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Posts Tagged ‘water crisis’

The world water shortage looks unsolvable

August 5, 2013 Comments off

salon.com

The world water shortage looks unsolvable (Credit: Tanawat Pontchour/Shutter)
This article was originally published by Scientific American.

As we have been hearing, global water shortages are poised to exacerbate regional conflict and hobble economic growth. Yet the problem is growing worse, and is threatening to deal devastating blows to health, according to top water officials from the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) who spoke before a House panel hearing today.

Ever-rising water demand, and climate change, are expected to boost water problems worldwide, especially in countries that are already experiencing shortages. Globally, the world is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people unable to reach or afford safe drinking water by 2015, but it still must make strides to improve Read more…

Europe is heading towards a severe water crisis

July 29, 2011 Comments off

greenfudge

glacier europe water crisis 300x225 Europe is heading towards a severe water crisisImage by flaum (source: stock.xchng)

A recent study by Matthias Huss, glacier expert at the University of Fribourg, confirms that glaciers play a mayor part in providing water for the major rivers in the Alps.

Although we are not really aware of it, as many other regions of the world, Europe depends greatly on melt water from glaciers for fresh water. The Swiss Alps for example are often called the “water towers of Europe”. With sixty billion of cubic meters of water, Switzerland holds an important part of European fresh water, essential for large rivers and overall water management.

Glaciers store water during wet, cold winters in the form of ice and release that ice during hot summer months in the form of fresh melt water.

With the rise of temperatures the glaciers grow smaller every year and the water shortages in Europe during hot summer months are steadily increasing. Between 1996 and 2006 each year Read more…

The Geopolitics of Water in the Nile River Basin

July 26, 2011 Comments off

marketoracle

Prof. Majeed A. Rahman writes: In Africa, access to water is one of the most critical aspects of human survival. Today, about one third of the total population lack access to water. Constituting 300 million people and about 313 million people lack proper sanitation. (World Water Council 2006). As result, many riparian countries surrounding the Nile river basin have expressed direct stake in the water resources hitherto seldom expressed in the past. In this paper, I argue that due to the lack of consensus over the use of the Nile basin regarding whether or not “water sharing” or “benefit sharing” has a tendency to escalate the situation in to transboundary conflict involving emerging dominant states such as the tension between Ethiopia-Egypt over the Nile river basin.  At the same time, this paper further contributes to the Collier- Hoeffler conflict model in order to analyze the transboundary challenges, and Egypt’s position as the hegemonic power in the horn of Africa contested by Ethiopia.   Collier- Hoeffler model is used to predict the occurrence of conflicts as a result of empirical economic variables in African states given the sporadic civil strife in many parts of Africa. In order to Read more…

Water shortages in the West: ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’

June 14, 2011 Comments off

coloradoindependent

An extraordinary set of circumstances produced the Colorado River Compact of 1922. The question now is whether the compact and other laws and treaties collectively called the Law of the River are sufficiently resilient to prevent teeth-barring among the seven states of the basin in circumstances that during the 21st century may be even more extraordinary.

For the most part, speakers at a recent conference sponsored by the University of Colorado Natural Resources Law Center agreed that there’s no need to start over even if future circumstances will require states of the Southwest to “bend the hell out of it,” in the words of law professor Douglas Kenney.

Kenney, director of the law school’s Western Water Policy Program, last winter released the first part of a several-tiered study of challenges to administration of the river. Obscured by drought that had left Lake Mead, near Las Vegas, reduced to its lowest level since 1938, demand had quietly crept up and overtaken supply during the last decade, he said.

Despite occasional wet years such as the current one, climate-change projections foresee significantly hotter temperatures and perhaps a 9 percent decline in water volume during coming decades, according to the newest study issued this spring by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

DeBecque Canyon on the Colorado River near Palisade (Best)

Some people believe earlier spring, warmer temperatures, and the extended drought of the last decade are harbingersof Read more…

The Water Crisis in African Cities

June 10, 2011 Comments off

allafrica

Access to running water remains in a state of crisis for a huge number of people across Africa, writes Michel Makpenon. With growing urbanisation across the continent, African cities will need the political determination to ensure sustainable water resources based on social need rather than commercial concerns, he stresses.

The water issue is a major problem for people in sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, the water situation in sub-Saharan Africa remains characterised by the difficult access to this resource, the poor supply management of watering places and the high costs of water network connections. For instance, in Benin one household in three doesn’t have access to drinking water, and the problem is much more acute in rural areas.

Households having access to drinking water are considered as households who have drinking water at home or within 200 metres from home: running water from the company’s distribution network, fountain water, water from the village pump, water tank and water from protected wells.

Various consultations led with the populations have indeed confirmed that the water issue is a major problem for them. The concerns, as raised by the populations, focus on the difficult access to water and the poor management of the watering places, the difficulties to call for the financial participation of the population for the creation and the management of watering places and the borehole characteristics which are Read more…

Drought worsens fears of inflation

May 31, 2011 Comments off

peopledaily.com

A rare drought that has wreaked havoc in central and southern China is expected to send grain prices soaring as experts predict the worst disaster of its kind in 50 years could offset the government’s efforts to curb inflation and threaten its annual CPI target of 4 percent.

Five provinces in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River – Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Jiangsu, a major grain-producing region – have suffered the most serious drought in decades.

The drought had affected 34.8 million people, over one million livestock, and 3.7 million hectares of farmland as of Friday, causing direct economic losses of 14.9 billion yuan ($2.3 billion), the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

As farmers struggled to find new water sources for their crops, many fishing boats found themselves grounded as the river and lakes shrank, and residents in the region found the prices of vegetables, rice and aquatic products rising.

“Prices of some fruit and vegetables have increased to 6 yuan per kilogram on Tuesday from 3.6 yuan last week,” Jin Zhengsheng, 50, a resident of Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, told the Global Times.

Huang Xianyin, 41, a villager from Xinjian county, Jiangxi Province, also noticed the hikes.

“It’s not only vegetables. Read more…

World Hunger and Food Shortages Are Pressing Global Issues, Say Experts in Current Events and Politics

May 24, 2011 Comments off

environmental-expert

PASADENA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In an article for the quarterly journal Vision titled “What Shall We Eat and Drink?” publisher and international relations scholar David Hulme discusses the global issues of world hunger and water security. Slicing through the Gordian Knot of current events and politics, Hulme explores the complex factors relating to food shortages and the building water crisis.

People share a universal need to eat and drink, yet nearly a billion people go hungry every day. Concerns about food and water shortages were behind the eight goals of the 2000 UN Millennium Declaration, with the primary Millennium Development Goal being to reduce the number of undernourished and poverty-stricken people in developing countries from the current 16 percent to 10 percent by 2015.

“Part of the difficulty,” writes Hulme, “arises from the potential volatility of food prices accentuated by natural disasters, severe weather, surging fuel Read more…