Kenya Fights Floods and Drought

Last modified on 2013-12-09 23:18:37 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


Retrieved from: IAS"With 62 dead and almost 90,000 displaced by floods, Kenya’s new government is coming under pressure to improve its response to natural disasters.

“Kenya has been experiencing heavy rains since early March. Rivers have burst their banks and flooded villages, washing away homes, crops and bridges. Buildings have collapsed, vehicles been swept away and children buried alive in landslides.

“The semi-arid northern lands, where nomads roam with livestock and some half a million Somalis live in the world’s largest refugee camp, have been worst hit over the last two months. Kenya Red Cross Society says 26,558 people have been displaced in this region, while the coast is the second worst affected, with 24,787 displaced.

“Abbas Gullet, secretary general of the Kenya Red Cross Society, lamented the fact that virtually all of the rainwater has poured into the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria, rather than being stored. During dry seasons, aid agencies spend millions trucking water to many of the same areas that are currently under floodwaters.”

Read more: Trust

Zambia: Electricity for All but Those the Kariba Dam Displaced

Last modified on 2013-04-13 14:44:30 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“Lusitu, Zambia — Indigenous people who were displaced from the Zambezi Valley almost six decades ago for the construction of the Kariba Dam say they have not benefited from the development they made way for.

The building of the Kariba hydroelectric dam was supposed to usher in a bright future for the people of Zambia and Zimbabwe who gave up their land for its construction.

Unfortunately, that future was for others and not the displaced and their descendants. Most of the villages to which some 57,000 people from both southern African nations were relocated are still not electrified.

Sixty-nine-year-old Samson Nyowani was 15 when he was moved from his home in Chipepu, where the Kariba Dam now lies, to Sitikwi village in Zambia’s Lusitu district some 60 kilometres away. Sitikwi village, Nyowani says, still has no electricity, and the soil is infertile.

“We do not have power here in Sitikwi, and the schools and clinic are not electrified, which is a sad situation after what we were made to undergo during the mass relocation,” he tells IPS.”

Read more: All Africa


Mali: Drinking Water a Priority in North

Last modified on 2013-02-19 15:30:16 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“The humanitarian situation in northern Mali is still a source of concern. Displaced persons in the north-east corner of the country lack food and water. The ICRC and the Mali Red Cross are working to help people who have been affected by the conflict.

“The country is facing a difficult humanitarian situation,” said Jean Nicholas Marti, the head of the ICRC regional delegation for Mali and Niger. “In the northern region, access to drinking water is still a big worry for recently displaced people in Tinzawatene, close to the Algerian border and in some other towns such as Ménaka, Timbuktu or Gao.”

Teams of relief workers from the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross have handed out jerrycans and water purification tablets to almost 5,400 displaced persons in Tinzawatene.

They are also repairing wells in the Akharabane and Achibriche areas, which are also near to the Algerian border, where there has been an influx of displaced persons. The situation is particularly worrying because residents are having to share their meagre resources with the newcomers.”

Read more: All Africa


Nigeria: UN Unveils Platform for Global Water Management

Last modified on 2013-02-14 15:02:11 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“Each year brings new pressures on water. One-third of the world’s people already live in countries with moderate to high water stress. Competition is growing between farmers and herders; industry and agriculture; town and country. Upstream and downstream, and across borders, we need to cooperate for the benefit of all – now and in the future,” “he added.

The General Assembly proclaimed 2013 International Year for Water Cooperation in 2010, following a proposal from Tajikistan. The Year will serve to raise awareness and prompt action on the multiple dimensions of water cooperation, such as sustainable and economic development, climate change and food security.

“Over-exploitation, management, financing of water resources, all of these aspects are incredibly important and cooperation at different levels is therefore critical,” UNESCO Science Specialist Ms. Ana Persic, said during a media briefing to mark the start of the Year at UN Headquarters in New York, USA.

Persic added that the benefits of intensifying cooperation include poverty reduction, equity, economic growth, and the protection of the environment.” “We know water is critical for human life, but it is also critical for life on Earth if we want to protect and sustainably manage the planet we have.”

Read more: All Africa


‘Green’ Approaches to Water Gaining Ground Around World

Last modified on 2013-01-24 18:44:34 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“After Hurricane Sandy swept through the northeast of the United States late October 2012, millions of New Yorkers were left for days without electricity.  But they still had access to drinking water, thanks to New York City’s reliance on protected watershed areas for potable water.

Instead of using electric-powered water treatment plans, New York City brings its high-quality drinking water through aqueducts connected to protected areas in the nearby Catskill/Delaware forests and wetlands – just one example of how protecting watersheds can provide residential areas with drinking water and flood and pollution protection at bargain basement prices.

New York saved between four and six billion dollars on the cost of water treatment plants by protecting forests and compensating farmers in the Catskills for reducing pollution in lakes and streams.

In 2011, countries around the world invested more than eight billion dollars in similar watershed projects around the world, according to the State of Watershed Payments 2012 report released Thursday. That year, China led the way, accounting for 91 percent of watershed investment.”

Read more: IPS


Chinese loans could fuel regional conflict in East Africa

Last modified on 2013-01-15 17:49:07 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“China has made great efforts to support poverty reduction in Africa, and likes to present itself as a friend of the African people. But loans for contentious dam and irrigation projects now threaten to pull China into an explosive regional conflict between well-armed groups in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

The Lower Omo Valley in south-west Ethiopia and Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya are marked by a harsh climate and unique, fragile ecosystems. They are home to 12 indigenous peoples, one of the largest remaining wildlife migrations, and some of the earliest remains of the human species.

The region is currently being transformed by one of Africa’s biggest and most controversial infrastructure ventures. Once completed, the Gibe III hydropower project will dam the Omo River to generate electricity with a capacity of 1,870 megawatts. It will also allow the irrigation of 2,450 square kilometres of sugar plantations, which are currently being developed on indigenous lands and in national parks.”

Read more: China Dialogue

Saudi Takes a Chunk of Nile Water to Feed its Cows

Last modified on 2013-01-07 17:20:09 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“The cows raised at the Al Safi and Almarai farms live better than some humans in air-conditioned sheds and water misters that keep them cool. But feeding them with grain grown nearby has depleted 4/5th of the Kingdom’s ancient aquifer in the last 30 years. For milk. The farms are facing closure as a result of water shortages, but instead of giving up altogether, the Saudis are buying up land and water elsewhere – including the already vulnerable Nile.

The Nile was apportioned in 1929 by colonial powers, an issue that has created great tension among Nile River Basin countries in the last few years. Egypt relies almost entirely on this river for its population’s survival, but upstream countries feel that they have been shortchanged by that country’s monopoly.

Ethiopia has been particularly vociferous, though the main instigator of a slew of new dams and hydroelectricity projects, former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, died in August, 2012. But not before allowing Saudi Star, owned by Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al Amoudi, to purchase large tracts of land near the headwaters of the Nile in Gambela.

Member of the local Anuak Tribe talked to National Geographic about the firm’s usurpation of land and water. At the time of writing, the company was digging a canal to drain nearby wetlands and their 24,711 acre relies on a reservoir built in the 1980s by Soviet engineers.”

Read more: Green Prophet


Defense and Security Companies Are Planning to Cash in on Climate Change and Environmental Collapse

Last modified on 2012-12-31 20:42:55 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“It is not just the coercive industries that are positioning themselves to profit from fears about the future. The commodities upon which life depends are being woven into new security narratives based on fears about scarcity, overpopulation and inequality. Increasing importance is attached to ‘food security’, ‘energy security’, ‘water security’ and so on, with little analysis of exactly what is being secured for whom, and at whose expense? But when perceived food insecurity in South Korea and Saudi Arabia is fuelling land grabs and exploitation in Africa, and rising food prices are causing widespread social unrest, alarm bells should be ringing.

The climate security discourse takes these outcomes for granted. It is predicated on winners and losers – the secure and the damned – and based on a vision of ‘security’ so warped by the ‘war on terror’ that it essentially envisages disposable people in place of the international solidarity so obviously required to face the future in a just and collaborative way.

To confront this ever creeping securitisation of our future, we must of course continue to fight to end our fossil fuel addiction as urgently as possible, joining movements like those fighting tar sands developments in North America and forming broad civic alliances that pressure towns, states and governments to transition their economies to a low-carbon footing. We can not stop climate change – it is already happening – but we can still prevent the worst effects.”

Read more: Alternet

Congo-Kinshasa: UNEP Launches Pioneering Water Initiative in DRC to Protect the Supply of Safe Water to Kinshasa

Last modified on 2012-12-19 18:33:14 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“UNEP has initiated a water scheme in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that aims to protect the Lukaya river basin that supplies almost 380,000 Kinshasa residents with safe drinking water.

The project builds on the recommendations of UNEP’s Post Conflict Environmental Assessment (PCEA) of the DRC – the full version of which was made available online in November 2012 – that identified 13 major “hot spots” of environmental degradation in and around urban centers in the country. Much of the environmental pressure is due to rapid population growth and unplanned development in urban areas that are also extremely poor and have inadequate basic infrastructure and local services.

The innovation of the pilot project – that will implement a practice called Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) – lies in the fact that it is the communities themselves who will lead the dialogue and coordination process, assess and reconcile water needs and set the priorities for effective water management accordingly. State and local authorities will also be engaged to help build capacity and disseminate the experience in other parts of the country.”

Read more: All Africa


Mali’s Lush Wetlands Drained by Foreign Agribusiness

Last modified on 2012-12-15 16:02:24 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“Nearly two million Malians live on the delta. “Everything here depends on the water,” said the mayor. “But”—and here he paused gravely, pushed his glasses down an elegant nose, and began waving a long finger—”the government is taking our water. They are giving it to foreign farmers. They don’t even ask us.”

What is happening here in Mali is happening all over the world. People who depend on the natural flow of water, and the burst of nature that comes with it, are losing out as powerful people upstream divert the water.

As the mayor talked in the schoolyard of Akka village, on an island in the heart of the Niger inland delta, women rushed around putting straw mats on the ground, and bringing bowls of food. By torchlight, we savored a supper of smoked fish, millet porridge, and green vegetables, all products of the waters around us.”

Read more: National Geographic


Africa: Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan Agree On Water Co-operation

Last modified on 2012-11-13 16:18:13 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Cairo. Photo retrieved from:

“Addis Ababa — Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have agreed to resume their tripartite cooperation under the Eastern Nile Basin.

The three nations had devised a joint institutional framework and been working together on Nile waters conservation and utilization since 1999.

Water resources ministers of the three nations have endorsed a resolution by their technical experts for the resumption of the operations of the Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) which had not been functional for a period of time. Representatives of the Republic of South Sudan were also present during the agreement.

The Ministers also agreed on the occasion to discuss and approve in the near future South Sudan’s membership to ENTRO.

In a joint press briefing they gave after the meeting, the Ministers highlighted the pivotal role of the accord for conservation and utilization the Nile waters.”

Read more: All Africa


Egypt Is Prepared To Bomb All Ethiopia’s Nile Dams And Water Facilities

Last modified on 2013-12-09 23:18:32 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

nile river

Retrieved from: Business Insider

“In 2010 Egypt discussed taking military action in cooperation with Sudan against Ethiopia to protect their stake in Nile River, according to internal emails from the U.S. private-security firm Stratfor.

“Egypt and Sudan get 90 percent of the river’s water under colonial-era accords while upstream countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia have been clamoring for a new deal during more than a decade of talks.

“Sudanese president Umar al-Bashir has agreed to allow the Egyptians to build an a small airbase in Kusti to accommodate Egyptian commandos who might be sent to Ethiopia to destroy water facilities on the Blue Nile… It will be their option if everything else fails.

“The Blue Nile, which begins in Ethiopia, contributes about 85 percent of the flow that passes through Egypt to the Mediterranean.

“Ethiopia became an even bigger threat a month after the Egyptian Revolution toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 when they announced new details about the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

“In April of this year Bradley Hope of the The National reported that construction had begun and that the massive project ”could destabilize Egypt in a way that would make the last year of political upheaval look minuscule.”

“It would lead to political, economic and social instability,”  Mohamed Nasr El Din Allam, Egypt’s minister of water and irrigation until early last year, told Hope. ”Millions of people would go hungry. There would be water shortages everywhere. It’s huge.”

Read more: Business Insider

EU falls short on Africa water projects

Last modified on 2013-12-09 23:18:31 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Retrieved from: The post

“More than half of the European Union’s projects to provide safe drinking water
in sub-Saharan Africa failed to deliver, the EU’s audit watchdog said in a
report on Friday.

“The report by the European Court of Auditors examined 23 projects co-funded
by the EU in six African countries between 2001 and 2010. The audit found that
the projects, at a total cost of 400 million euros ($514 million), often lacked
sufficient supervision and that checks were not always carried out to ensure
that water was fit for human consumption.

“The authors said that while equipment was usually installed properly, local
communities did not receive enough support to manage the projects long

“Fewer than half of the projects examined delivered results meeting the beneficiaries’ needs,” the auditors said in a 43-page report.

“In one case in Nigeria, boreholes and pumps relied on an unreliable electricity grid, with diesel generators installed as back-ups. But the high cost of diesel meant that the back-ups were largely unused and towns returned to using unsafe sources of water.

“The EU spent 1.01 billion euros ($1.3 billion) on water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa from 2001 to 2010, but the World Bank and the United Nations say that between $8 billion and $11.8 billion would be required each year until 2015 to reach the millennium goal on water and sanitation. ($1 = 0.7775 euros)”

read more: Reuters

South Africa Lifts Fracking Moratorium; Citizens Alarmed By U.S. Fracking Examples

Last modified on 2012-09-24 15:51:18 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“The decision to end the moratorium in South Africa, which may have the fifth largest supply of natural gas in the world, has ignited another phase of opposition to fracking, as citizens demand more research and public education.

The Karoo, an arid farming region in the Eastern Cape of the country is where most of the natural gas is located. People concerned about how fracking affects farming and the water supply have raised red flags about the ANC’s ties to Royal Dutch Shell, the largest stakeholder in the gas reserves, which has other political parties in South Africa crying foul.”

Read more: Alternet


‘Big flush’ ordered amid Zimbabwe water shortage

Last modified on 2013-12-09 23:18:30 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Retrieved from: AFP

“The Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo has ordered its residents to flush toilets at the same time once a week to prevent blockages during frequent periods of water rationing, the mayor said on Saturday.

“Bulawayo’s chronic water shortages force the city authorities to order rationing, which reduces the amount of water getting into the sewer system.

“We are going to have a big flush every Monday to push all the waste that would have accumulated during the water rationing,” said Thaba Moyo, mayor of Bulawayo.

“It means everybody has to flush their toilet at the stipulated time which will be 7:30pm. This is done to prevent any sewer blockages as we anticipate longer periods without water” in the sewer system, he said.

“He said residents could also flush their toilets at other times of day.

Currently the city rations water for 72 hours each week.

“Mr Moyo said Bulawayo’s chief engineer suggested the simultaneous flush.

“We are urging residents to bear with us as this is nobody’s fault,” Mr Moyo said.

“It’s a national problem. Most cities are having water shortages, and we are hoping that the supplies will last until the rainy season and pray that we have good rains.”

“Poor hygiene and sanitation have caused numerous disease outbreaks in Zimbabwe in recent years.

“The problem is especially acute in suburbs, some of which go for weeks without running water as cities battle to maintain services.”

Read more: ABC


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Beyond Big Dams: Turning to Grass Roots Solutions on Water

Last modified on 2012-09-14 16:11:17 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“Cheap pumps and new ways of powering them are transforming farming and boosting income all over Africa and Asia,” says Meredith Giordano, lead author of a three-year research project looking at how smallholder farmers are turning their backs on governments and finding their own solutions to water problems.

“We were amazed at the scale of what is going on,” Giordano says. Indian farmers have an estimated 20 million pumps at work watering their fields. As many as 200 million Africans benefit from the crops they water. And in addition to pumps, she notes, “simple tools for drilling wells and capturing rainwater have enabled many farmers to produce more crops in the dry season, hugely boosting their incomes.”

Read more: Yale Environment 360

Villagers Sue Diamond Firms for Pollution in Zimbabwe

Last modified on 2012-09-11 20:33:45 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) and villagers living along Save River are seeking a court order to bar three diamond mining companies in Marange district from polluting water sources.
ZELA is a common law trust established to promote environmental justice in the country. In a High Court application last week, ZELA and the villagers alleged that Anjin Investments (Chinese corporation that recently replaced striking workers with child laborers), Marange Resources (owned by corrupt billionaire Mhlanga) and Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) were polluting Save, Singwizi and Odzi rivers with sewage, chemicals and metal deposits.

ZELA said the discharges by Anjin, Marange Resources and DMC exposed inhabitants of villages living along the banks of Odzi, Singwizi and Save Rivers to risks of contracting diseases such as cancer, cholera and typhoid.”

Read more: Earth First!


Women Spend 40 Billion Hours Collecting Water

Last modified on 2012-09-10 15:50:04 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“As the weeklong international conference on water concluded Friday, it was left to one of the keynote speakers from the United Nations to focus on a much neglected perspective on water and food security: the role of women.

Lakshmi Puri, deputy executive director of U.N. Women, told delegates that development can be neither sustainable nor inclusive if it does not free women and girls from “carrying heavy buckets of water every day”.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 71 percent of the burden of collecting water for households falls on women and girls, says the U.N.’s 2012 report on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Currently, women in sub-Saharan Africa spend an average of about 200 million hours per day collecting water, and a whopping 40 billion hours per year, according to the U.N. Development Programme.

“And that’s a billion with a B,” Puri emphasised to IPS hours after she made an impassioned plea for gender equality and women’s empowerment in relation to food and water security.

Speaking at the closing session of the conference, she pointed out that although women carry, literally and metaphorically, most water-related tasks – playing a key role in food production, especially in subsistence farming, and performing most of the unpaid care work -their participation in decision-making processes on water and food management remains very low.”

Read more: IPS


Zimbabwe: Harare Still Dogged By Water Crisis

Last modified on 2012-09-10 15:27:45 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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“In Kambuzuma, residents said they had had intermittent water supplies for two months. They said their taps were always dry, save for a few days, where the service was restored during the night, only for the taps to run dry before 5am.

Children found fetching water at a borehole in Kambuzuma Section 1 yesterday said they made several trips to the borehole in a single day, as they helped their parents with household chores.

Nine-year-old Tsitsi Tamangani, who is a Grade Four pupil at a primary school in the suburb, said she and her friends were not enjoying the schools holiday as they had to fetch water most of the time.”

Read more: All Africa


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