Yemen faces formidable freshwater management challenges. Devising policies for sustainable use and allocation of limited water resources is made difficult by substantial population growth, degrading environmental quality and uncertainty regarding possible changes in water availability due to climate change.

The authors use the Water Resources Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) software to evaluate water needs and scarcity for three case study areas in Yemen representing different ecological conditions (Sana’a, Sadah, and Aden City) under a range of scenarios that include potential climate change and adaptation strategies.

These management strategies, identified by stakeholder processes, have the potential to reduce vulnerability and build resilience. The modelled results suggest that current and predicted patterns of water consumption will soon fully deplete available supplies, and are a bigger driver of vulnerability than potential climate change for the region.

In the absence of new strategies to bring into balance water supply and demand patterns, results for all three case studies suggest the pressing water crisis will only worsen. Timely interventions, designed to build resilience to scarcity, are urgently needed.

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