Tag Archive for 'water crisis'

The South Pacific’s water crisis And not a drop to drink

Retrieved from: The Economist

“ONE canary in the climate-change coalmine may have just quietly fallen from her perch. The tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has declared a state of emergency after a fresh water shortage forced it to shutter its schools and hospitals and begin water rationing across the country. Observers blame the shortage on the changing weather patterns and rising sea levels associated with climate change—and warn they could be a sign of things to come for the whole region.

“Climate scientists have linked the episode to a weather event known as La Niña, which has brought with it a punishing drought. Families who already rely almost solely on rainwater have been rationed to two buckets per day. The Red Cross and the New Zealand Defence Force have flown in water and desalination machines, but even so the government warns that Tuvalu has less than five days’ drinking water left.

“Even worse: nearby Samoa, which has a population 15 times that of Tuvalu and Tokelau combined, has begun to ration water in parts of its territory for the same reasons. The freshwater crisis racking the region, which The Red Cross calls “dire, with rain not expected for the next couple of months”, shows no signs of abating and every indication of spreading throughout the region’s fragile eco-system.”

Read more: The Economist


Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050: study

Photo retrieved from: cdn.wn.com

“More than one billion urban residents will face serious water shortages by 2050 as climate change worsens effects of urbanization, with Indian cities among the worst hit, a study said Monday.

“The shortage threatens sanitation in some of the world’s fastest-growing cities but also poses risks for wildlife if cities pump in water from outside, said the article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The study found that under current urbanization trends, by mid-century some 993 million city dwellers will live with less than 100 liters (26 gallons) each day of water each — roughly the amount that fills a personal bathtub — which authors considered the daily minimum.

“Adding on the impact of climate change, an additional 100 million people will lack what they need for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing and toilet use.

“”Don’t take the numbers as destiny. They’re a sign of a challenge,” said lead author Rob McDonald of The Nature Conservancy, a private environmental group based near Washington.

“”There are solutions to getting those billion people water. It’s just a sign that a lot more investment is going to be needed, either in infrastructure or in water use efficiency,” he said.”

Read more: Brisbane Times

“Hydro-diplomacy” needed to avert Arab water wars

Photo retrieved from: worldlearningnow.files.wordpress.com

“The United Nations should promote “hydro-diplomacy” to defuse any tensions over water in regions like the Middle East and North Africa where scarce supplies have the potential to spark future conflicts, experts said on Sunday.

“They said the U.N. Security Council should work out ways to bolster cooperation over water in shared lakes or rivers, from the Mekong to the Nile, that are likely to come under pressure from a rising world population and climate change.

“The Middle East and North Africa are the regions most at risk of conflict over scarce water supplies, they said, but history shows “water wars” are very rare.

“”We think that water is an issue that would be a appropriate for the U.N. Security Council,” Zafar Adeel, chair of UN-Water, told Reuters ahead of a meeting of experts in Canada this week to discuss water and security.

“U.N. studies project that 30 nations will be “water scarce” in 2025, up from 20 in 1990. Eighteen of them are in the Middle East and North Africa, with Libya and Egypt among those added to the 1990 list that includes Israel and Somalia.”

Read more: Reuters Africa

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

“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

Where California’s Next One Million Acre-Feet of Water Should Come From

Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org

“This is a key time for California water: we are coming off of three years of serious drought and growing political conflict over water allocations. The Legislature passed a comprehensive water bill last November. A major water bond was proposed to fund a wide range of interventions, but has now been tabled for at least two years and could be greatly altered or even scrapped altogether. New reviews from around the state are calling for prompt efforts to use infrastructure, markets, and institutional reform to address the state’s water crisis. All parties agree that the state will need a diverse portfolio of solutions for our diverse and complex water problems.

But the argument that we must do everything at once — conservation, new dams, seawater desalination plants, replumbing the Delta, some of this or that — is disingenuous, and wrong. We must do the most critical and effective things first, from a technical, political, and economic perspective.

And the most effective thing, hands down, is improving water-use efficiency. The Pacific Institute has just released a new analysis that recommends a set ofspecific actions that can annually save a million acre-feet of water quickly and at a lower economic and ecological cost than developing new supplies. These water savings are split 30/70 between the urban and agricultural sectors.

A million acre-feet is a lot of water. A million acre-feet is nearly 12 times the city of San Francisco’s annual water use and 1.6 times LA’s annual water use. It is equivalent to the flow of 890 million gallons of water per day. It is enough water to irrigate all the grain produced in California annually. ”

Read more: AlterNet

What’s the Single Biggest Misuse of Water in the US?

“Go to your tap and turn it on. Most likely, the second you turn the faucet handle, water gushes out. That alone might make you think there’s not a water crisis happening right now in America. Or at least that if there is, it’s not that bad. But you’d be wrong. In fact, from our infrastructure that wastes water supplies and doesn’t allow rainwater to soak back into the ground table, to our lack of measurement and management of our water use, we’re on a fast track to having very little drinkable water in the very near future. Author Robert Glennon addresses this very issue in his new book Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It. We asked Glennon his thoughts on some of the most pertinent issues facing us right now, and he provided some insight into what has to change, and how we can do it, so that we can ensure supplies of water for everything from human consumption to agriculture to manufacturing in the decades to come.

“We Americans are spoiled. Turn on the tap and out comes as much water as we want, for less than we pay for cell phone service or cable television. We must change this situation.

“We must recognize a human right to water for life’s necessities. The richest country in the history of the world can surely make that commitment to its citizens. Honoring that right does not involve a large quantity of water–only about 1% of the water that is used each day in the United States. For the other 99%, we need to encourage conservation and stewardship by pricing it appropriately: in general, the more you use the more you pay. Under this system, Americans, whether homeowners, farmers or industry would vote with their pocketbooks as to how they use water.”

read more: AlterNet

Drought in Philippines Forces Blackouts

“Low reservoir levels have caused several hydroelectric plants to shut down or cut operations in the Southeast Asian country.

“Such risks occur when countries rely heavily on hydroelectric power without adequate backup generating capacity.”

read more: Circle of Blue

China declares drought emergency

“China has declared an emergency in eight northern and central drought-hit regions, where nearly four million people are suffering water shortages.

“China’s drought relief office called it an event “rarely seen in history”.”

read more: BBC News

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

Water crisis triggers violent protest in Mumbai

“We want the common man’s water woes should end. Today BMC is saying that there is less water but when there was enough water what did they do? where was the water stored and why was water harvesting not done?”

read more: One India