13 August 2012 | Reading 11 mins.

Mare Nostrum

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Peter Easton
Senior Advisor Water and Sustainability

Peter Easton, Senior Advisor Water and Sustainability

The history and culture of the Mediterranean region are intimately linked to water. To ensure a sustainable future and provide for its growing population, the region must prioritize its water and energy management.

While the story of the Mediterranean as a cradle of civilization has been told many times, its water history has remained largely unexplored despite its importance. The history and culture of the region are closely linked to water, and the health of the sea is strongly dependent on the health of the rivers flowing into it. In addition, the interlinkages with energy are today becoming increasingly important.

Water defines the Mediterranean region in many ways. The Mediterranean Sea has been important for travel and trade for centuries, particularly for connecting otherwise distant cultures, north to south, east to west, and between the three continents which surround it: Europe, Asia and Africa. The sea is an important source of food. Inhabited islands, some of them nations in their own right, are defined by their physical isolation and historical dependence on seaborne trade. Local climate, which varies significantly across the region, is strongly influenced by how much water falls from the sky and how quickly it evaporates.

In many areas, the availability of water is a constant and growing concern due to the demands of growing populations and wealth. In the driest areas, traditional technology has made a critical contribution to water supply for centuries.

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