Women wash dishes using water from the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday, March 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
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Nearly half of 33 countries expected to face extremely high water stress by 2040 are in the Middle East, where surface water is limited and demand is high, said experts who ranked 167 nations.Thirteen Middle Eastern countries plus the Palestinian Territories are projected to face extremely high water stress in 25 years' time, and eight fell in the global Top 10: Bahrain, Kuwait, the Palestinian Territories, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Oman.Researchers from the World Resources Institute – who compiled the first index measuring competition for and depletion of surface water, such as lakes and rivers, each decade from 2010 to 2040 – said the Middle East is already probably the least water-secure region in the world.While political turmoil may be the top concern in the Middle East today, drought and water shortages in Syria likely contributed to the social unrest that stoked its civil war, the WRI experts said, as some 1.5 million people – mainly farmers and herders – moved to urban areas unable to provide enough jobs and services.
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