In many parts of the world, especially North Africa and in the Middle East, demand for water far exceeds supply. The average country in the area consumes approximately 2000 million cubic meters (MCM) of water annually with a natural supply of only 1700 MCM.
Today, the 300 MCM per country shortage is satisfied using electric pumps to tap underground water reserves or aquifers. This situation has the potential for environmental disaster. As groundwater is withdrawn, saltwater intrudes into the aquifer.
This intrusion greatly affects the groundwater quality and severely limits economic progress in that area of the world. The immediate future looks even bleaker. The population explosion coupled with diminishing fresh water supplies offers little hope for people in these regions and sets the stage for significant political unrest.
The countries of Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria depend on Lake Chad for their fresh water. Moreover, this body of water has experienced a population explosion along its perimeter. Competition for this precious resource has become intense. Competing needs of farmers and cattlemen has led to significant unrest. As a result of mismanagement, evaporation, pollution and international disinterest, Lake Chad has become a shadow of its original size. In fact, it has now less than 8% of its 1963 volume.