Water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which reliable water services can be delivered. Essentially, demographic growth, rapidly growing urban areas and economic development are putting unprecedented pressure on water, especially in arid regions.
But water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which reliable water services can be delivered. Essentially, demographic growth, rapidly growing urban areas and economic development are putting unprecedented pressure on water, especially in dry regions. Growing scarcity and competition for water stand as a major threat to future advances in food security and poverty alleviation, especially in rural areas.
“Coping with water scarcity” has been identified as one of the main flagship programme of the cooperation between Italy and FAO. The programmatic approach to tackle water scarcity has been organized in phases:
The first phase, “the comprehensive framework” is to provide decision- and policy-making bodies with approaches and principles and a general framework to formulate development strategies and monitor their implementation.
Phase 2, focuses on “the development of water audits in Africa” and is a logical continuation of the earlier mentioned phase. A Water Audit is one of the tools recommended in the comprehensive framework that can be applied on country or basin level. It provides a country administration or a river basin organization with a comprehensive methodology for assessing, analysing and reporting of the use of scarce water resources. On the supply side, the audit provides information about the water availability. On the demand side, it gives a detailed picture, on how the water is used, for which purpose, and with which value. A detailed assessment of agricultural water use, including its productivity, its value-in-use, and its efficiency during the water use process, gives countries handles to adapt water policies and improve water management plans for the future through strategic interventions to increase their capacity to cope with water scarcity.
Phase 3 of the programme deals with strengthening the national capacities of countries to cope with water scarcity. Since most of the Near East Region countries have already reached or even gone beyond water scarcity levels, this region is a good starting point to invest in national capacities to cope with water scarcity. Together with national and regional counterparts, phase 3 aims to strengthen national capacities to cope with water scarcity in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
The ultimate beneficiaries of the project will be communities, who will benefit from development programmes and interventions utilizing water for agricultural production more efficiently; the primary beneficiaries are national government institutions who will benefit, through a set of decision support instruments, of improved ability to manage available water resources.
Other beneficiaries will be donors, international and local NGOs, educational institutions and the private sector, all of whom will have access to improved decision support instruments forplanning, programming and implementing heir response to water scarcity.