Tag Archive for 'world water supply'

Everything You Need to Know About Groundwater

“Groundwater is fresh water located underground in porous soil or fractures in rock formations. Collections of groundwater are called aquifers, and we draw from aquifers for drinking water and water for use in everything form irrigation to agriculture to manufacturing.

“Groundwater pumping is when we pull water from the aquifer for our own use. When we pull more water than is naturally replenished, this is called groundwater mining because we have to drill deeper and deeper into the earth to get at the remaining water.

“Groundwater is a very important source of water for civilizations worldwide, making up about 20% of the world’s fresh water supply. Many cities have gotten used to mining groundwater to sustain its residents. However, as we overuse the resource, pull water faster than aquifers can naturally refill, and continue to pollute groundwater supplies, we’re beginning to face a whole new set of serious problems with this vital resource.

“The more we pump from aquifers, the farther the available water is from the surface of the earth. That means more energy has to go in to mining the water, and the costs begin to outweigh benefits, and our capabilities. When aquifers are mismanaged and too much water is extracted, it can mean the aquifer is no longer a viable source of water and a new source needs to be found. Depending on the available options, it can mean anything from a city moving to energy intensive and environmentally problematic solutions, such as desalination plants, to the community being unable to survive.”

read more: AlterNet

Report lists top ten countries at risk of water shortages

Water scarcity hotspots

The dark shaded countries represent those most vulnerable to water scarcity conflict. Retrieved from: TheEcologist.co.uk

“Depleting water supplies are increasing the risk of both internal and cross-border conflict as competition between industry, agriculture and consumers increases, according to an assessment of world most vulnerable countries.

“The report from the analysts at Maplecroft, says that the ten countries most at risk are: Somalia (1), Mauritania (2), Sudan (3), Niger (4), Iraq (5), Uzbekistan (6), Pakistan (7), Egypt (8), Turkmenistan (9) and Syria (10).
“The ranking was based on an assessment of access to water, water demands and the reliance on external supplies with countries like Mauritania and Niger more than 90 per cent reliant on external water supplies.

“In addition to natural depletion, the report also pointed out the increasing scarcity of water resources due to pollution. The Yellow River Conservancy Committee estimates 34 per cent of the river is unfit for drinking, aquaculture, and agriculture. An estimated 30 per cent of the tributaries of Yangtze River are extremely polluted and in India, 50 per cent of the Yamuna River, the main tributary of the Ganges is extremely polluted.”

read more: TheEcologist

Thirsty Pakistan gasps for water solutions

Karachi, Pakistan, water, Adam Ferguson, urbanization, development, growth

KARACHI: Sewage pours into a storm drain that runs directly to the sea from Lyari District. Amidst accusations of only appointing political supporters to the water board, Mayor Kamal has spent nearly half a billion dollars on water and sewer projects. Retrieved from: Time.com

“Pakistan is facing a “raging“ water crisis that if managed poorly could mean Pakistan would run out of water in several decades, experts say, leading to mass starvation and possibly war.

“The reliance on a single river basin, one of the most inefficient agricultural systems in world, climate change and a lack of a coherent water policy means that as Pakistan’s population expands, its ability to feed it is shrinking.

“Pakistan faces a raging water crisis,” said Michael Kugelman, program associate for South and Southeast Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

“It has some of the lowest per capita water availability in Asia, and in the world as a whole.”

read more: Reuters

Water lessons from Singapore

Domestic water use in Singapore from 1995 to 2009 (liters per person per day) showing improving efficiency of use.

Domestic water use in Singapore from 1995 to 2009 (liters per person per day) showing improving efficiency of use.

“Today, Singapore depends on four different sources of water: about 35% of their water comes from rainfall captured on its own limited territory, about 15% is high-quality recycled water produced by its NEWater treatment plants, 10% comes from desalinated water, and around 40% is water imported from Malaysia.

“As a result of the heavy dependence on Malaysia, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) of Singapore has been working for years to do two key things: reduce the demand for water by improving efficiency and cutting waste; and expanding alternative sources of supply. California could take a lesson from these two approaches. I know that water agencies (state, federal, local, and agricultural) argue the state is already doing these things, but compared to Singapore, California’s efforts are half-hearted.”

Read more: SF Gate

China-India Water Shortage Means Coca-Cola Joins Intel in Fight

“A fight breaks out as student Vikas Dagar jostles with dozens of men, women and children to fill buckets from a truck that brings water twice a week to the village of Jharoda Kalan on the outskirts of New Delhi.

“Three thousand kilometers (1,900 miles) away, near Xi’an in central China, power-plant worker Zhou Jie stands on the mostly dry bed of the Wei River, remembering when he used to fish there before pollution made the catch inedible.

“Dagar and Zhou show the daily struggle with tainted or inadequate water in India and China, a growing shortage that the World Bank says will hamper growth in the world’s fastest- growing major economies. It also is pitting water-intensive businesses such as Intel Corp.’s China unit and bottling plants of Coca-Cola Co.against growing urban use and the 1.6 billion people in China and India who rely on farming for a living.

“Water will become the next big power, not only in China but the whole world,” Li Haifeng, vice president at sewage- treatment company Beijing Enterprises Water Group Ltd., said in a telephone interview. “Wars may start over the scarcity of water.”

read more: Bloomberg

Water pollution expert derides UN sanitation claims

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

Addressing the Global Water Crisis Through Action In Unity For Change

http://houstonist.com/attachments/houston_monica/032207_water.jpg

“By 2050, the population of the planet is projected to be 8.5 billion people. According to the work of Jim Thebaut, we will not be able to sustain ourselves if steps aren’t taken to ensure that water resources are available to people. The San Joaquin Valleyin California grows 1/3 of the agricultural crops that feed Americans. But, droughts are spreading across the Southwest on top of the drought that California is already experiencing. There is an undeniable strain on the world’s resources. This strain will grip the world community tighter if steps aren’t taken to combat climate change, the water crisis, and overpopulation.”

read more: Conducive Chronicle

Aral Sea Almost DRIED UP: UN Chief Calls It ‘Shocking Disaster’

“The drying up of the Aral Sea is one of the planet’s most shocking disasters, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday, as he urged Central Asian leaders to step up efforts to solve the problem.

“Once the world’s fourth-largest lake, the sea has shrunk by 90 percent since the rivers that feed it were largely diverted in a Soviet project to boost cotton production in the arid region.

“The shrunken sea has ruined the once-robust fishing economy and left fishing trawlers stranded in sandy wastelands, leaning over as if they dropped from the air. The sea’s evaporation has left layers of highly salted sand, which winds can carry as far away as Scandinavia and Japan, and which plague local people with health troubles.”

read more: Huffington Post

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

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

The making of World Water Wars

I was horrified to discover that what was happening on our planet now was worse than what we were dreaming up for science fiction

“The night before I was to set out shooting, the sponsor backed out. I was about to wake my wife and tell her that I must quit and return the goods. However, en route to our bedroom, I encountered our three-year old son Ethan in the hall, awakened from his sleep.

“He said, “I’m thirsty.”

“I fetched him a glass of water. I went to bed. I did not tell my wife about the financial situation. I awoke and set out traveling alone; a one-man crew on an adventure that changed me forever.”

read more: ourworld