The Middle East is one of the most water scarce regions in the world. Researchers have now found that a 20% reduction in water supply and changes in crop yields induced by climate change could decrease GDP by up to 10% across the region.
A team of economists at Purdue University has assessed the economic impacts of climate-change induced water scarcity and crop yields change for six Middle Eastern countries in a research report supported by World Bank Group.
Farzad Taheripour, professor of agricultural economics and lead researcher on the report, said in a statement: “Unless new and transformative policies for sustainable, efficient and cooperative water management are promoted, water scarcity will negatively impact the region’s economic prospects and undermine its human and natural capital.”
The researchers found that a 20% reduction in water supply and changes in crop yields induced by climate change could decrease GDP by up to 10% across the Middle Eastern region.
Furthermore, increased water scarcity could reduce labor demand by up to 12%, particularly within agricultural sectors, and lead to significant land-use changes, including the conversion of natural pasture and forest to cropland in areas that are less water stressed within each country.
The report outlined a number of policies that could be implemented to alleviate the impact on the region including enacting policies that encourage farmers in the region to use more efficient irrigation methods and provide incentives for all water users who choose to invest in water saving technologies and practices.
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