Tag Archive for 'middle east'

Kerry Panel Warns of Central Asia Water Wars

Photo retrieved from: www.mnto.org

“As water demand for food production and electricity generation increases, in part as a result of the quickening pace of climate change, so too must our efforts to provide water security,” he said. While much of the current U.S. focus is on Afghanistan and Pakistan — including some high-profile water projects — Kerry noted that the well-being of neighboring countries like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan will become increasingly important.

The report comes as the Obama administration fights to retain diplomatic funding for Afghanistan’s civil reconstruction and money to help Pakistan recover from devastating floods suffered last year. Mindful of the bitter budget fights looming before the Senate, the study does not make any specific spending recommendations. Rather, it concentrates on assistance that the United States can provide inexpensively or via already-existing mechanisms like workshops to offer technical expertise.

Climate change making a bad situation worse

A Kerry aide said the committee will likely go on to examine water issues in other parts of the globe, but wanted to start with the region that consumes the biggest bulk of U.S. foreign assistance. Based on staff travel and interviews in the region, the report focuses on the Amu Darya River Basin, shared by Afghanistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and the Indus River Basin, which hosts a major network of rivers flowing between India and Pakistan.”

Read more: Climatewire

What Does The Arab World Do When Its Water Runs Out?

Photo retrieved from: www.guardian.co.uk

“Poverty, repression, decades of injustice and mass unemployment have all been cited as causes of the political convulsions in the Middle East and north Africa these last weeks. But a less recognised reason for the turmoil in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and now Iran has been rising food prices, directly linked to a growing regional water crisis.

The diverse states that make up the Arab world, stretching from the Atlantic coast to Iraq, have some of the world’s greatest oil reserves, but this disguises the fact that they mostly occupy hyper-arid places. Rivers are few, water demand is increasing as populations grow, underground reserves are shrinking and nearly all depend on imported staple foods that are now trading at record prices.

For a region that expects populations to double to more than 600 million within 40 years, and climate change to raise temperatures, these structural problems are political dynamite and already destabilising countries, say the World Bank, the UN and many independent studies.”

Read more: Guardian

Dam burst destroys Kazakh village

“At least 35 people have been killed after a dam broke in southern Kazakhstan, unleashing a flood that destroyed a village, officials said.

“Torrential rains and rising temperatures triggered the reservoir’s burst that left hundreds of homes in ruins on Friday in the village of Kyzyl-Agash near Almaty, Kazakhstan’s biggest city.”

read more: Al Jazeera

Drought Threatens Syria Economy as Refugees Flee Parched Farms

“The lack of water has caused more than 800,000 people in eastern Syria to lose “almost all of their livelihoods and face extreme hardship,” according to an Aug. 11 report by the UN humanitarian office. About 80 percent of the hardest hit “live on a diet consisting of bread and sugared tea,” the report said.”

“I’m used to this, water is as hard to get for us as gold.”

read more: businessweek

Land sinking as Dead Sea shrinks

The Dead Sea in Jordan is shrinking at an alarming rate – a development that has led to the creation of some 3,000 sinkholes along the sea’s coasts.

The sea has shrunk by a third since the 1960s when its major water source – the River Jordan – was diverted for upstream projects in Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

But for many people, the projects have backfired and the farmers who work near the sea say the once verdant and fertile land has become increasingly barren.

Al Jazeera: Land Sinking as Dead Sea Shrinks