Director of the Center for Environment and Development of the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE) Khaled Abu-Zeid, stated on Friday that around 63 million people in the Arab world are deprived of clean drinking water and that 79 million lack safe sanitation services.
He explained that a water situation report revealed that urban encroachment on agricultural areas amounted to about 188,000 hectares, leading to the replacement of water use consumed in agriculture, estimated to have been one billion cubic meters annually, to household usage estimated at 1.7 billion cubic meters.
Abu-Zeid warned that climate change has led to the frequency of severe incidents such as floods, whose effects are exacerbated by unplanned urban expansion.
The Arab Water Council issues a jointly periodic report with CEDARE on the water situation in the Arab region every three years, he added.
In a speech for the occasion of World Water Day, Abu-Zeid that the United Nations is setting a theme every year, with year’s theme being “Leave No One Behind.”
Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawky Allam said during the World Water Day occasion that Islamic Sharia urges the rationalizing of water consumption.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm