África: La Guerra Por El Agua

Last modified on 2011-02-21 17:24:20 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

La sequías en África golpean a personas y animales por igual. Photo encontrado en:

“El avance de la desertificación se suma al aumento poblacional y a la contaminación de los ríos, lo que produce que el agua potable sea un bien escaso en África. Aunque el continente disponga de un gran caudal hídrico, las privatizaciones sin control, los desvíos de los cursos y las amenazas de guerra entre países que comparten un mismo río vuelven impredecible el futuro del abastecimiento del agua tanto sea para la agricultura, como para la generación de electricidad y hasta para el consumo humano.

Los caudalosos ríos africanos comienzan a perder fuerza por la evaporación provocada por el aumento de la temperatura del planeta. Además, la presencia de tres importantes desiertos -Sahara, Kalahari y Namib-, que se expanden, producen que las zonas fértiles y las reservas de agua potable disminuyan.

La potencia de las usinas hidroeléctricas, la capacidad de riego para las cosechas, la utilización en la ganadería y el uso humano como recurso primario y vital se ven afectados seriamente por la evaporación y además por la contaminación derivada de la actividad industrial.”

Leer más: Observador Global

Kenyans to Protest Chinese Involvement in Ethiopia’s Gibe III Dam

Last modified on 2011-02-17 18:24:49 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“The mammoth $1.7 billion Gibe 3 Dam project to be constructed on the Omo River, some 300 kilometres south-west of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, is the largest project to ever be implemented in Ethiopia. Once completed, it will stand at 240 metres high – to become the tallest dam in Africa – and hold a 211 km2 reservoir behind it. Construction begun in 2006 and the first power production was scheduled for 2011, while the dam would be completed in 2012. Ethiopia hopes to produce 1,870 megawatt, more than double the country’s current installed capacity and make $ 400 million from power export to Kenya, Sudan and Djibouti.

Communities living within the Omo River-Lake Turkana basin are opposed to this project that will inflict permanent damage to their way of life and peace in the region. Damming the Omo River will permanently change the river’s flood patterns which the Ethiopian communities living in the lower Omo basin have depended on for centuries. It will also reduce or completely cut out inflow of water into Lake Turkana – which depends on the river for 90% of its water – especially during the period of filling up the reservoir. “These drastic changes will irreparably destroy the lives of some 700,000 already disadvantaged people in both Kenya and Ethiopia”, said Ikal Angelei, Director of Friends of Lake Turkana.

Due to the project’s unpopularity and its potential social and environmental injustices, various prospective donors – including the World Bank and the European Investment Bank (US$341 million loan) – have withdrawn their support. The African Development Bank was also considering funding the project.”

Read more: African Press Agency

Lake Chad’s Disappearance Leaves A Famine In Its Wake

Last modified on 2011-02-17 03:14:27 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Lake Chad was bigger than Israel less than 50 years ago. Today its surface area is less than a tenth of its earlier size, amid forecasts the lake could disappear altogether within 20 years. Photo retrieved from:

“The drying out of Lake Chad in Africa has caused a flood of climate change refugees and misery.

The lake remains living proof of the impact of climate change in Africa, particularly significant this year as the continent hosts the United Nations’ annual climate conference in Durban, South Africa.

“The lake has dried up and the trees have died. Our camels no longer produce milk — they have no grass to eat,” said Halime Djime, a resident of the region. “We see animal carcasses everywhere. It is very dry.”

In Chad, the average rainfall since 2007 has been half of what farmers need to grow crops and graze animals.

Lake Chad has shrunk from 9,600 square miles in 1963 to its current size of about 502 square miles. On top of rising temperatures drying the lake, people are draining the lake to make up for the lack of rain. Most of the fish are gone, exarcebating the famine.”

“It’s a severe and silent problem,” said UNICEF Chad’s nutrition chief, Roger Sodjinou. “Our latest figures show that 225,000 children are dying every year from malnutrition in Africa’s Sahel belt”

Read more: Climatewire

Water crisis by 2020: Experts tell conference that action to avert shortages is needed now

Last modified on 2011-02-15 01:11:54 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“South Africa faces a water crisis and could start having critical shortages as early as 2020, experts told the inaugural South African Water and Energy Forum in Johannesburg.

“The forum’s two-day conference is being held at the Sandton Sun for local and international experts to deliberate on water and energy supply issues in South Africa and globally.

“Former Water Affairs director- general and visiting professor at the Wits University Graduate School of Public and Development Management Mike Muller told delegates that “a crisis is looming … If we don’t panic now and take action now, we will be in a crisis by 2020.”"

Read more: Times Live

Kenya-Power Production: Cost of Power To Shoot Up

Last modified on 2011-02-10 16:39:35 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“Power production-Kenya – Falling water levels in the dams and rising international crude oil prices are pushing up the cost of power, setting the stage for another round of commodity price increases. Meteorological Department officials say the country will experience dry weather in the first six months of this year. Power producer KenGen has also warned consumers to expect higher electricity bills as it shifts to thermal generation, cutting down on hydro-power to preserve water in its dams.

“We are now increasing thermal power generation to preserve water,” KenGen managing director Eddy Njoroge said. “This is a balancing act that we have to do to ensure we don’t end up with emergencies. We have ensured that there will no power rationing.”

Consequently, he added, power costs might be slightly higher as fuel cost is factored in. The higher price will be driven by escalating global oil prices and the power mix the company will be putting in terms of thermal generation.

The political turmoil in the Arab world is not helping the situation as supply disruptions are likely to cause jitters in the market.

Kenya is heavily dependent on hydro-power, which supplies half of the electricity in the national grid. The dams are mostly concentrated along the Tana River Seven Forks cascade.

Rising power costs are a fresh challenge to consumers and manufacturers, who had experienced a period of relatively low prices due to high rainfall received last year.”

Read more: Afrique en ligne

Africa’s Flourishing Niger Delta Is Threatened by a Libyan Water Grab

Last modified on 2011-02-04 18:13:34 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Niger Delta. Photo retrieved from:

“The floods in what geographers call the inner Niger delta nurture abundant fish for the Bozo people, who lay their nets in every waterway and across the lakes. As the waters recede, they leave wet soils in which the Bambara people plant millet and rice, and they expose vast aquatic pastures of bourgou (or hippo grass) that sustain cattle and goats brought by nomadic Fulani herders from as far away as Mauritania and Burkina Faso. This inland delta is Africa’s second-largest floodplain and one of its most unique wetlands. Seen from space, it is an immense smudge of green and blue on the edge of the Sahara.

But this rare and magnificently productive ecosystem is now facing an unprecedented threat, as a Libyan-backed enterprise has begun construction of a project inside Mali that will divert large amounts of Niger River water for extensive irrigation upstream.

This is all part of a grand plan by Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi to make his desert nation self-sufficient in food through long-term deals with nearby countries to grow food for Libya. Mali’s president has agreed to the scheme, which numerous experts say will enhance Libyan food security at the expense of Malian food security by sucking dry the river that feeds the inland delta, diminishing the seasonal floods that support rich biodiversity — and thriving agriculture and fisheries vital to a million of Mali’s poorest citizens — on the edge of the Sahara desert.”

Read more: AlterNet

Zimbabwe: Filtering Fact From Fiction About D.I.Y. Water Treatment

Last modified on 2011-02-04 04:50:40 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“The southern Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo has not been spared the heavy rains that have fallen across Southern Africa; the water is welcome in this semi-arid part of the country, but the coming of the rainy season has provoked fresh memories of the 2008 cholera epidemic.

“Sikhulekile Banda, who lives in Tshabalala, a crowded low-income township, uses makeshift sand filters for both the rainwater she harvests and the brown water she gets sporadically from her kitchen tap.

“”This is what we used when we were growing up in the rural areas, way before independence [in 1980],” she says as she filled a bucket with a perforated bottom with sand.

“She then pours water into the bucket, where it will slowly drip through the night into another container set below. The previously muddy water emerges sparkling clean, but Banda is not sure whether this is enough to protect her family’s health.”

Read More: All Africa

Botswana Appeals Court allows Kalahari’s indigenous Bushmen water rights in their homeland

Last modified on 2011-01-28 15:57:43 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“GABORONE, Botswana (AP) — An appeals court in Botswana ruled Thursday that indigenous dwellers in one of the driest parts of the world can now drill wells for water, overturning an earlier decision that denied them access.

“The Botswana Court of Appeals said the Bushmen people were entitled to use a well already established on their traditional land in the Kalahari Game Reserve and allowed to excavate new ones. The court’s decision reverses a July ruling that took away drilling rights from the Bushmen, also known as the Basarwa.

“The government has argued that their presence in the reserve is not compatible with preserving wildlife, though new wells have been drilled for wildlife and luxury tourist lodges have been built in the disputed territory. Botswana’s government also approved a $3 billion diamond mine at one of the Bushmen communities.”

read more: LA Times

Water in the Desert: Kalahari Bushmen in ‘remarkable’ legal victory

Last modified on 2011-01-27 19:34:42 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“The Appeal Court judgement is a remarkable victory for the Bushmen.

“Not only has the court upheld their right to water in the Kalahari Desert, but it has criticised the government’s treatment of the bushmen as “degrading”.

“Supporters of the Basarwa Bushmen inside and outside Botswana are greeting the court of appeal’s judgement as a victory for the rule of law.

“Survival International, the London-based organisation which campaigns for the rights of indigenous peoples and has strongly backed the Bushmen’s legal battle, described the appeal court’s decision as “momentous”.”

Read more: BBC News

Botswana project poses threat to Victoria Falls

Last modified on 2011-01-27 02:06:25 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“FRANCISTOWN: Botswana government’s planned irrigation scheme in the Pandamatenga area is likely to fail, The Gazette has learnt.

“Botswana has apparently notified other Southern African countries of its intentions to extract some 30 cubic metres from the Chobe River where it meets the Zambezi River for a planned irrigation scheme in the Pandamatenga area for domestic water supply, according to the Standard newspaper in Zimbabwe.

“The Zimbabwean Minister of Water Resources Development and Management, Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo is quoted as saying the attractiveness of the mighty Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, is under threat if Botswana goes ahead with its planned extraction of large volumes of water from Chobe River for the Pandamatenga area.”

read more: The Botswana Gazette

New Chinese Dam Project Fuels Ethnic Conflict in Sudan

Last modified on 2011-01-21 20:03:09 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“The Sudanese government has contracted Sinohydro to build the Kajbar Dam on the third cataract of the Nile. The project would flood lands of ancient Nubia and displace an estimated 10,000 people. With support from International Rivers, the affected communities are calling on the Chinese company to withdraw from the contract. They warn that if built, the dam could unleash a second Darfur conflict.

Proposed to be built near Kajbar village in Northern Sudan, the new dam would generate electricity at a capacity of 360 megawatts. It would also create a reservoir of 110 square kilometers, submerge some 90 villages, and destroy an estimated 500 archeological sites. Much of Nubia’s territory had already been lost to the reservoir of the Aswan Dam. Yet another project, the Dal Dam, has been proposed to be built on the Nile’s second cataract. The construction of the Kajbar and Dal dams would bring the Nubian culture, which dates back over more than 5,000 years, closer to extinction.

The affected people are strongly opposed to the construction of the Kajbar and Dal dams. A statement of the committee of affected villages declares: “We will never allow any force on the earth to destroy our heritage and nation. Nubians will not sacrifice for the second time to repeat the tragedy of the Aswan Dam.”

The government never officially informed or consulted the affected people about the project. In April and June 2007, security forces brutally cracked down on peaceful protests against the planned project, killing four and wounding more than 20 people. The UN Special Rapporteur on Sudan deplored the “excessive force” and “arbitrary arrests and prosecutions to stifle community protest against the Kajbar dam” in a report in 2008.”

Read more: International Rivers

Vision: 8 Reasons Global Capitalism Makes Our Lives Worse — And How We Can Create a New Kind of Economy

Last modified on 2011-01-18 16:00:35 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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Globalization wastes natural resources. Consumerism is threatening the planet, natural resources are stretched to the breaking point and yet we have an economic system that encourages us to consume more and more, says Norberg-Hodge. Consumer culture is increasingly urban and when rural people move to the city the food they used to grow themselves is now grown on industrial-sized chemical-intensive farms. Food must be trucked to cities, waste must be trucked out. Large dams are needed to provide water and huge centralized power plants must be fueled by coal and uranium mines.

4. Globalization accelerates climate change. Globalization’s “success” is often attributed to efficiencies of scale, but mostly it is fueled by deregulation and hidden subsidies that make food from around the globe cost less than food from down the street. With efficiencies of scale, it’s really the opposite, says British MP Zac Goldsmith, “Tuna caught off the east coast of America is flown to Japan, processed and flown back to America to be sold to consumers; English apples are flown to South Africa to be waxed, flown back to England to be sold.”

Read more: AlterNet

Agriculture Becomes Our Top Environment Issue

Last modified on 2011-01-16 16:25:04 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“Worldwatch Institute released its annual State of the World report this week, with a clear message that the state of agriculture–both small- and large-scale, domestic and local–is a mirror from which we can gauge the health of the planet and the fate of our species.

Traditional views toward hunger alleviation, for the more than 1 billion people around the world who do not have enough to eat, have emphasized increased agricultural production without clearly thinking through distribution roadblocks or environmental consequences. As a result, the planet is growing more food than ever, but hunger is more pervasive than ever, according to Worldwatch.

Many existing agricultural methods have stripped soils of nutrients, sucked aquifers dry, and polluted water with pesticides and fertilizers. And now, working with depleted and degraded resources, we must face climate change, which is already starting to express itself in changing rainfall patterns, more intense floods and droughts, and changing global temperatures that interfere with traditional growing seasons.”

Read more: National Geographic

Call for BHP Billiton to Halt Congo Smelter, Inga 3

Last modified on 2010-12-18 00:46:08 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“Aluminum smelters create some of the most energy-intensive jobs in the world. BHP Billiton suggests that the new smelter would create 1,200 permanent jobs and require 1,600 sub-contractors, representing an astounding 4,286 MWh of consumed electricity per job/sub-contract.  While these jobs and local sub-contracts are important, they come at the opportunity cost of similar investments which could create more jobs and local development. Attracting a variety of manufacturing and processing industries to the region could create far more jobs, spurring the local economy while consuming the same amount of, or even less, electricity.

Aluminum smelters also pay some of the world’s lowest electricity tariffs. Other electricity consumers, especially Congolese households, are at risk of paying higher power tariffs to offset the disproportionately low tariffs BHP Billiton is expected to negotiate.

In order to justify low power tariffs and energy-intensive job creation in a country with such low energy access rates and high unemployment, other economic and financial benefits are expected to offset the opportunity cost. However, investment contracts commonly reduce tax burdens and royalty rates paid to the state. Indirect economic benefits, such as indirect job creation, can also be misleading as they would likely accompany investments in other new industries as well.”

Read more: International Rivers

Assessment of Groundwater Investigations and Borehole Drilling Capacity in Uganda

Last modified on 2010-12-14 18:23:03 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“The report describes the legislative and institutional framework of the sector. The Directorate of Water Resources Management regulates the water drilling in Uganda. The Directorate licenses the drilling contractors and issues permits for drilling and water abstraction, and collects data for the national groundwater database. Every year, between 1,000 and 1,500 boreholes are drilled in Uganda. Currently applied siting as well as drilling contract formats are mostly no-water-no-pay contracts rather than Bills of Quantities contracts, which ultimately leads to lesser quality boreholes. Borehole drilling contracts by District Local Governments, constituting the largest fraction are procured after prequalification, whereas other actors also apply selected bidding or open bidding. The Sector Investment Plan (SIP) has studied various targeted service levels (access to safe water) based on selected combinations of water supply options. Combining the SIP information, current borehole costs and combined GoU / NGO funding capacity, it follows that there will be an increasing funding gap for borehole drilling.

The questionnaires, interviews and workshop revealed the following:

1. The current implementation environment for borehole drilling in Uganda is not conducive for a cost efficient and cost effective implementation of borehole drilling projects nor for a sustainable development of the sector.

2. The prices for boreholes depend on the costs for boreholes made by the drillers. Lower prices can only be attained if drillers can drill more boreholes per rig and/or per year.

3. Quality of works can only be ensured by a regulated environment where qualified and professional consultants, drillers and implementing agency staff work hand in hand aiming at high quality end products.”

Read more: Rural Water Supply Network

Global Warming Burning Lakes?

Last modified on 2010-12-09 21:19:14 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“A loss of oxygen and the deterioration of food chains have transformed Africa’s Lake Tanganyika and Russia’s Lake Baikal. Scientists have pointed to global warming, and now a new study finds that a similar fate may be in store for many of the world’s freshwater bodies.

In the last 25 years, the world’s largest lakes have been steadily warming, confirms the new study, some by as much as 4°F (2.2°C). In some cases that is seven times faster than air temperatures have risen over the same period.

It’s an important find, scientists say, because lake ecology can be extremely temperature-sensitive. “A small change in temperature can have quite a dramatic effect,”

says study author Simon Hook, a geologist and remote sensing expert atNASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

In many lakes, warming waters could kill native fish, clog pristine waters with algae, and expose fish and other aquatic species to more toxic pollution.”

Read more: National Geographic

EuroSibEnergo, China Yangtze Power to Construct Hydro Power Plants in Russia

Last modified on 2010-12-03 00:14:06 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“Electricity firm EuroSibEnergo, the power unit of Russian aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska’s business empire, and China Yangtze Power Co, the country’s largest listed hydropower corporation and operator of the Three Gorges Dam, have signed an agreement on the establishment of a joint venture for construction of hydro-electric power plants in Russia.

“The joint venture will be established on a parity basis. In the next three years the company will study a list of six projects aimed at constructing hydro and thermal power plants in Siberia and the Russian Far East with an overall planned installed capacity amounting to 10,000 megawatts and will also prepare the project’s feasibility study. After the study is ready, China Yangtze will seek to arrange financing from Chinese lenders,” EuroSibEnergo said in a statement.

It is expected that a portion of the energy produced at power plants in Russia will be exported to China’s northern and north-eastern territories, which suffer from power shortages.

In October 2010, China Yangtze Power and EuroSibEnergo signed a hydro-power cooperation agreement.”

Read more: Rionovosti

Little Drops… Re-enacting Women’s Plight in The Niger Delta on Stage

Last modified on 2010-12-02 17:05:42 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“The pain of the Niger Delta inhabitants unfold right before our eyes and we are more than just spectators; we are partakers and sharers of their fears and grief, their frustration and sense of impotence.

One should picture a lump forming in one’s throat as the queen laments the death of her young prince, the chorus of hidden voices heightening and drawing out the evocative quotient of the scene. The question on everyone’s lips as they walked out of the play was ‘what can we do to fix this?’

The play ends on a note of hope; all the characters save Memekize chose to leave the war-ridden state to seek a new life in Port Harcourt. Whilst this is a hopeful solution for the individual characters, it also serves as a warning to both the government and the militants of what will happen if the conflict does not end soon… The state will be stripped of its bright young minds and left desolate as surely as the rivers have been stripped of life by the environmental pollution.

It is often said that art mirrors life. Yerima’s Little Drops… has captured the complexity of the Niger Delta conflict and portrays it in a very personal way from the point of view of the real victims; the women and children who have lost so much.”

Read more: The Guardian Nigeria

Egypt says “amazed” by Ethiopia’s Nile remarks

Last modified on 2010-11-23 19:51:08 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“Ethiopia has built five huge dams on the Nile in the last decade and has begun work on a $1.4 billion hydropower facility.

Under the original pact Egypt is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic meters of water a year, the lion’s share of the Nile’s total flow of around 84 billion cubic meters, despite the fact that some 85 percent of the water originates in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya signed a new deal to share the waters in May.

In the statement that was e-mailed to Reuters, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said it was “regrettable” that Ethiopia and other states had sought a new agreement.

“Egypt is firmly behind its legal and political positions on the issue of the Nile water,” Zaki said, adding that Egypt had pursued dialogue and cooperation on the use of the Nile’s water.

The five signatories of the new deal have given the other Nile Basin countries one year to join the pact before putting it into action. Sudan has backed Egypt while Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi have so far refused to sign.”

Read more: Reuters

Clean Water At No Cost? Just Add Carbon Credits

Last modified on 2010-11-16 17:40:35 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“The villages of Africa and South Asia are littered with the ghosts of water projects past. A traveler winding through the dirt roads and trails of rural India or Ethiopia will find wells, pumps and springs with taps ─ but most of the wells will be contaminated, the pumps broken, the taps rusted away. When the British group WaterAid began its work in the Konso district of southwestern Ethiopia in 2007, the first thing it did was look at what had come before. It found that of 35 water projects built in the area, only nine were functioning.

People who work on providing clean water in poor countries estimate that about half the projects fall into disrepair soon after their builders move on. Sometimes someone loots the pump. Or it breaks and no one knows how to fix it. Or perhaps spare parts are available only in major cities. Or the needed part costs too much for the village to afford ─ even if it is just a few dollars.

Unlike one-shot vaccines, water systems need to function all day, every day, forever. So sustainability ─ the issue we find so important that it started off the Fixes series ─ is particularly crucial. It’s important to donors, who don’t want to see their money wasted. It’s important to the groups that do the work: no project is successful unless it’s taken over by local people to run. And it’s most crucial to villagers themselves, who grow cynical about promises after they see project after project inaugurated only to fail.”

Read more: New York Times

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