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Yemen is moving towards a water strategy-

Date: 11/8/00
Time: 2:28:04 AM
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Yemen is moving towards a water strategy- A report document of the World Bank

Under the heading "Yemen towards a strategy for water resources", this report is actually derived from document number Yem/15718 published by the World Bank in August, 1997.

The "Report" indicated that in 1995; and with the participation of the Yemeni government and some state donors; the World Bank; i.e. International Development Authority (IDA), under took the initiative of sending a "Special World Mission "for reviewing the water sector and preparation of the main factors and/ or fundamental related to the formulation of a strategy. This undertaking had been taken in response to a request by the Yemeni government and through the support of UNDP.

In December 1995, the World Bank submitted to the two requesting parties, i.e Yemen's government and donors, the initial proposals, recommendations and other relative data. On the basis of such papers and successive discussions and dialogues, a draft report had been then prepared and sent by the Bank on August 31, 1997 to the government of the Republic. It was a comprehensive report made on the basis of field studies and visits to some Yemeni districts and provinces.

This report also included several simple, but practical, recommendations meant to be directed mainly to the beneficiaries in the water sector, and to their foreign partners. Those are particularly constituting the multi-lateral group of state's donors been specifically chosen to contribute for the water sector in Yemen. Its also indicated that these recommendations shall assist in formulating one overview of common-basis needed for adopting a national strategy for water. Eventually it would contribute towards overcoming the water crisis in Yemen!


The total annual renewable water resources are estimated 2,1 billion cubic meters. Considering the total resident population 14 million, then the available for every individual person is annually 150 cubic meters. This is very much less compared to the average share of the quantity (125 cubic meters) that is obtained by the individual living in any other country of the Middle East and North Africa. On an international scale, it should also be compared with the annual consumption of the individual's household needs estimated at 7500 cubic meters! Thus, it is very clear to indicate that Yemen is suffering from scarcity of water.

In addition, such resources are in irregular supplies as 90% of the population do obtain only 90 cubic meters per annum! It is also to be noted that 60% of these renewable resources (about 1,3 billion cubic mteres) are derived from the water of the low-bed basins undnearth the ground level.

Water withdrawal:

In 1994 the total quantity used by the population of Yemen had been estimated 2,8 billion cubic meters. This means that the total withdrawn came 0.7% more than the available resources. The ground level resources in Yemen are mostly exploited in many parts of the country, thereby learning that of the underground also liable for exploitation, and to the extent that exceeds their level of regular replensihment. The estimated figures confirm that in Yemen there are 45 thousand privately-owned water- supply wells (pitches, or, digs), as well as, 200 mounted rigs. The various efforts of Yemeni government failed to bring-up a regular control on these wells and rigs.

The most effected areas:

The western parts are the most affected by this problem of water resources i.e the mountains, plateaus and coastal plains of Yemen. These regions, about 75% of the population of the Republic are resident. In 1994, the exploited under ground's water amount were estimated 1,8 billion cubic meters, whereas the annual renewal capacity that came as replacement of that annually exploited was estimated 1,1 billion. This left a reserve amount left for usage been estimated 35 million cubic metes, for all areas of the western territories. Thus, if the same proportion of consumption were to continue at that rate, the whole amount shall vanish within a period less that 45 years. The situation is even more critical within the low-bed basins and highlands of the western uplands, where the population density is having its worst impact on the resources. On Sana'a basin alone about 10% of the population are dependable. The total amount extracted in 1994 alone came around 224 millions of cubic meters. On comparison with the estimated replenishment expected annually, the exploitation had been found 400% more! Thus the water hasins of Sana'a provinces are expected to be dried around the next ten years i.e. in the year 2004 A.D!

The only exception is the province of Hadramout where water resources have been estimated to last for a long period of time, but on the basis of the current quantities used by the resident population of the province.

The critical problems:

In some parts of Yemen, there are at present no water supplies for agriculture application e.g. Bani Khawlan valley situated near to Taiz province. In fact in 1995, the people of Taiz were not able to obtain water except within the average of once during every period of 45 days!

As for Sana'a, the two main resources of water supply i.e. the eastern and western fields, shall only produce too litre per second in the year 2008 A.D. This would not be sufficient for even a quarter of the population currently resident in the capital!

Negative affection the poor communities:

The poor community living in the urban territories of the Republic usually get their supplies of water from the private sellers (owners of water tankers) by paying much more than the middle and rich groups who may depend to a large extent on the supplies from the public net work of the government.

The poor in most rural regions negatively affected by the inadequate water supplies because they constitute around 80% of the total population. For about half the number of houses belonging to them, the regular water supplies reach a 49% proportion. Due to the water filthy-condition, and deterioration conditions of the sewerage systems, children of these poor sectors living in rural districts are often infected by this is one of the main reasons of having higher rates of children deaths. The statistical figures of the World Bank's report in fact mentioned that this sickness affects them at least seven times a year on average!

The Reports study further indicated that cases of deaths rise within the children group of 0-5 years in particular, due to the scarcity of supplying clean water to their houses, together with, absence of safe and regular flow of sewerage all around their regions of residence!


Reference: A report published by "Al-Thawabet" magazine, a quarterly periodical issued for the periodical issued for the period April-June 98 Source: Re-published by Al-Thowra daily newspaper, issue No. 12278 of Wednesday 24/6/98

Last changed: September 15, 2002