The regional water problems in MENA countries are rather universal, vary in intensity and impact, but share common problems in water scarcity, poor investment in water services to the poor, and limited coverage in water supply and sanitation. The priority challenge in this region is to extend basic water services to the millions of households, especially in the rural areas. MENA countries have expanded water supply to most citizens, and allocated substantial investment in the sector which is under risks because of increasing variability and scarcity of water supplies. In most countries, there is no room for expansion of traditional water resources which in most cases have already been committed. Risky and expensive investment is now needed to develop non-conventional water resources including desalination, deep water aquifers, and wastewater treatment.
The Further Advancing the Blue Revolution Initiative (FABRI)—implemented by DAI—worked closely with USAID to launch and strengthen the Middle East and North Africa Network of Water Centers of Excellence (MENA NWC), a regional association of research and educational institutions. Collaborating on applied research with governments, businesses, and civil society organizations, MENA NWC is addressing shared challenges in the water sector using locally appropriate scientific, technological, and management solutions. The value added of this Network is to synthesize and share regional knowledge and experiences about these issues to guide investment and enhance the efficient management and equitable allocation of water resources through responsive water policies and pricing.
In Africa, FABRI joined with the African Water Association (AfWA) in an ambitious first continent-wide program to halt the constant creep of higher water-loss levels. FABRI and AfWA are working with 19 national and city water companies and state water boards in 16 countries to improve financial, economic, and operating efficiency, including development of association business plans, non-revenue water initiatives, capacity building, and communications and knowledge sharing programs.
The Network implemented the above themes through: