“The major rivers of the Middle East, Euphrates and Tigris, are jointly shared among Turkey, Syria and Iraq” says Bulent Topkaya in his comprehensive paper on the water resources of the Middle East titled Water Resources in the Middle East: Forthcoming Problems and solutions for sustainable development. Topkaya mainly focuses on the rivers mentioned in the paper and explains how an adequate and good quality supply of water is essential for the survival and economic prosperity of the above-mentioned countries. Not only this but he explains that the Middle East is running out of unexplored and undiscovered water resources meaning that the availability of water for one user in the region means the lack of it for another in the same area.
Topkaya points out that it is this pressure on the use of water as a resource that has caused the difficulties that are observed in the present day. He also states that to make water more available to the users in the region often comes along with high costs attached to it and is not very feasible as such. Topkaya suggests an alternative approach to the problem i.e. demand management but this too needs a wealthy urban population which to an extent can be found in the Middle East. Not only this but the reduction in population growth could further help the cause of all those who are concerned about the kind of pressure that the community has to face with respect to water resources. For this purpose Topkaya demonstrates the existing situation in the paper and focuses on the conflict points between the states involved.
“Water is one of the reasons standing behind conflicts in the world and especially in the Middle East. The Jordan River system shared by Jordan, Israel, the Palestinians of the occupied territories, Syria and Lebanon is a major concern in Middle Eastern politics” was the observation that Mohammed Asheesh made in his paper on Management approach to Middle Eastern Water Resources and Services. Asheesh claims that land division alone is not enough to resolve this problem in the region and that more drastic yet effective measures will have to be taken in order to resolve the situation peacefully. He believes that water management is perhaps one of the most effective ways to deal with this issue given the circumstances in the region. The main reason for this solution of course is the limited water resources that can be found in the region.
His research basically aims at providing the parties involved in the conflict and the bodies responsible for the successful implementation of the proposed approach with cooperation support options that by using both technical and managerial tools can eventually improve the water supply situation in the Middle East. Not only this but Asheesh deals with different areas of water management such as management of water resources, management of the water supply networks, wastewater management, and water reuse. Examples of the tools with potential for improvement of water utility management include the efficient information exchange (information collection system and sharing of the information on water recovery techniques like, desalination, reuse techniques, etc.), institutional capacity building (establishment of effective institutional framework, development of financing schemes, monitoring systems, basis for continuous education of professional staff), management and wide introduction of modern technology .
The two papers more or less focus on the same area for a peaceful resolution of the increasing pressure over water resources in the region. Both papers support their theories with relevant facts and figures that have been extracted from reliable sources. However one feels that Mohammed Asheesh should have given more concrete solutions to the problem that the Middle Eastern community is faced with at the moment. Asheesh’s paper though supported by a lot of evidence from highly reliable sources still tends to be rather speculative thereby making one consider the usefulness of the solutions that he has mentioned. Furthermore, some of the steps that he believes should be undertaken do not come without the high costs that are attached to the projects.
Though one knows that the Middle Eastern population is wealthy to an extent yet one should also keep in mind that all people can not afford to pay the kind of money that is demanded for a project of this scale. The invariable rise in the tax rates would perhaps lead to internal conflicts which is, of course, the last thing that the people of the Middle East need right now. Thus Asheesh’s paper though well documented does seem to be focused on plans that may be highly unattainable. Similarly, Topkaya’s paper is based on water management and the idea behind the paper is the same: to use water management as an effective tool for sustainable development. His suggestions are also costly and fail to keep in mind that the Middle Eastern population may not be able to afford the kind of money that such a project requires. Still his paper does give some ideas as to how the problem may be solved without the use of expensive gadgets and unattainable goals that might only serve to heighten the tensions that prevail in the region.
The current research pertaining to water resources in the Middle East is more or less focused on water management and the way it can lead to sustainable development in the region. Some scholars have suggested that technical cooperation among the countries may perhaps be the only way to reduce tensions that exist in the region. Technical cooperation indeed seems like an effective way to resolve the water problems of the region. For one thing it would bring the heads of the states more closer and they will work at the same level to try and resolve the problems. Not only this but they will perhaps be able to realize the kind of similar issues that all these countries and may come up with strategies to cope with the problems that these communities face. Other writers have suggested substituting water in the Middle Eastern, which seems like a highly unfeasible solution to the problem.
There are a number of political and social implications of the resolution of this problem through mutual cooperation that of course will serve to strengthen ties between the countries and improve relations that at the moment seem to be considerably strained. The water resources have also had a serious impact on child health and this has been documented to a great extent by a number of scholars and researchers over the years. The quality of water has deteriorated in the region owing to the rapid increase in population in the Middle East. Large amounts of waste material have been dumped into the water that is a cause for concern for the authorities in the region. Given all the above research that have been mentioned in the academic essay, one feels that if the respective leaders of the countries put their heads together then surely they will come up with a solution to resolve the water crisis in the region.
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