The River Jordan
notably the Nile and the Euphrates, cross national boundaries. Global warming
will add to existing disputes between upstream and downstream nations.
It has been reported that over half of the world's major aquifers are now
past their sustainability tipping points.
The river Jordan provides water to Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. Israel has
been accused of "stealing"
water, especially from the occupied West Bank. Gaza is starved of
fresh water due to the Israeli blockade. This adds to existing political tensions. Can promising new
techniques - desalinating sea-water by reverse osmosis - help to mitigate conflicts over water?
Some scientists predict that by 2100, global warming may cause sea levels to rise by at least
0.2 metres and possibly by as much as 2.5 metres. A rise of just half a metre might be
enough to inundate the Egyptian cities of
Port Said and Alexandria. An increase of a metre would cover a quarter of
the Nile River Delta, the country's breadbasket. This could uproot
six million Egyptians, in addition to millions more migrating from parts of the Sahel.
The civil war in Syria was precipitated by a catastrophic drought causing agricultural failure
and forcing families to flee from the countryside into urban areas. Rising food prices brought
the Arab Spring into Syria; Bashar Al-Assad responded with violence.
Drought, leading to starvation and cholera, helped to precipitate the Houthi rebellion in Yemen.
The situation has since been worsened by bombing and blockade.