News Column

Netherlands grants Yemen $4.9 million in aid

July 18, 2014

SANA'A, July 16—The Netherlands agreed on Monday to grant Yemen$4.9 million to finance a project aimed at managing water resources in the Sana'a Basin, according to the state-run Saba News Agency.

Part of the project will entail a study of Sana'a's water reserves. This will include an effort to determine groundwater replenishment rates, water consumption levels, and water usage for irrigation, according to Ali Al-Suraimi, head of the National Water Resources Authority.

The water level in the Sana'a Basin drops by six to seven meters annually, reflecting a rate of water consumption that outpaces replenishment. The gap between consumption and replenishment is estimated at over 1.5 billion cubic meters, according to Al-Suraimi.

He explains that the current agricultural irrigation system in Yemen is inefficient, contributing to unnecessarily high levels of water consumption.  

In its attempt to improve the sustainability of Sana'a's water management, the Dutch government is co-operating with the Yemeni National Water Resources Authority and other stakeholders like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The management of natural resources is one of the key elements in the FAO Yemen Plan of Action 2014-2018.

Yemen's acute water shortages and the problems they pose for food security threaten to feed into an already volatile political situation

In a 2010 report commissioned by the Yemeni government, analysts at US Consultancy firm McKinsey forecasted that if water use in the Sana'a Basin was not controlled and improved, the area could completely run out of water by around 2020.

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Source: Yemen Times

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