Impacts of Climate Change and Water Resources Management in the Southern Mediterranean Countries

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Professor, Department of Water Resources Modelling, INRGREF, IRESA, University of Carthage, Tunisia.

2 Professor, Department of Water Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Iran.

3 Researcher, GEOMAG (LR19ES07)/PRODIG (UMR 8586), University of Mannouba, Tunisia.

Abstract

This study seeks to assess the effects of climate change on the agriculture sector across a number of Southern  Mediterranean countries and evaluate relevant policy measures addressing these challenges for the region. Agriculture is dependent on land and water use, and key activity for rural populations over large areas in Southern Mediterranean Countries. Water resources are essential to a stable agricultural production, but also to the supply of growing cities. In this region, it is likely that the stress imposed by climate change to agriculture has contributed to the reduction water availability. Adaptation is a key factor that will shape the future severity of climate change impacts on food production. Food and nutrition security presents a significant challenge for these Southern Mediterranean countries. Agriculture, which accounts for 70 percent of all water uses, is increasingly required to ‘make its case’ for its share of water to enable food production and ensure food security. At the same time, the sustainability of agricultural water use is under increasing scrutiny. In recent decades, attempts to solve the growing water issues have focused on management issues without considering the governance dimension, and mostly on a sectoral basis. While successful in many ways, this approach seems to have reached its limits. This paper describes the first comprehensive assessments of climate change and its impacts in Eastern and Western Mediterranean Countries, covering different sectors, ranging from physical climate drivers as temperature and precipitation, to agriculture, forests, and from water resources to social impacts and policy evaluation. The evidence provided suggests the need for more effective adaptation measures for the agriculture sector across Eastern (Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine) and Western (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) of south Mediterranean countries. Southern Mediterranean Countries are affected by climate change. This is associated with increases in the frequency and intensity of droughts and hot weather conditions. Since the region is diverse and extreme climate conditions are already common, the impacts are disproportional. The impacts of climate change on Southern Mediterranean Countries water resources are significant. Climate induced changes in precipitation and air temperature lead to earlier timing of peak flows, greater frequency of flooding, and more extreme drought conditions. Rainfall in these countries is even expected to increase in winter, while decreasing in spring and summer, with a substantial increase of the number of days without rainfall. Anticipated regional impacts of climate change include heat stress, associated with poor air quality in the urban environment, combined with increasing scarcity of fresh water and decreasing water productivity in arid regions.
This study seeks to assess the effects of climate change on the agriculture sector across a number of southern Mediterranean countries and evaluate relevant policy measures addressing these challenges for the region.

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