Under the premise that water scarcity is inherently multidimensional, and not limited to unique physical dimensions, integrated composite indices such as the Water Poverty Index have been developed, going beyond traditional hydrological measures. In this paper we discuss the evolution of these indices, and propose to evaluate the method of their calculation through the use of Principle Component Analysis (PCA). On this basis, this paper assesses levels of water poverty for countries in the MENA region. In particular, we compare oil-rich and water-poor countries (Gulf States) with those, which are relatively water-rich yet, money poor (East African states). We use this approach too to examine and understand some of the regional water-related conflicts including those between Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia and Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
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