Water Security and Climate Change

Language: English

Nowhere is water more important or scarce than in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), a region that has less than 1.5 percent of the world’s renewable freshwater resources. Dramatically increasing demands on a limited, contested natural supply of fresh water, combined with changing climate, migration, and demographic trends, progressively stress this dwindling resource and further exacerbate tensions in and among communities and countries.

USAID’s Middle East Bureau is addressing these challenges through its Middle East Water Security Initiative to improve sustainable, long-term access to water for millions of people living in the region. We are working to expand water supply, manage demand, and increase its efficient and productive use through research and discovery, test and scale-up of practical innovations in water management, and leveraging funds from other development partners.

Our programming increases the supply of water, while decreasing demand, by engaging both international and local actors, including the private sector, civil society, and governments. We support dynamic entrepreneurs, researchers, and consumers with opportunities to develop, test, scale-up, market, and utilize “water-smart” technologies and increase awareness of and local ability to address water security challenges in target countries through behavior change and advocacy campaigns. All of the office’s activities expand participation and opportunities for women and youth and promote the use of science and technology in regional development. We also integrate climate change considerations across programs and ensure activities across the region adhere to environmental compliance regulations.

Examples of Our Work:

  • We supported the certification of more than 230 water operators – 25 percent of them women -- in regionally recognized professional certifications in water utility management.
  • The MENA Network of Water Centers, supported by USAID, creates powerful research alliances through 13 research programs involving 24 research centers that are driving innovations in water management.
  • We are developing a Regional Drought Management System that will initially include work in Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia.