Me, Water, and MENA

My daily water intake  is 2,003 gallons per day and my household daily intake is 13,098 per day. I completely underestimated my personal and even household numbers for two main reasons. One, my two sisters and I don’t eat meat. Two, my family recycles all of our papers and plastics.

In a lot of ways, I think my family’s socioeconomic status acts as a double-edged sword. Living a sustainable vegetarian diet is only possible because I have access to a reliable grocery store with healthy meat alternatives and protein supplements. Also, we have been able to reduce our water footprint because of  our county’s recycling system – a privilege also afforded to us by socioeconomics and geography.

However, access to water also means there are areas in which I abuse and overconsume. My food intake and recycling put me under average but my overconsumption of clothing more than overcompensates for that. Quite honestly, before calculating, I wouldn’t have ever guessed that durables would have such an effect on water consumption. I believed diet, taking short showers, and turning the water off made me “eco-conscious”. I was more than wrong.

The MENA area I am studying, North Africa, is comparatively worse off than Gulf and Levant countries with respect to overall water access. Given the scarcity of the resource, there is potential that it will cause domestic skirmishes or small-scale conflict in the future. However, after a quick Google search on Morocco, I found that access to water has increased substantially over time thus, overall, access is positively trending. If I am to argue from the liberal IR camp, I would see Morocco’s increase in access due to their capability to use virtual water and other compensatory factors that make up for geography.