Yemen is set to build its first desalination plant. The $300 million project is a response to growing water demand as the country’s natural water resources have become dangerously depleted.
According to Yemen Water and Environment Minister, Abdulsalam Razzaz Yemen suffers with “the most water shortages in the Arab region.” He pointed to Yemen’s increasing population growth rates and limited rainfall for the exacerbation of the country water crisis, noting that at its current state Yemen would soon be unable to sustain its supplies. Each Yemeni has access to only 140 m³ of water a year against the Middle East average of about 1,000 m³ per capita a year.
“The precarious water situation in Yemen can be better appreciated when you consider it is the only country in the world that uses groundwater for agriculture, industry and for drinking,” explained the minister. This has dangerously depleted Yemen underground water reserves, which cannot be replenished easily.
Experts have warned that the country was already beyond the point of safe return when it came to its water resources. Seawater desalination said the minister is a perfect solution, not only for Yemen but for the region as well as Yemen’s partners in the project will to benefit from the plant.
Razzaz confirmed that an agreement will soon be signed with the Saudi Fund for Development for the financing of the project. The plant will provide water for the provinces of Taiz, Lahj, Aden and Ibb. Within the next decade the desalination plant will also be able to supply the capital, Sana’a.