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The Utilization of Water Resources for Agriculture in Syria: Analysis of Current Situation and Future Challenges

In Syria and until fairly recently, emphasis has been put on the supply side of water development. Demand management and improvement of patterns of water use has received less attention. Water managers and planners have given high priorities to locating; developing and managing new water resources. The aim was always to augment the national water budget with new water. The most popular way of achieving this aim was to control surface flows by building new dams and creating multi-purpose reservoirs (there are now around 160 dams in Syria with a total capacity of 14 BCM). Irrigation schemes were also built and agricultural activities were expanded greatly to achieve self-sufficiency in essential food products and food security. Over the years, however, the most attractive alternatives for the development of water resources infrastructure have already been implemented and, it is hard to think of feasible alternatives for a further increase in supply. In addition, the cost of developing less accessible water is high and time consuming. Therefore, the emphasis is now to be shifted and a new vision on the utilization of water resources for agriculture is to be valorized. This paper provides a brief background on water supply and use in Syria, describes the pressure on water resources for agriculture, analyses key issues and constraints facing this sector, and proposes a set of recommendations for efficient utilization.
M Salman, W Mualla 
IPTRID, AGL, FAO, Rome, Italy
Domains-Issue Area: 
Industry Focus: 
Food & Agriculture
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