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A Review of the 21st Century Challenges in the Food-Energy-Water Security in the Middle East

Center for Complex Hydrosystems Research, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(4), 682;
Received: 11 February 2019 / Revised: 23 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 2 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insights on the Water–Energy–Food Nexus)
PDF [6108 KB, uploaded 18 April 2019]


Developing countries have experienced significant challenges in meeting their needs for food, energy, and water security. This paper presents a country-level review of the current issues associated with Food-Energy-Water (FEW) security in the Middle East. In this study, sixteen countries in the Middle East are studied, namely Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Turkey, and the Arabian Peninsula (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen). Here, we conduct a comprehensive assessment to study and evaluate the emerging drivers of FEW systems in the region. The investigated drivers include water security, extreme events, economic growth, urbanization, population growth, poverty, and political stability. The results suggest that most of the studied countries are facing FEW resource insecurity or weak planning/management strategies. Our evaluation further revealed the current status of each country with respect to each factor, and suggested that climatic and socioeconomic factors have contributed to the subsequent stress on FEW resources, specifically on the water sector. In general, and with respect to the water-energy security, it was found that energy production in the Middle East is highly constrained by water deficiency, drought, and/or economic growth. The water-food security in the region is mainly affected by drought, water scarcity, population growth, urbanization, and/or political unrest. View Full-Text
Keywords: Middle East; FEW; security; water scarcity Middle East; FEW; security; water scarcity

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Hameed, M.; Moradkhani, H.; Ahmadalipour, A.; Moftakhari, H.; Abbaszadeh, P.; Alipour, A. A Review of the 21st Century Challenges in the Food-Energy-Water Security in the Middle East. Water 2019, 11, 682.

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