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
Retrieved from: Gadda
“Oil-rich Arab countries are the most “water stressed” in the world, according to a new analysis, and they are turning to buying water-rich land in other countries to secure their food supply.
“Maplecroft, a research firm, identifies Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as world’s most water-stressed countries, defined as those with the least available water per capita. It calculated the ratio of domestic, industrial and agricultural water consumption, against renewable supplies of water from precipitation, rivers and groundwater.
“As a means of offsetting shortfalls, India, South Korea and China, along with the oil-rich Gulf states, are acquiring water-rich land for agricultural purposes in developing countries to ensure the security of food supplies and decouple themselves from volatility in global food prices,” says Tom Styles, a Maplecroft analyst. “This recent phenomenon, dubbed ‘land grab,’ is taking place on a huge scale across many countries in Africa, especially those involved in post-conflict reconstruction with poor development.”
“Water stress is a major issue for the large emerging economies, including India and South Korea, which are both categorized as high-risk countries in the Maplecroft index. China is rated medium risk.
“The firm says water shortages in these countries have the potential to constrain economic development and create social unrest if dwindling resources result in higher prices and limited access for their populations.
“Hence the “land grab.”
Read more: market watch