First Advisor

Hamid Moradkhani

Date of Publication

Winter 1-16-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Droughts -- Iraq, Food security -- Middle East -- Mathematical models, Energy security -- Middle East -- Mathematical models, Water security -- Middle East -- Mathematical models



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 129 pages)


Drought is an extreme climate phenomenon that happens slowly and periodically threatens the environmental and socio-economic sectors. Developing countries have experienced crucial conditions in meeting the needs for food, energy, and water security. Natural disasters contribute as risky sources of food insecurity and vulnerability in the Middle East. This dissertation presents a country-level review and quantitative assessment of the current issues associated with the Food-Energy-Water-Security (FEWS) Nexus in the Middle East. In this study, sixteen countries in the Middle East are chosen, namely, Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, and Turkey. The most recent datasets are used to study and analyze the factors that have increased the demand to understand and manage the linkage of FEW systems in the region. Water scarcity, extreme events, population growth, urbanization, economic growth, poverty, and political stability are found to be the key drivers of the current challenges in the Middle East. The results suggest that these factors have created a subsequent stress on FEW resources specifically on the water sector in the region. Therefore, more attention is required to sustain the FEW resources and cope with the socio-economic development.

Moreover, this study presented a comprehensive assessment of drought and food-water-energy-security nexus across the Middle East using rigorous frameworks. Meteorological, agricultural, and hydrological droughts are analyzed using different drought indices at multiple timescales over the region for seven decades for the period of 1948-2017. The study further analyzes food insecurity in the Middle East through the exploration of drought (as a water stress factor), energy, and other socio-economic factors in the region. A Bayesian approach is conducted to link all the factors that best predict food insecurity in Middle East pooled from 16 countries in the region. Results reveal that the intensity of agricultural drought are the most aggravated over the region in all cases. Moreover, the results demonstrated the significant impacts of drought (as a water stress factor), agricultural land availability, population growth, livestock, and cereal production on food insecurity in the Middle East.


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