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|World Bank to Implement Big Water Projects in Yemen|
Article Date: August 11, 2008
On the frame of his participation in Water and Sustainable Development Show 2008, Water and Environment official at the World Bank (WB) Naji Abu Hatem told official media that preparations are underway for addressing water sector in Yemen through a project costing $360 million.
Abu Hatem noted that project will be jointly financed by WB at $90 million while the remaining sums will be secured by Britain, Netherlands and Germany, hinting that water issue is among the key challenges of the 21st century.
He as well warned against the dangerous situation of water in Yemen, especially under the inflated growth of population as well as the absence of social awareness regarding water use and rationalization.
Speaking of Mareb Historic Dam, Abu Hatem revealed that the dam was constructed without prior studies turning it into a storing center where 91 percent of its water was wasted, while only 9 percent was used.
He further mentioned that Yemeni farmers turned from rain-fed agriculture to agriculture dependent on irrigation. Thousands of water wells were irrationally dug and the irrigated lands have increased to reach now 440,000 hectares, instead of 30,000 hectares during the 1970s.
Such expansion in irrigated agriculture involved Qat, which needs constant water, whose plantation increased 16 times over a 30 year period, according to Abu Hatem.
He also revealed that WB is implementing five drinking water projects including urban drinking water project, 11 projects for the central cities, project for improving irrigation in Zabid and Tuban, rural area irrigation project and Sana'a Basin project.