Vanishing Water Landscapes in the Middle East

On 11 June 2014 Francesca de Châtel successfully defended her PhD thesis on water in Syria. The Jordan River has been reduced to 2% of its historic size and is heavily polluted. Across Syria, rivers are shrinking, springs have dried up, and the desert is spreading. The water crisis in the Middle East, the most water-scarce region in the world, is rapidly worsening, yet decision-makers appear unwilling to acknowledge its severity and water remains low on the political agenda. How can this gap between the reality of growing scarcity on the ground and the continued illusion of plenty be explained? 

2014.06.11 De ChatelThis is one of the key questions Francesca de Châtel explores in «Vanishing Water Landscapes in the Middle East», a study that combines extensive study on the ground in pre-conflict Syria and across the region with historic data to show how high population growth, overambitious agricultural development projects and uncontrolled water use over the last 60 years have irreversibly disrupted the Middle East’s fragile ecological balance.


acrobat icon Vanishing Water Landscapes in the Middle East


» Article (in German) in Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Die Rache der Verelendeten

» Article (in French) in Le Monde: La thèse qui associait sécheresse et guerre syrienne