Urban Water Challenges in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region: Integrating Islamic Principles with Demand Management Strategies
Chapter 7 of "Water Governance: An Evaluation of Alternative Architectures" (eds. A. Gunawansa and L. Bhullar, 2013)
Posted: 17 Oct 2013
Date Written: May 1, 2013
This chapter explores the evolution of urban water governance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and specifically consider the historical role that Islam has played in developing state- centered, centralized water ministries in the region. Based on the nature of water availability across the MENA region, the chapter examines how water scarcity has fostered supply- centered policies, the role of new technologies for augmenting supply and the potential impacts of climate change. Moreover, the recent trends in urban water utility reforms that rely on demand management principles, which promote greater decentralization, private sector participation and increasing tariffs as a way to promote financial viability and foster water conservation,have been highlighted. It has been suggested that urban water reform cannot be understood without considering the role of agricultural water management. Finally, the chapter presents a case study of Saudi Arabia, a hyper- arid country that has made significant progress in reforming its urban water governance framework, but still faces significant challenges in developing a sustainable water management strategy.
Keywords: water governance, demand management, right of thirst, Middle East, North Africa
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