Freshwater: West Asia

The Arabian Peninsula is characterized by an arid climate with annual rainfall of less than 100 mm. There are no reliable surface water supplies. The subregion depends entirely on groundwater and desalination plants to meet its water requirements. Large increases in demand have placed the meagre resources available under increasing pressure. The Mashriq sub-region is mostly arid and semi-arid. About 70 per cent of the sub-region receives less than 250 mm of rain a year. The Mashriq has two shared rivers originating outside the area, the Euphrates and Tigris, and many smaller ones. Agreements or understandings about how to share these water resources have been reached among Arab countries but agreements over the Euphrates are yet to materialize between Iraq and Syria on one side and Turkey on the other.