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About UNEP
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United Nations Environment Programme
Division of Technology, Industry and Economics
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Newsletter and Technical Publications
<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

2. Asia (West)

2.0 Introduction

Most of the countries of the western Asia region lie in the arid to semi arid zones and are considered as countries with scarce water resources. With few exceptions, the per capita share of water for all purposes are less than 1000 m3/capita/year which drops to less than 200 in some countries. Associated with that is the predominant dry and desert ecology which has a profound impact on water consumption, human settlement and socio-economic development of the region. This, of course, will have a significant effect on the volume of per capita production of wastewater and its physical, chemical and biological characteristics.

In terms of their approach to wastewater and stormwater management, it is useful to characterize these countries with respect to their socio-economical development and standard of living. They range from oil producing countries which enjoy growth and prosperity to poor countries; some of them being among the least developed countries. In spite of that, most countries share common problems such as high population growth, rapid urbanization and severe water shortages.

In view of the above and based on their health status and their water supply and sanitation services, the countries of this region can be classified under three groups. Group 1 includes Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Palestinian territories; Group 2 includes Jordan, Oman and Bahrain; and Group 3 includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE). This classification is based mainly on sanitation services provided to their communities and the level of treatment facilities. It coincides also with standards of living and Gross National Product (GNP). The latter affects to a high degree planning and management of wastewater collection and treatment.

In the last 30 years, the region has witnessed a rapid urbanization with unprecedented growth in their cities due to high rate of population growth and the large-scale migration form rural to urban areas. The population pressure has put a severe load on city services and has stretched city resources to a limit where they could not adequately respond to demands. As a result city authorities were unable to provide the necessary infra-structure and basic services specially for secondary cities. Their priority has been basically in providing residences with water supply whereas the provision of sewage and stormwater scheme has been given second priority. The exception, of course, are the very rich oil producing countries.

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