The Arab region faces a diversity of water challenges that need coordinated actions if water security is to be achieved. In light of such existing water deficit, the use of non-conventional water has become an irreplaceable strategic option. From here the idea of initiating an Arab Non-Conventional Water Resources program was triggered by the Arab Water Council (AWC) to address the above challenges towards a secure Arab water future.
Scope of Work:
In accordance with AWC strategy, several major activities were initiated, with special focus on the Sustainable Development Goals. One of the main activities was the launching of an "Arab Non-Conventional Water Resources Initiative" which builds on and complements other regional programs, particularly the Arab Water Security Strategy (2010 – 2030) and the FAO Water Scarcity initiative.
Within this context, six policy briefs were prepared including: (1) Sustainable development of non-conventional water resources in the Arab region; (2) Desalination prospective; (3) Agricultural drainage water reuse; (4) Reuse of treated wastewater; (5) Sustainable brackish groundwater use; (6) Water harvesting.
• The future of “Arab Water Security” will largely depend on the development of non-conventional water resources.
• Desalinated water capacity will need to expand several folds by 2025.
• Reuse of treated wastewater and agricultural drainage water hold a great potential to reduce the gap between water supply and demand.
• Brackish groundwater can be utilized for municipal, industrial, aquaculture and for restricted irrigation of high salinity-tolerant crops.
• Improving water harvesting techniques requires efficient management, capacity building and good governance.
Developing an enhanced Policy Framework is recommended, as well as creating a legal and institutional enabling environment, technical capacity building, environmental and socio-economic considerations, and financial measures, among others.
The proposed action is to build up NCWR-related portfolio of projects which could be further supported for soliciting financing through local, regional and international funding institutions.
Establishing a Regional Learning Alliance (RLA) could be the regional core of this work in support of regional science-policy dialogues, knowledge exchange between countries, regional awareness on the benefits and risks of reuse, and stakeholders’ integration to a regional network of practitioners, all to speed up the adoption and replication of reuse solutions across the Arab region.