Water insecurity in Yemen

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Issues of water scarcity in Yemen

Yemen is a arid country which suffers water stress. Demand for water for agricultural, industrial and domestic uses exceeds supply.  Half of the water of the capital of Yemen Sana'a, has been diverted to the production of the drug qat which is very popular in the country. However this drug requires a lot of water to produce and many farmers have turned away from traditional crops to grow qat as it gives them, more profit. This has caused problems in yemen as it means much water (which is a scarce and finite reource) is being irrigated to provide water for the drug. This irrigation is often managed badly meaning much is wasted leading to increased water insecurity. Officially farmers are supposed to ask permission to drill wells to get groundwater in order to irrigate crops however this often does not occur. Many farmers illegally drill wells and this often is not tackled efficiently by the government who will usually just offer a small fine. However the drilling of wells is seriously depleating water supplies of aquifers and  adversely affecting the citizens of Yemen.

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Effects of water insecurity

Only one in 5 households in Yemen have water suppied to their homes. Women and children in the majority of homes have to travel miles each day to fetch water. This has effects on the litaeracy rates of Yemen with the majoritry of children having to stay at home to featch water insetad of being in formal education. Women have few job prospects except from being in the home and collecting watre. As water becomes more scarce, these women and children will ahgve to travel further to find water taking even more hours out of their day.

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Potential management of water in Yemen

There have been proposals to move the capital Sana'a to Tez however these have been quashed by critics as Tez suffers water insecurity too. The best solution is to cut qat production however this is unlikley to occur as many of the top officials in Yemen use the drug and don't want production of it to stop. Also the incentives of profit are also high for farmers meaning that they are unlikeley to switch production to a less profitable crop. Desalination through reverse osmosis of sea water is an option however Yemen is a LEDC and does not have the resources or budget for this. Overall the future for water security in Yemen is bleak as there is little political will to solve the crisis neither any reources or money to implement any potential solutions.

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