Food and water are without a doubt two necessities for human survival. It is important to note that potable water is not the only form of water that is necessary. Water for agriculture is also very important because crops require water to grow. Despite the nature of water as the most abundant natural resource on the earth’s surface, its ability to sustain the world’s population is on the decline. The world population stands at over seven billion and it is increasing at an exponential rate. According to World Vision, the world’s population has tripled in the last hundred years but water use has increased six fold, causing sources of water to be stretched to their limits (McNicol, 1). With this rapid increase in world population due to medical advances among other things, has also come an increased demand for food.
Doubtless, water is not available in the same amounts in different regions of the world. In regions of the world where water availability is strained, conflicts often arise among groups of people who have to share the water due to its importance. According to UNESCO, the current international conflicts over water occur mainly in the Middle East, in Africa (Nile River-related conflicts) as well as in Central Asia.
Water supply determines how much food can be cultivated because plants are dependent on water for growth. Water supply has played a huge part in determining what regions of the world have had steady access to food in the past and that is hardly going to change in the future. and changing water availability in present will affect food supply in the coming years. With changing water availability as a result of factors such as climate change and population explosion, food supply will be adversely affected.
Egypt, a country situated in Northern Africa is a great country to study the impacts of changing availability on food supply. This is because its changing supply of water over many centuries shows distinct patterns in the effect of water supply on food supply. Situated in North Africa, Egypt lies in the desert and as such has dry weather conditions all year round. The Nile is the primary source of water for Egypt but it is not the only country dependent on it. The Nile River related conflicts in Africa mentioned earlier are majorly between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan and they are yet to be resolved.
Through the course of this paper, the history of Egypt’s water supply and the corresponding food supply is studied throughout 3 different time periods. Two time periods are situated in Ancient Egypt, the first covering the Old and Middle Kingdoms which spanned the 24th-21st century BC and the second the New Kingdom which began in the 16th century BC. The third time period covered is Modern Egypt which begins in the 19th century. These time period covers major turning points in Egypt’s water supply and the steps taken to modify the supply.
Certain periods in medieval Egypt which spans form 5th -15th century will also be touched on...