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    Water Shortages Hit Yemen


    by NTDTelevision

    While the West may fear al Qaeda, the Arabic nation of Yemen has its own concerns. The country is grappling with water shortages, with supply so scarce that people must wait in-line for it.

    Lining up for water in Yemen.

    While the West may fear al Qaeda in Yemen, on the ground there is a more basic concern: water.

    Water trader Mohammed al-Tawwa

    [Mohammed al-Tawwa, Water Trader]:
    "My well is now 1,300 feet deep and I don't think I can drill any deeper here."

    The problem is a simple one. More water is consumed than produced in Yemen.

    Anwer Sahooly is with the German development agency GTZ.

    [Anwer Sahooly, GTZ]:
    "If we (continue) like this, in 20 years Sanaa will be a ghost town."

    The crisis is worsened by excessive irrigation by farmers growing qat, a mild narcotic leaf that dominates life in Yemen.

    [Anwer Sahooly, GTZ]:
    "Almost 92 percent (of water) is used for irrigation, agriculture. Out of this about 50 percent goes for qat."

    With Yemen's population of 23 million expected to double in 20 years, some fear without major changes in policy, the water shortage could build into a crisis.