Yemen fact of the day

…the market price of water has quadrupled in the past four years,
pushing more and more people to drill illegally into rapidly receding

Here is the longer (and fascinating) story.  Basically the country is running out of water.  The article focuses on the fact that half of the Yemeni water supply goes to grow an addictive drug called qat.  Here is more:

…in the late 1960s, motorized drills began to proliferate, allowing
farmers and villagers to pump water from underground aquifers much
faster than it could be replaced through natural processes. The number
of drills has only grown since they were outlawed in 2002.

Despite the destructive effects of qat, the Yemeni government supports
it, through diesel subsidies, loans and customs exemptions, Mr. Eryani
said. It is illegal to import qat, and powerful growers known here as
the “qat mafia” have threatened to shoot down any planes bringing in
cheaper qat from abroad.

If you have never visited Yemen, and would consider such a trip, I urge you to do so.  The option value component of waiting for better times is dwindling rapidly.  I should add that:

1. The country cannot afford much desalination, and

2. The real problem with desalination is often pumping the “clean” water uphill and that is a major issue in mountainous Yemen.


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