28 July 2015

The Strauss Center’s Middle East Initiative on Water, Energy and Security was invited to present its research at the 2015 Sustainability of Engineered Rivers in Arid Lands (SERIDAS) Symposium in Hannover, Germany.  Christine Bonthius, a research assistant for the Middle East Initiative (that is led by the Strauss Center’s Ashley Moran) and a 2015-2016 Brumley Next Generation Fellow, presented the team’s work focused on the critical linkages between water scarcity and electricity production, as well as their impacts on human security in the Kingdom of Jordan and Iraq.

The SERIDAS project was initiated by Dr. Jurgen Schmandt, professor emeritus of the LBJ School of Public Affairs and distinguished fellow at the Houston Advanced Research Center. The 2015 SERIDAS Symposium brought together researchers from SERIDAS and other research initiatives like the Strauss Center’s Middle East Initiative to discuss the future status of arid, engineered river basins around the world under the mounting pressures of increasing water scarcity and water use, uncertain environmental and social conditions, and changing water policies.  The goal of the 2015 Symposium was to develop a common framework for assessing the sustainability of global river basins that would allow the SERIDAS research team to recommend management strategies for an individual river’s sustainable trajectory and compare the sustainability of rivers to each other.  During the four-day meeting, representatives from ten major river basins around the world determined that the sustainability of a river would be comprised of five thematic components: Society, Economy, Environment, Governance, and Security.

The Middle East Initiative’s work provided regional insight into how Jordan’s and Iraq’s energy and water sectors operate under, cope with, and respond to water shortages, political instability, and human needs, seeking to inform water management strategies.  Bonthius also spoke to the growing recognition that human security is a critical aspect in evaluating not only the sustainability of water resources but also the sectors that rely on water availability.

An overview of Bonthius’ presentation at the symposium is available in this summary poster here.

In a series of forthcoming briefs, the Middle East Initiative research team discusses the vulnerabilities within the Water-Energy-Security Nexus.  To learn more about the Strauss Center’s Middle East Initiative, please visit the program website here.

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