may include providing water managers with training and certification opportunities, and developing institutional cooperation and mentorship arrangements between the region’s water and wastewater utilities, in order to improve the efficiency of service delivery, promote experience sharing, and support regional research promoting more efficient water use.
Impacts achieved by USAID in the region include:
- Installing and fine-tuning climate change, hydrological analysis and atmosphere monitoring systems at the Centre Royal de Teledetection Spatiale in Morocco, allowing the government to make use of NASA satellite data to better manage water resources and plan for climate change.
- In coordination with Jordan’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the US Geological Survey, using ground measurements to calibrate NASA satellite measurements resulting in models which measure and monitor aquifer levels nationwide.
Last updated: March 24, 2014