After imputing my water usage habits on waterfooprint.org I found that I use 2,063 cubic meters of water per year or 5.65 cubic meters per day. While this was more than I expected I would be using due to being a college student who doesn’t have to worry about things such as gardening and washing a car and don’t have amenities such as a dishwasher, my daily water usage is still well below the national average. Being an American who isn’t from southern California, I am fortunate to have water readily accessible and aside from the relatively rare occasion that a drought occurs I don’t really have to worry about water.
This is compared to the global average which is just 4 cubic meters per day or about 1,460 cubic meters per year. Looking to the Middle East and North Africa one would expect this region to be well below the global average due to the low average rainfall as well as desertification and a lack of rivers in the region. However, this is not entirely the case. The majority of the nations in this region with the exception being Yemen, can be found above the global average in water use per year.
While this is surprising, it is understandable. The average developed nation or those often defined as “western” find the vast majority of their water supply domestically. The Middle East and North Africa on the other hand import up to 75% of their water supply. This is once again due to the lack of a sustainable water source in the region. The way that this is made possible is the result of the relative small populations compared to nations such as the United States and China, as well as their relatively large incomes due to hydrocarbon sales. This is most evident in nations such as the United Arab Emirates and other extremely wealthy nations with very small populations.
Looking into my personal water usage trends compared to those of the world and specifically the Middle Eat and North Africa has been an eye opening research opportunity. I didn’t realize how much water I used through sources such as food and other materials. There are always ways in which I could limit my water consumption and this is often taken for granted given the abundance of water here in America. I also had never before considered the amount of water the Middle East imported from outside sources. Due to such high levels of import of this resource it makes sense that regional relations with nations who do have this resource is of huge importance. The use of water in the region is yet another small element of the international relations and one more step in understanding the Middle East and North Africa.