World Bank Foresees Greater Economic Losses as Results of Climate-Induced Water Scarcity

World Bank’s 2021 report states that countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) water remains as a major problem of faced by millions of people. Being the most water-scarce region in the world, access to water, particularly clean, drinking water, could be lost as a result of climate-induced water scarcity already happening across the globe.

Ferid Belhaj, the WB Vice President for MENA said that it’s important that policy makers take actions in ensuring that water becomes an integral part of broader humanitarian development plans and discussions. Otherwise, the region will likely suffer from greater economic losses, currently estimated to reach rates ranging between 6% and 17% by the year 2050.

As it is, the MENA region is facing climate-related water scarcity considering that dozens of smaller cities in South Africa, India, Brazil and Iraq, just to name a few, are already experiencing day-zero water event as results of climate induced droughts. Although such events did not make headlines, they were mentioned in the WB 2021 report to underscore the need for drought-vulnerable countries to sustainably manage and preserve their water resources, particularly those located in the MENA region.

Solutions should include not only providing water, but also instituting long-term measures for addressing structural water issues like poor water quality, which the World Bank cited in its 2019 report.

Poor Water Quality Remains a Threat to Human Health

While desalination of seawater has been the most common method used by nations to satisfy the demand for water, the World Bank previously reported that the deteriorating quality of water has been affecting the health and well being of people worldwide. Although water supply improved theough advancements in technology, water contamination occurring at different points of distribution and storage, has been degrading the quality of water,

Water deemed as good quality and fit for human consumption, conforms with the internationally recognized standards set by the World Health Organization. The metrics include physical, chemical, biological and radiological attributes and composition.

Water that has been directly or indirectly contaminated by human or animal wastes is the most prevalent and widespread human health threat, particularly when linked to drinking water. Many local and international organizations conducted investigations on how such contamination occurs in piped water supply systems. Investigations led to the identification of storage tanks as the main source of contamination affecting the quality of domestic water supply.

Water storage tanks have been found to harbor several disease-causing pathogens. However, other studies show that user-practices also contribute to the degradation of the quality of water.

How User Practices Lead to the Degradation of Domestic Water Supply

Strong evidences gathered from several studies showed that some type of storage tank and/or user practices contribute to the degradation of water quality.

The material of the storage tank in which water supply is stored, as well as the length of time water stays in the vessel, can alter the physicochemical properties of the stored water.

Medical studies have found water tanks made from iron ore as harmful, while the use of fiberglass is also discouraged because the material permits algae and fungal growth. What European health authorities recommend are water tanks made from polyethylene materials.

Improper maintenance of water tanks can lead to microbial growth as microorganisms in the form of biofilms can make their way into water tanks. Proper maintenance involves optimal cleaning methods and frequency, in order to improve the quality of water stored in vessels.

The technology used in modern water tank cleaning allows for hands-free, automated systems that increase the efficiency of tank cleaning. In Jeddah, in which citizens have been complaining about the presence of parasites and other impurities coming out as tap water, building and home owners make sure to hire only the best tank cleaning company in Jeddah شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة