Array ( [lang] => en [alias] => vulnerability-due-to-climate-change-fr ) Vulnerability due to climate change

Vulnerability due to climate change the Arab Region, climate change is particularly an urgent issue. Most Arab countries are already facing water scarcity due to their arid and semi-arid climate, rapid population growth and high urbanization, huge water utilization in agriculture, etc. Therefore, climate change only enhances the water scarcity and makes it even harder to deal with. Climate change’s effects are very apparent in the Arab region, temperature and rainfall parameters have varied and extremes are becoming recurrent. Given that the region’s water resources are weak, climate change is making them even more vulnerable. read more

It is expected that the Arab region will see a 2-degree increase in temperature during the next two decades and a four-degree increase by 2100. The Arab Water Council is assuming a drop in rainfall of up to 25% by 2060, soil moisture will decrease by 10% due to severe evaporation – agricultural productivity will decline and the food security will be at risk. In fact, most countries have already seen their temperature rise during the past few years, for a region that is characterized by a high temperature, a 2-degree increase means a lot. Along with the general rainfall decrease, the temperature increase will induce drought episodes with an irregular manner, highest severity, magnitude and duration over the last decade.

Nonetheless, climate change causes flood disasters by affecting the whole hydrological cycle. In Algeria, rainfall has decreased by 10-35% since 1965 and with the rising water demand (for irrigation and for domestic use) groundwater tables are falling which makes their regeneration very low and difficult; in Saudi Arabia and along the Nile River, severe floods and landslides have been observed during the last few years. River flow is also expected to decrease by 20% in the Euphrates and 23% in the Jordan. Moreover, groundwater recharge is predicted to decline by 2100, in Jordan, it is expected to decline of 20 to 30%.

Furthermore, climate change is affecting food security. Water is a scarce resource and climate change makes it even scarcer. Agriculture will then face increased demand from evapotranspiration as well as shortfalls in supply. Therefore, it will affect basic goods’ production such as wheat and maize that are being imported. It is especially the case of Egypt, the country will face a high risk of food security given that it is expected to have a share of water per capita of 582m3  by the year 2025; which shows how scarce water resources are in Egypt.

Water resources in the Arab region are the most vulnerable assets the region has, with climate change’s impacts rising; important adaptation measures should be set up in order to deal with water scarcity and climate change.

The following table presents key findings on the vulnerability of the water resources and projected impacts in each Arab country as presented in their National Communications (NC) reports under the UNFCCC.




Vulnerability and projected impact of climate change on water resources in the Arab countries

Algeria (SNC, 2010)

  • The country will face a general drop in rainfall, going from 600 mm to 100-400mm ;
  • Groundwater storage will decline by 2050, from 70hm3 to 2.3hm3. It is also expected that groundwater will be fully exploited between the years 2031 and 2040 due to high water demand and low storage ;
  • Climate change is also going to affect the runoff. By the year 2050, runoff will decline by approximately 4.5 hm3 ;
  • Water demand (for domestic use and agriculture) will increase between the years 2006 and 2050. Distributed water is expected to reach 55 million m3.

Bahrein (SNC, 2012)

  • Groundwater is the water resource that is mostly affected by climate change;
  • Climate change will cause higher annual temperatures which will lead to higher levels of groundwater use in the agriculture sector and for domestic use ;
  • Sea level rise will majorly affect groundwater characteristics: seawater intrusion has been occurring and has led to groundwater quality’s degradation.

Comoros (SNC, 2015)

  • Most water flows dry out during the dry season and drought is exacerbated in most islands ;
  • Groundwater aquifers have not been charged during the year 2011.

Djibouti (SNC, 2014)

  • By the year 2050, rainfall will decrease by 4.4-11% ;
  • Temperature will raise by 1.7-2.1°C ;
  • Water volumes will decrease by the year 2050, evapotranspiration will increase and runoff will drop ;
  • Groundwater aquifers mostly rely on rain for their replenishment, with rainfall drop, groundwater storage will go from 11 625 000m3 per year to 10 348 000 m3 per year for the Djibouti aquifer; the Mouloud-Dadin aquifer’s storage will decrease from 2 515 694m3 per year and reach 2 238 968m3 per year ;
  • Water scarcity and climate change impacts are also contributing in desertification. 

Egypt (SNC, 2014)

  • In Egypt, the most vulnerable resource to climate change is the Nile River. It is very sensitive to rainfall changes and temperature variability. Based on Nile flows under sensitivity analysis, it has been shown that with 4°C warming and 20% decrease in rainfall, the Nile flows may decrease by 98%. These reduced rates in Nile flows will limit the economy’s ability to cope will all development activities especially agriculture ;
  • Sea level rise will affect groundwater aquifers in the Nile delta. Increased salinity will lead to their quality’s degradation, making these aquifers unusable. 


  • National Communication non-available on the UNFCCC website.

Jordan (TNC, 2014)

  • In Jordan, the main climate hazard on water resources is the increase in temperature. The latter will induce an increase in evaporation, thus, groundwater recharge?s decrease and stream flows? reduction. Precipitation is expected to decrease which will lead to groundwater level decline and quality deterioration. Besides, droughts are often occurring and cause a huge increase in water demand.

Kuwait (INC, 2012)

  • The vulnerability assessment only concerned domestic sector water consumption.
  • Scenarios have shown that domestic water consumption will increase by 5%, reaching 1260 million m3.

Lebanon (SNC, 2012)

  • By the end of the century, precipitation is expected to decrease by 120 mm in Beirut, 390 mm in Daher-El-Baydar, and 242 mm in Zahleh ;
  • Renewable water resources available per capita will decrease by 6 to 8% ;
  • Increased temperature by 2% by 2100 will induce a considerable impact on snow width, density and volume. This increase will cause a decrease of 50% in snow width.


  • National Communication non available on the UNFCCC website

Mauritania (TNC, 2015)

  • Water resources are affected by climate change and will decline significantly (10 to 15%). It will induce :
  • Reduced runoff by 10% between 2000 and 2020 ;
  • Enhanced evaporation and water quality deterioration ;
  • Reduced water salinity in coastal areas ;
  • Decline in dams’ storage capacity ;
  • Warmer surface water with less oxygen.

Morocco (TNC, 2016)

  • Calculated projections have shown that water per capita will take a serious decline by 2020 and 2050. It is estimated to reach 491m3 per capita per year in 2050 and 279 m3 in 2080.
  • It is also expected that climate change will induce :
  • Increase in irrigation water demand due to temperature and evapotranspiration?s increase ;
  • Decrease in dams? storage capacity ;
  • Decrease in groundwater levels ;
  • Seawater intrusion in groundwater aquifers ;
  • Surface water?s quality deterioration due to wastewater thrown in lakes.

Oman (INC, 2013)

  • Rainfall is expected to decline by approximately 40%, going from 50-100 mm to 20-40 mm. It will result in groundwater recharge and surface water flows decreasing ;

Qatar (INC, 2011)

  • The current climatic conditions will have two main effects :
  • Desertification will increase ;
  • Water demand will raise. Since most water needs are met from desalination, the energy need will increase as well.

Saudi Arabia (SNC, 2011)

  • Temperature will increase by 5-6% ;
  • Precipitation will know variations across the kingdom by the end of the century ;
  • The National Communication mostly presented adaptation to climate change policies.


  • National Communication non available on the UNFCCC website

Sudan (SNC, 2013)

  • Water demand will have increased by the year 2050 and the Nile river flows will drop ;
  • Water storage will become inadequate to meet the high demand and the reservoirs will be completely drawn down.

Syria (INC, 2010)

  • Syria?s per capita share of water is expected to drop from over 1 000 m3 to 500 m3 in 2025 ;
  • Groundwater basins are experiencing deficits that are only enhanced with climate change ;
  • Temperature arising will induce snow melting, which will affect the Euphrates and Tigris? rivers stream. It will also impact water quantities stored in dams.

Tunisia (SNC, 2014)

  • It is expected that groundwater resources will decrease by 28% by the year 2030 due to seawater intrusion ;
  • Water surface will decrease by 5% by 2030.

UAE (TNC, 2013)

  • The National Communication has only presented the vulnerability assessment?s methodology.

Palestinian Territories

  • National Communication non-available on the UNFCCC website.

Yemen (SNC, 2013)

  • Yemen will witness an increase in temperature ;
  • Concerning rainfall, scenarios’ results have shown that rainfall will decrease by 23% and 27% in mountainous and coastal areas respectively according to one scenario. However, another scenario has projected an increase in rainfall by 5% and 9% in the abovementioned areas respectively ;
  • Generally, water availability is extremely sensitive to the projected changes in temperature and rainfall ;
  • Groundwater storage is nearly stable with about 1 to 2 cm drop in groundwater level.