Ignore the awkward metaphors, casual humblebrags (note my emphasis below), and overly positive ending paragraph. This Tom Friedman column is important because it details the conflict point of the 21st century: water.
We flew down on a Yemeni Air Force helicopter with Abdul Rahman al-Eryani, Yemen’s former minister of water and environment, who minces no words. “In Sana, the capital, in the 1980s, you had to drill about 60 meters to find water. Today, you have to drill 850 to 1,000 meters to find water. Yemen has 15 aquifers, and only two today are self-sustaining; all the others are being steadily depleted. And wherever in Yemen you see aquifers depleting, you have the worst conflicts.”
One of the most threatened aquifers in Yemen is the Radaa Basin, he added, “and it is one of the strongholds of Al Qaeda.” In the north, on the border with Saudi Arabia, the Sadah region used to be one of the richest areas for growing grapes, pomegranates and oranges. “But they depleted their aquifer so badly that many farms went dry,” said Eryani, and this created the environment for the pro-Iranian Houthi sect to recruit young, unemployed farm laborers to start a separatist movement.