Special Report- All The Facts Behind The World’s Water Crisis

Last modified on 2010-06-28 19:16:26 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Rtrieved from:

“1. By 2025, more than 2.8 billion people will live in 48 countries facing water stress or water scarcity, a recently revised United Nations medium population projected. Of these 48 countries, 40 are either in the Near East and North Africa or in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the next two decades population increase alone—not to mention growing demand per capita—is projected to push all of the Near East into water scarcity. By 2050 the number of countries facing water stress or scarcity will rise to 54, and their combined population to 4 billion people—40% of the projected global population of 9.4 billion

“2. The 20 countries of the Near East and North Africa face the worst prospects. The Near East is the most water-short region in the world. In fact, the entire Near East “ran out of water” in 1972, when the region’s total population was 122 million, according to Tony Allan, a University of London expert on water resources. Since then, the region has withdrawn more water from its rivers and aquifers every year than is being replenished. Currently, for example, Jordan and Yemen withdraw 30% more water from groundwater aquifers every year than is replenished. Also, Israel’s annual water use already exceeds its renewable supply by 15%.

“3. Saudi Arabia presents one of the worst cases of unsustainable water use in the world. This extremely arid country now must mine fossil groundwater for three-quarters of its water needs. Fossil groundwater depletion in Saudi Arabia has been averaging around 5.2 billion cubic meters a year

“4. Of 14 countries in the Near East, 11 are already facing water scarcity. In five of these countries the populations are projected to double within the next two decades. Water is one of the major political issues confronting the region’s leaders. Since virtually all rivers in the Near East are shared by several nations, current tensions over water rights could escalate into outright conflicts, driven by population growth and rising demand for an increasingly scarce resource.

“5. In many countries, the water problem is the primary reason people are unable to rise out of poverty. Women and children bear the burdens disproportionately, often spending six hours or more each day fetching water for their families and communities.

“6. 1.1 billion people in the world…


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Chlorine’s importance in water treatment set to grow

Last modified on 2010-06-24 14:55:55 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Image courtesy of:

“AS THE world becomes more populous, water is becoming more scarce. There is strong growth potential for all types of water treatment technologies, but some could do better as countries bid to quench their thirst in a cheap and environmentally friendly way.

“The UN’s estimates (see map below, which shows projected global water withdrawal as a percentage of total water available) are based on its medium-population projections made in 1998. According to these, more than 2.8bn people in 48 countries will face water stress, or scarce conditions, by 2025. Of these, 40 are in West Asia (also known as the Middle East), North Africa or sub-Saharan Africa.

“Over the next two decades, population increases and growing demands are projected to push all the West Asian countries into water scarcity conditions.

“By 2050, the number of countries facing water stress or scarcity could rise to 54, with a combined population of 4bn – about 40% of the projected global population of 9.4bn. It is striking to note that even some developed nations, such as the US and many European countries will see more serious water scarcity by 2025. This could be one reason that some are already calling water the “new oil.”

“In order to arrive at the different qualities of water required for its various applications, and for the world to meet its goals, it must be treated. There are several different ways to do this, which are either combined or taken in isolation, according to each instance. Essentially, the aim is to remove, or in some cases reduce, the contaminants present in the water to bring it to an acceptable level for its required end use.”

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Water Pressure

Last modified on 2010-06-14 01:57:50 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Photo: Ethiopian boy drinks water

Drawing deep from a new well, Soti Sotiar is among a lucky few: the 10 to 20 percent of rural Ethiopians with access to clean drinking water. Photograph by Peter Essick

“Among the environmental specters confronting humanity in the 21st century—global warming, the destruction of rain forests, overfishing of the oceans—a shortage of fresh water is at the top of the list, particularly in the developing world. Hardly a month passes without a new study making another alarming prediction, further deepening concern over what a World Bank expert calls the “grim arithmetic of water.” Recently the United Nations said that 2.7 billion people would face severe water shortages by 2025 if consumption continues at current rates. Fears about a parched future arise from a projected growth of world population from more than six billion today to an estimated nine billion in 2050. Yet the amount of fresh water on Earth is not increasing. Nearly 97 percent of the planet’s water is salt water in seas and oceans. Close to 2 percent of Earth’s water is frozen in polar ice sheets and glaciers, and a fraction of one percent is available for drinking, irrigation, and industrial use.”

“Gloomy water news, however, is not just a thing of the future: Today an estimated 1.2 billion people drink unclean water, and about 2.5 billion lack proper toilets or sewerage systems. More than five million people die each year from water-related diseases such as cholera and dysentery. All over the globe farmers and municipalities are pumping water out of the ground faster than it can be replenished.”

“Still, as I discovered on a two-month trip to Africa, India, and Spain, a host of individuals, organizations, and businesses are working to solve water’s dismal arithmetic. Some are reviving ancient techniques such as rainwater harvesting, and others are using 21st-century technology. But all have two things in common: a desire to obtain maximum efficiency from every drop of water and a belief in using local solutions and free market incentives in their conservation campaigns.”

Read More: National Geographic

Passing the Point of “Peak Water” Means Paying More for H2O

Last modified on 2010-06-02 00:17:13 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


Nile River Basin image by Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC (

“We have passed the point of “peak water”–or the end of cheap, easy-to-access water–in several places around the globe, experts say.

“Those places include the Great Plains in the southern and central U.S., California’s Central Valley, northern China, the Nile River Basin in northern Africa, the Jordan River Basin in the Middle East, India, and more.

“The term “peak water” has been sprinkled throughout recent media accounts of droughts and groundwater depletion, but a May 20 article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science finally provides a clear definition.

“It means that every new sources we tap is going to be farther afield, harder to access, and more expensive. We are at the end of the era of cheap, easy-to-access water,” said study co-author Meena Palaniappan, director of the International Water and Communities Initiative at the Pacific Institute.”

read more: National Geographic

The killing season

Last modified on 2010-05-30 04:22:45 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“Malaria is a global problem. As much as half the world’s population is at risk of catching the mosquito-born disease; it infects more than 500 million people a year and kills more than one million.

“Uganda has one of the highest malaria mortality rates in the world, with around 120,000 people dying every year, almost all of them needlessly.

“Why are so many people still dying despite all the apparent efforts of governments, NGOs and public health experts to distribute nets and drugs?

“Filmmaker Mark Honigsbaum went to Uganda looking for answers and uncovered a troubling story of corruption and neglect that may undermine Africa’s – and the world’s – best defence against the disease.”

Read More: Al Jazeera

Ethiopia rejects Egypt Nile claims

Last modified on 2010-05-22 19:28:06 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“Ethiopia’s prime minister has rejected a threat by Egypt to prevent the building of dams and other water projects upstream on the Nile river.

“Meles Zenawi told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that Egypt will not be able to stop his country from building dams on the river.

“His comments came nearly a week after Ethiopia joined Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania in signing a new treaty on the equitable sharing of the Nile, despite strong opposition from Egypt and Sudan who have the major share of the river waters.”

read more: Al Jazeera

China’s Biggest Bank to Support Africa’s Most Destructive Dam

Last modified on 2010-05-18 04:47:03 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“Ethiopia’s Gibe 3 Dam is one of the most destructive hydropower projects being built today. If completed, it would destroy fragile ecosystems on which 500,000 poor indigenous people depend for their survival. A worldwide civil society campaign has held international financial institutions at bay for several years. Yesterday, however, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) offered to step in with a $500 million loan. If the loan is confirmed, China’s biggest bank will become responsible for a massive social and environmental disaster.

“The Gibe 3 Dam on the Omo River threatens the livelihoods of 500,000 indigenous people in Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya. By ending the river’s natural flood cycle, it would destroy harvests and grazing lands along the river banks and fisheries in Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake. The dam will devastate the unique culture and ecosystems of the Lower Omo Valley and Lake Turkana, both recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.”

read more: International Rivers

Underground “Fossil Water” Running Out

Last modified on 2010-05-08 18:21:29 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Pipes from the The Libyan Great Man-Made River project.

“This story is part of a special series that explores the global water crisis. For more clean water news, photos, and information, visit National Geographic’s Freshwater website.

“In the world’s driest places, “fossil water” is becoming as valuable as fossil fuel, experts say.

“This ancient freshwater was created eons ago and trapped underground in huge reservoirs, or aquifers. And like oil, no one knows how much there is—but experts do know that when it’s gone, it’s gone. (See a map of the world’s freshwater in National Geographic magazine.)

“You can apply the economics of mining because you are depleting a finite resource,” said Mike Edmunds, a hydrogeologist at Oxford University in the Great Britain.

“In the meantime, though, paleowater is the only option in many water-strapped nations. For instance, Libya is habitable because of aquifers—some of them 75,000 years old—discovered under the Sahara’s sands during 1950s oil explorations.

“The North African country receives little rain, and its population is concentrated on the coasts, where groundwater reserves are becoming increasingly brackish and nearing depletion.

“Since Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi launched his Great Man-Made River Project in the 1980s, an epic system of pipes, reservoirs, and engineering infrastructure is being built. It will be able to pump from some 1,300 paleowater wells and move 230 million cubic feet (6.5 million cubic meters) of H2O every day.

“But while fossil water can fill critical needs, experts warn, it’s ultimately just a temporary measure until conservation measures and technologies become status quo.


Radioactive Worries

“But the project has encountered an unexpected stumbling block. The Disi’s fossil water was recently found to contain 20 times the radiation levels considered safe for drinking. The water is contaminated naturally by sandstone, which has slowly leached radioactive contaminants over the eons.

“Geochemist and water-quality expert Avner Vengosh of Duke University, one of the scientists who first discovered the problem, said the Disi’s situation is not unusual.

“Radiation contamination has been found in Israel, Egypt, Saudia Arabia, and Libya, Vengosh said.

“Fortunately, radiation contamination can be fixed through a simple water-softening process, though it does cost money and creates radioactive waste that must be disposed of properly, he noted.”

read more: National Geographic

Water pollution expert derides UN sanitation claims

Last modified on 2010-04-25 19:47:45 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Safe drinking water

“In its latest report on the progress of the UN Millennium Development Goal to halve the proportion of people lacking access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, the World Health Organisation said that since 1990 1.3 billion people had gained access to improved drinking water and 500 million better sanitation. The world was on course to “meet or exceed” the water target, it said, but was likely to miss the sanitation goal by nearly 1 billion people.

“However, Prof Asit Biswas, who has advised national governments, six UN agencies and Nato, said official figures showing that many cities and countries had met their targets were “baloney”, and predicted that by the UN deadline of 2015 more people in the world would suffer from these problems than when the goals were first adopted.

“If somebody has a well in a town or village in the developing world and we put concrete around the well – nothing else – it becomes an ‘improved source of water’; the quality is the same but you have ‘improved’ the physical structure, which has no impact,” said Biswas. “They are not only underestimating the problem, they are giving the impression the problem is being solved. What I’m trying to say is that’s a bunch of baloney.”

“Barbara Frost, chief executive of the UK-based global charity WaterAid, said: “Here is a global catastrophe which kills more children than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined and which is holding back all development efforts including health and education.”

read more: The Guardian

Water: World Bank Report Recommends Ways to Improve Access to Clean Water

Last modified on 2010-04-06 15:01:25 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

EthiopiaHaiti and Niger are facing the world’s worst water shortages, but 700 million people in 43 countries are under “water stress,” according to a new report released by the World Bank last month.

“Almost a third of all the bank’s projects in recent history have been water-related, and a total of $54 billion was spent financing them, the report said. Some, of course, have been controversial, since dams, irrigation projects, flood prevention and watershed-management projects often benefit one group at the expense of others. Also, many projects fail, once built, because the host country is not wealthy or sophisticated enough to maintain them.”

read more: New York Times

Ethiopia’s rush to build mega dams sparks protests

Last modified on 2010-04-02 16:39:12 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Hydro dam site at Omo river, Ethiopia

“At the foot of a towering gorge slicing through southern Ethiopia the Omo river suddenly disappears into a tunnel bored into the rockface. Excavators claw at the soil and stone in the exposed riverbed beyond, where a giant concrete wall will soon appear in the ravine.

“At 243 metres the Gibe III dam will be the highest on the continent, a controversial centrepiece of Ethiopia’s extraordinary multibillion-pound hydroelectric boom.

“This week a coalition of campaign groups, including International Rivers, based in California, and Survival Internationallaunched an online petition with the aim of stopping the dam, warning of potentially disastrous social and economic effects for tribes downstream.

“It’s an unnecessary, highly destructive project,” said Terri Hathaway, Africa campaigner for International Rivers.”

read more: Guardian

Murder in the bush: Wildlife film-maker Joan Root threw herself into protecting the African lake she called home…but her passion cost her her life

Last modified on 2010-04-01 15:34:15 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Joan Root

“For Joan, everything that mattered most to her was centred on the lake but, even there, life was changing – Naivasha’s fertile soil and warm climate were ripe for exploitation. Joan’s neighbours realised that roses would thrive in the area, and demand for the blooms was high.

“New technology, chemical fertilisers, pesticides and good air transportation meant they could be sold anywhere in the world, but this booming new industry brought economic and ecological problems in its wake.

“Joan decided to take action. She went on daily poacher patrols and wrote of her increasing frustration, intensified by the ineptitude of the police and government agencies in coming up with any solution. Every poacher on the lake soon knew that she was the key player in stopping them from feeding their families.”

“The night of 12 January, 2006 was clear and moonlit. At 1.30am, two men, one carrying an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle, crept into the compound. Awakened by the men demanding in Swahili that she open the door, Joan used her mobile phone to call her security consultant, John Sutton, who was on an assignment in Tanzania. ‘John, they’re back,’ she said in a whisper. ‘Turn off your light,’ Sutton said. ‘Get on the floor and into the bathroom.’ Previously, at Mr Sutton’s suggestion, steel doors had been put up in the bathroom for this very purpose.

“Sutton called the police. Then his phone rang again. Joan’s voice was frantic and trembling. He heard gunshots. ‘John, help, John, help’. Screaming in Swahili that they would fill her with so many holes she’d ‘look like a sieve’, the two men pumped bullets through the glass and the bars of her bedroom window. Then the phone went dead. Joan, who had been shot several times, died from massive bleeding. Too much in love with the lake to leave it and too stubborn to surrender, she had made a last stand on her land. What she left behind would tell the story of what she had tried to accomplish.”

read more: daily mail

Analysis: World Water Day Promises Much, but We’ve Been Here Before

Last modified on 2010-03-29 14:34:05 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“The economics of improving water quality was a major theme during the program at World Water Day last week, so an economic maxim is appropriate to summarize the day: talk is cheap. Rather, more specifically, scripted talk is cheap.

“The key remark, as is often the case, was brief and direct, without the padding used in government-speak to hide meaning. Panel moderator Achim Steiner, the executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, was posing a question about wastewater management.

“This is a simple problem,” Steiner said. “You either filter water before it is consumed, or treat it before discharging it.”

read more: Circle of Blue

Water harvested from clouds in rural South Africa

Last modified on 2010-03-24 17:32:06 GMT. 1 comment. Top.


“The life-giving liquid is the purest you could hope to taste–and it’s also free and environmentally friendly,” said Doreen Gough, media affairs manager for the University of South Africa (UNISA).

“UNISA is launching another of its fog-harvesting systems in South Africa today, this one in the country’s Eastern Cape Province.

“The university “has been engaged with a largescale research and development project on fog harvesting as an alternative source of potable water for many isolated rural communities struggling to access pure and clean water. Many of the communities where the research projects have been conducted experience scarce water supply and the villagers travel long distances to fetch it,” Gough said in an e-mail to Nat Geo News Watch.”

read more: The Palestine Telegraph

Giant Ethiopian dam to make 200,000 go hungry – NGO

Last modified on 2010-03-24 16:51:43 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“More than 200,000 Ethiopians who rely on fishing and farming could become reliant on aid to survive if the government goes ahead with building Africa’s biggest hydropower dam, an advocacy group said.

“These tribes are self-sufficient but this dam will ruin their economies,” a Survival International representative, who did not wish to be named, said.

“It will end the annual flooding some rely on to make the land they farm fertile, and for tribes who rely on fishing, it will deplete stocks. They will need aid.”

read more: Reuters

World Water Day – The Big Picture

Last modified on 2010-03-23 22:02:21 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“Today, March 22nd, is recognized by the United Nations Water Group as “World Water Day”, this year’s theme being “Clean Water for a Healthy World”. Although we live on a water-covered planet, only 1% of the world’s water is available for human use, the rest locked away in oceans, ice, and the atmosphere. The National Geographic Society feels so strongly about the issues around fresh water that they are distributing an interactive version of their April, 2010 magazine for download – free until April 2nd – and will be exhibiting images from the series at theAnnenberg Space for photography. National Geographic was also kind enough to share 15 of their images below, in a collection with other photos from news agencies and NASA – all of water, here at home – Earth. (43 photos total)”

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Unsafe water kills more people than war, Ban says on World Day

Last modified on 2010-03-23 21:24:42 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

“Every day around the world, 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are poured in the earth’s waters, while one child under the age of five dies every 20 seconds from water-related diseases, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

“Human activity over the past 50 years is responsible for unprecedented pollution, and the quality of the world’s water resources is increasingly challenged,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“It may seem like an overwhelming challenge but there are enough solutions where human ingenuity allied to technology and investments in nature’s purification systems – such as wetlands, forests and mangroves – can deliver clean water for a healthy world.”

read more: UN

Rising waters threaten Nile Delta

Last modified on 2010-03-21 14:25:15 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

“As the sea on Egypt’s coastline rises, (Hamza says by 20cm during the last century, a statistic that leading Egyptian government scientists concur with) salt-water infiltrates the Delta’s soil from below, and destroys the farming land.

“The consequences of this are very serious for Egypt, which relies on the Delta for food production.

“In truth, there are any number of factors now damaging the ecology of the Delta. Ever since the completion of the Aswan High Dam, 40 years ago, soil fertility levels in the Delta have been falling, as large quantities of sediment are no longer washed downstream.”

read more: Al Jazeera

Scarce water the root cause of Darfur conflict?

Last modified on 2010-03-10 01:56:56 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“If one looks to the Council on Foreign Relations to define the tragedy that has been Darfur you initially get: “Farmers and Arabic nomads have long competed for limited resources in western Sudan’s Darfur region, particularly following a prolonged drought in 1983.”

“Taking a closer look at this position suggests, “the crises in Darfur stems in part from disputes over water.”

“In fact, according to a report dating back to 1999 and sponsored by the UN Development Program, fighting over limited resources as the scarcity of water, over the next 25 years, will possibly be the leading reason for major conflicts in Africa, not oil.”

read more: The Final Call

15 die in Somali rival clan feuds over water

Last modified on 2010-03-05 23:03:18 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“Violent clan feuds over livestock and access to water are common in the Horn of Africa country, where weapons are readily available and often used to resolve land disputes.”

read more: news

Lords of Water; Finding Our Way Out of the World’s Water Crisis

Last modified on 2010-03-05 18:33:46 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

The WWC knows about big money: It is led by two of the world’s largest private water corporations, Suez Environnement and Veolia Water. Fauchon, president of the Council, is also the president of Groupe des Eaux de Marseille, a company owned jointly by Veolia and a subsidiary of Suez. Critics such as Maude Barlow, director of Canada’s Blue Planet Project and recent appointee as senior advisor on water to the U.N. General Assembly, contend that the Council’s links to private water operators and to AquaFed, the industry lobby group strategically headquartered across from the European Union Parliament in Brussels, compromise its legitimacy.“I call them the Lords of Water,” says Barlow.”

“The next World Water Forum is planned for South Africa in 2012, and it can be expected that that nation’s social movements led by the militant South African Anti-privatization Forum, will be ready for a fight.”

read more: emagazine

Desalination could comprise 10% of South Africa’s urban water supply mix by 2030

Last modified on 2010-04-01 02:15:40 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“Turton explains that desalination needs a large amount of energy and feedstock and produces perfectly clean water and brine. The downside, therefore, is twofold: the carbon emissions generated in the energy phase and the brine.”

“The ocean is an ecosystem – it is not just a body of water that is not living. By extracting water directly from the ocean, plants are disrupting the functioning of the system. There is also effluent that must go back into the ocean, which may cause a brine build-up,” says Amis.”

read more: engineeringnews

Africa’s potential water wars

Last modified on 2010-03-03 22:32:53 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“Worldwatch says that already the water needed to produce the annual combined imports of grain by the Middle East and North Africa is equivalent to the annual flow of the Nile.

Importing grain is much easier than importing water, but for poorer countries in Africa it may not be an option.

For this reason the UN proposes monitoring worldwide reserves of drinking water and establishing agreements for the use of water.”

read more: BBC News

Adapting to Climate in Africa

Last modified on 2010-03-02 23:59:15 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“Throughout history, African African societies have experienced various climate-related events and pressures. But over the last 30 years both drought and floods have increased in frequency and severity. The continent is now burdened with nearly one-third of all water-related disaster that occur worldwide every year.”

read more: jotoafrika

Dams, Rivers, and Stolen Millions in the Congo

Last modified on 2010-02-28 23:00:15 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“The relatively modest rehabilitation of the Inga dams and transmission lines has already run into serious problems. Around 2002, $110 million that the World Bank supposedly spent on Congo’s electricity sector went missing.”

Read More: Huffington Post

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