Category Archives: Water

Two-Thirds of the World Faces Severe Water Shortages

New York Times
NICHOLAS ST. FLEUR

water

About four billion people, or two-thirds of the world’s population, face severe water shortages during at least one month every year, far more than was previously thought, according to Arjen Y. Hoekstra, a professor of water management at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

In a paper published Friday in the journal Science Advances, Dr. Hoekstra and his colleague Mesfin M. Mekonnen designed a computer model to create what they say is a more accurate picture of water scarcity around the world. Severe water scarcity can lead to crop failure and low crop yields, which could cause food price increases as well as famine and widespread starvation. Continue reading Two-Thirds of the World Faces Severe Water Shortages

4 Billion People at Risk as ‘Water Table Dropping All Over the World’

Common Dreams

Global scarcity of key life source far worse than thought, new study finds
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

env5

A new analysis reveals that global water scarcity is a far greater problem than previously thought, affecting 4 billion people—two-thirds of the world’s population—and will be “one of the most difficult and important challenges of this century.”

Previous analyses looked at water scarcity at an annual scale, and had found that water scarcity affected between 1.7 and 3.1 billion people. The new study, published Friday in the journal Science Advances, assessed water scarcity on a monthly basis, more fully capturing the specific times of year when it could be an issue. Continue reading 4 Billion People at Risk as ‘Water Table Dropping All Over the World’

When the City Turned Off Their Water, Detroit Residents and Groups Delivered Help

YES Magazine

Grassroots action has backed down the city’s aggressive water shutoffs.  Larry Gabriel

This article appears in Cities Are Now, the Winter 2015 issue of YES! Magazine.

Activists, including actor Mark Ruffalo, union members, and Detroit residents streamed through downtown Detroit on July 18, 2014, protesting the controversial water shutoffs and calling for local democracy and economic justice. Photo from Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
Activists, including actor Mark Ruffalo, union members, and Detroit residents streamed through downtown Detroit on July 18, 2014, protesting the controversial water shutoffs and calling for local democracy and economic justice. Photo from Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

The Detroit water-rights movement really got into gear when Charity Hicks was taken to jail while trying to stop shut-offs on her block. “It started a windstorm of people rising up and speaking out, knowing what was happening regarding the water,” says Detroit poet and activist Tawana Petty. “She was always instrumental in the water struggle but her personal experience brought it home to everyone.”

Petty is referring to the day in April 2014 when Charity Hicks got up about 6 a.m. and found she had no running water. She looked outside and saw the truck from Homrich Wrecking Inc., a water shut-off contractor. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) had been aggressively shutting off water for residential accounts that were reportedly more than 60 days or $150 overdue. Continue reading When the City Turned Off Their Water, Detroit Residents and Groups Delivered Help

Peru Needs to Know More About its Water in Order to Supply More People With the Valuable Resource

Global Issues

By Milagros Salazar

peru
Technicians from Peru’s national water authority, ANA, inspecting a polluted stretch of river in the department of Huancavelica in south-central Peru. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

LIMA, Jun 10 2014 ([ http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/06/peru-needs-to-know-more-about-its-water-in-order-to-supply-more-people-with-the-valuable-resource/ ]IPS) – Peru urgently needs a national plan for the management of water over the next two decades, one that will take into account the effects of climate change and the social and environmental conflicts triggered by problems over water. In his office surrounded by papers, maps and graphics, Humberto Cruz, an engineer with the national water authority, ANA, told IPS that the country desperately needs a plan to improve the unequal distribution of water and its inefficient use in this South American country.

Cruz and other technicians in ANA spent over a year drawing up a draft plan, which President Ollanta Humala said he would present in March. However, it has not yet been passed by Congress, despite the president’s emphasis of the importance of recognising that access to clean water is a basic right. Continue reading Peru Needs to Know More About its Water in Order to Supply More People With the Valuable Resource

Water and Conflict in Syria

Pacific Institute

Drought, Water and Agricultural Management, and Climatic Conditions are Factors in the Syrian Conflict

May 28, 2014, Oakland, CA: A new research paper evaluates the role of regional drought, unsustainable water management policies, and climatic conditions in contributing to the severe conflict in Syria in the past few years. The paper (“Water, Drought, Climate Change, and Conflict in Syria,” by Dr. Peter H. Gleick), coming out in the July issue of the American Meteorological Society journal Weather, Climate, and Society, concludes that the many factors influencing the severe violence in Syria include long-standing political, religious, and social ideological disputes; economic dislocations from both global and regional factors; and the consequences of water shortages influenced by drought, ineffective watershed management, and the growing influence of climate variability and change. Improvements in water-use efficiency and productivity in agriculture, better management and monitoring of groundwater resources, and comprehensive international agreements on managing and sharing the rivers that cross political borders are key to mitigating these risks.

Starting in 2006 and lasting through 2011, Syria suffered the worst long-term drought and the most severe set of crop failures in recorded history. The decrease in water availability, water mismanagement, agricultural failures, and related economic deterioration contributed to population dislocations and the migration of rural communities to nearby cities. These factors further contributed to urban unemployment, economic dislocations, food insecurity for more than a million people, and subsequent social unrest. Continue reading Water and Conflict in Syria

Africa loses $50bn a year in plundered resources

Mail & Guardian

Lynley Donnelly  

Clamping down on illicit plundering of food and natural resources could curb Africa’s food shortages, says the latest Africa Progress Panel report.

African Forest and Fisheries
African Forest and Fisheries

Africa’s forests and fisheries, which could be an answer to the continent’s food shortages and dire poverty levels, are instead being stripped illicitly to the tune of almost $20-billion each year.

When added to the losses the continent is experiencing as a result of other illicit outflows, $50-billion is lost overall each year, or 5.7% of sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP).

This is according to findings from the latest Africa Progress Panel report released on Thursday. It was scheduled to launch in Abuja, Nigeria, where the [ http://mg.co.za/article/2014-05-07-world-economic-forum-on-africa-opens-in-nigeria ]World Economic Forum on Africa is being held, but the launch was moved to London because of rising security concerns.

Senegal was estimated to lose as much as $300-million or 2% of its national GDP to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing alone in 2012, according to the report.

Continue reading Africa loses $50bn a year in plundered resources

Fossil Fuel Giants Guzzling World’s Water as Poor Go Thirsty: UN

Common Dreams

‘Great political clout’ of energy industry trumps those in need of drinking water
– Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Creative Commons license)An unrelenting increase in energy production, including unconventional methods such as tar sands extraction and fracking, will severely damage the world's already dwindling water supply, the UN warned on Friday. (Flickr / Vinoth Chandar /
Creative Commons license)An unrelenting increase in energy production, including unconventional methods such as tar sands extraction and fracking, will severely damage the world’s already dwindling water supply, the UN warned on Friday. (Flickr / Vinoth Chandar /

“There is an increasing potential for serious conflict between power generation, other water users and environmental considerations,” says the World Water Development Report 2014: Water and Energy (pdf), published on the eve of World Water Day.

The energy sector, which has “great political clout,” the report states, is set to consume an unfair share of this limited resource, “despite ongoing progress in the development of renewable.” The report continues:

Continue reading Fossil Fuel Giants Guzzling World’s Water as Poor Go Thirsty: UN