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Sustainability and Water
August 12, 2010


Water tables all over the world are falling, as "world water demand has tripled over the last" 50 years. When these aquifers are depleted, food production worldwide will fall.
March 2003   Earth Policy Institute 008045
World Creating Food Bubble Economy Based on Unsustainable Use of Water.   March 2003   Earth Policy Institute
The World Water Forum begins in mid-March in Japan. Although the main interest of the 10,000 participants is water scarcity, they will indirectly be discussing food scarcity, since 70% of the world's fresh water is used for irrigation. Water tables all over the world are falling, as "world water demand has tripled over the last" 50 years. When these aquifers are depleted, food production worldwide will fall. These aquifers are inexorably being depleted in ways that are "largely invisible, historically recent, and growing fast", and "the near-simultaneous depletion of aquifers means that cutbacks in grain harvests will ... ... in many countries at more or less the same time". The aquifers of China, India and the US, which together produce one half of the world's grain, are rapidly being depleted. The water tables of China, India, Pakistan, Mexico and Yemen are dropping by 1 to 3 meters per year, as are those of the US, especially in the southern Great Plains where "thousands of farms ... have gone dry". Since one ton of grain requires 1000 tons of water, this water deficit will cross international borders in the form of increasing grain prices worldwide. "Importing grain is the most efficient way to import water". Grain shortages are likely to occur soon in China, where the grain harvest is shrinking as a combined result of "aquifer depletion, the diversion of irrigation water to cities and lower grain support prices". This could "destabilize world grain markets." There are 4 potential solutions to the problem of increasing water deficits. Raising irrigation efficiency and recycling urban wastewater is being practiced with some success in some countries. More permanent solutions require raising water productivity and, most importantly, stabilizing the world's population.  st 005754
Water: Local Action For Global Challenge.   January 19, 2006   Graphic Ghana
Providing potable water to communities, especially among developing nations is a major problem. Even where there is availability of water, conveying it to communities that need it becomes an issue. Provision of drinking water is expensive and difficult. Unsafe water sources have accounted for preventable diseases in rural communities. In many countries water is shared with cattle, which has serious implications on human health. The World Water Commission reported to that an estimated investment of US$100 billion a year was needed for the water sector, in addition to the current expenditure of US$80 billion over the next 25 years. Already there are about 450 million people in 29 countries, who are facing water shortages, and chasing fewer sources of fresh water. Approximately 1.2 billion people don’t have access to potable water and 2.4 billion people lack access to sanitation services. The water crisis has also affected health matters of many people and at the moment, it is estimated that half the hospital beds in the world are being occupied by patients who are suffering from water related illnesses. About 200 million people are infected with dysentery, 20 million of whom are seriously ill. A study has shown that it is possible to reduce the number of incidents by 77%, through water and sanitation interventions. The average distance undertaken by African and Asian women and children to gain access to water is approximately six kilometres. Agriculture also has effect on water since intensive cultivation of crops causes chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides to trickle down into the groundwater. The routine application of fertilizers and pesticides are being recognized as water pollution. Waste water from manufacturing as well as chemical processes in industries have also contributed to water pollution. In 2000, the WHO estimated that of the world’s six billion people, at least 1.1 billion do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion live without access to sanitation systems. An estimated 14,000 to 30,000, most being children, die everyday from avoidable water related diseases. It is important that governments develop cost effective methods to ensure safe drinking water for everyone. In order to move towards sustainability, industries must be assured of having adequate water supply but must see that water use in industrial processes is handled efficiently. Policy makers need to allocate water to satisfy environmental demands. Water managers could improve the sustainability and productivity of irrigated systems, by considering groundwater availability when allocating surface water for irrigation.  rw    016223
California's Water: a Vanishing Resource; Agencies Adopt Water Diets.   October 11, 2009   San Diego Union-Tribune
California is entering its fourth straight year of drought, and water agencies are establishing permanent rules to reduce use even after the rains and snow return.

By January, cities statewide are supposed to have regulations that limit the amount of water used for landscape irrigation in future commercial and residential projects. Developers will have to abide by a water "budget" for each property.

Some water providers also are proceeding with rules to increase the number of individual meters in apartments, where residents typically pay a flat rate for water and don't know how much they use.

The Governor and lawmakers are aiming for legislation that would pay for building reservoirs and restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the main waterway from the north to the south.

Other legislation would force owners of most residential and commercial real estate built before 1994 to bring plumbing up to current requirements for water conservation. This measure could trim use in those homes and buildings by 35%.

In San Diego County, conservation mandates drove down consumption more than 10%.

Gray-water systems and water meters are two popular measures with environmentalists. Attention is also being paid to drought-tolerant plants.   Karen Gaia says: Of course, the more people we have in California, the shorter showers we will have to take. In parts of Ethiopia, there is little or no water for bathing, flies abound, and blindness from flies is a common occurrence. But then we can always fool ourselves by believing that technology will take care of it. 024189

Peak Water.   September 2009   TheBurningPlatform.com
Since the earth is 70% covered by water, and the water cycle replenishes water on a continuous basis, the idea of 'peak water' may seem strange for most people.

Glaciers are melting and oceans are rising, which means water will be more plentiful. But it is the location of the water that matters. Shortages in the wrong places could lead to food shortages, famine, and starvation in those regions, and effect the economic future of nations.

Many politicians have ignored resource issues for the last 30 years of debt- financed good times with relatively low prices for all natural resources and commodities.

Investment manager Jeremy Grantham says "We must prepare ourselves for waves of higher resource prices and periods of shortages unlike anything we have faced outside of wartime conditions."

Comparing peak oil to peak water:

While oil is non-renewable and limited, it is replaceable by other more costly alternatives; water is renewable and relatively unlimited, but there is no substitute and it is only useful in the precise places.

Oil is finite, while water is literally finite, but nearly unlimited at a cost.

Long-distance transport of oil is economically viable while with water it is not.

If the world's population grows from 6.7 billion people to 7.5 billion by 2020 - a possible projection by the U.N., water use would increase by 40% to support the food requirements of the additional people. 1.8 billion people would be living in regions with extreme water scarcity.

Since the U.S. is an exporter of wheat, soybeans, rice and corn ($80 billion worth in 2008), drought or additional consumption in the areas where these crops are grown would have worldwide implications.

70% of the globe is covered by water, but most of it is saltwater. Desalinization can convert saltwater into freshwater, but it is only useful on coastlines and is 15 times more expensive than natural freshwater.

2% of the earth's water is considered freshwater, most of which is locked up in glaciers, permanent snow cover and in deep groundwater.

Challenges of freshwater:

* Uneven distribution on the planet

* Economic and physical constraints of tapping glacial water

* Contamination of supplies

* High distribution costs

Regional scarcity solutions are not easy:

* Reduce demand

* Move the demand to where water is available.

* Shift to costly sources, such as desalinization.

In the Southwest U.S., much of it desert, solutions are difficult. Lake Mead, the country's largest artificial body of water, which provides water to Arizona, California, Nevada and northern Mexico is dangerously depleted. Housing developments in this region have been stopped by lack of water.

On the Colorado River there is more water allocated than there is water, which is not a problem as long as some people are willing to sell their water. For example, Chevron leases water from its shale oil project to the city of Las Vegas for drinking water. The day may come when Chevron won't extend the lease.

Many areas are using ground water that will be used up entirely in just a few decades.

In the U.S., suburban sprawl, with its lawns and ponds, has put intense pressure on local water supplies. In drought years Maryland, Virginia and the District fight over the Potomac water - lawns sucking up 85% of the river's flow. 67 million more people are expected to inhabit the United States by 2030, making water shortages even more severe.

In the midwest, parts of the Ogallala Aquifer - the great underground reservoir stretching from Texas to South Dakota - has started to run dry. "When you go to your house and turn the shower on and there is no water, it's a serious situation'" a farmer says.

In the last 10 years there has been a steady erosion in the amount of grain grown per capita. With developing countries growing rapidly, the need for imports of grain could drive up the cost of food everywhere.

The Chinese are converting farmland to industrial uses, while at the same time demanding more meat and grains in their diet. The price spike in 2007 and 2008 is a sign of a costly future for consumers. According to the U.N. in 2008, global food reserves were at their lowest level in 30 years

We should call them peak cheap oil and peak cheap water, instead of just peak oil and peak water, because the cost of producing or supplying them will continue to rise.

Food shortages and skyrocketing commodity prices are inevitable, with peak water playing significant role. The evidence is before our eyes:

* Droughts in key farming belt areas

* Less snow pack in the mountains

* Contamination of freshwater sources by industrial waste

* Soil erosion

* Depletion of underground aquifers

* Higher oil prices, fertilizer costs, food transportion

* Bio-fuels as an energy source.

* Worldwide population growth

* Middle class enrichment of diets worldwide.

We know that peak oil is the more likely trigger for armed conflict. For example, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor because the U.S. was cutting off its oil supply. The Middle East, Russia, Brazil, Canada have the oil, while the United States, China, Europe, Japan need the oil. The struggle resulting from peak water is not yet on the radar screen, but is coming up. 024147

Our Water Supply, Down the Drain.   August 23, 2009   Washington Post
In the United States, we worry about oil shortages, water is another important limited natural resource, in many parts of the country.

In 2008, the nearly 5 million people in metro Atlanta came close to its principal water supply drying up. The lake may no longer be used as a municipal supply since Alabama and Florida are contending the use of the water.

Over 30 states are fighting with neighboring states over water.

In Florida lakes are drying up due to groundwater depletion from overpumping. Low river flows in the Catawba River in South Carolina prevented a paper company from discharging its wastewater, resulting workers being furloughed. North Carolina is fighting with South Caroline over the water in that river.

Fully loaded freighters cannot float in Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. The Ipswich River near Boston was without water in five of the last eight years. In 2007, Orme, Tennessee, ran out of water altogether; it trucks in water from Alabama.

The amount of water is not the problem. It's population growth. California had a major drought in 1992, that hasn't stopped the state from adding 7 million people. Atlatnta Georgia sees 100,000 people added each year. The U.S. is expected to add 120 million people in the next four decades.

Suprisingly, some forms of renewable energy also present water problems. Refining one gallon of ethanol requires four gallons of water. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to grow enough corn to refine one gallon of ethanol.

Water shortages have been alleviated in the U.S. by diverting more from rivers, building dams or drilling groundwater wells, but now many of these rivers dry up each year. And we're pumping so much water from wells that the levels in aquifers are plummeting. We're running out of technological fixes.

Some dreamers are planning to get water from British Columbia or tow icebergs from Alaska, but they overlook the immense costs and significant environmental impacts of such grandiose proposals.

Solutions include desalination of ocean water, reuse of municipal waste and aggressive conservation strategies. Desalination and reclaiming waste water are both expensive, but aggressive conservation programs have reduced consumption dramatically.

But it's not enough. We need to pay for our water. 024144

Mexico Hit by Lowest Rainfall in 68 Years .   August 20, 2009   Planet Ark
More than 1,000 cattle have been lost due to lack of rainfall, and up to 20 million tons of crops managed by 3.5 million small farmers are at risk of being lost, and the government has been forced to slow the flow of water to the crowded capital, due to a lowest in 68 years rainfall. 80 of Mexico's 175 largest reservoirs are less than half full.

The arid northwest region of Mexico has been hardest hit, along with the central part of the country surrounding Mexico City where 20 million people live.

Trucks are delivering water to some parts of the capital where cuts have made the flow of water intermittent.

In neighboring Guatemala, the government is distributing emergency food to 56,000 families whose crops have been damaged.

"How much of this phenomenon is from El Nino? How much is from climate change? The best thing is to hope for the best but prepare for the worst," a water official said. 024120

U.S.: Region's Growth Problem Only Getting Larger; Advocates Push for Controlling Growth, Not Just Managing it.   May 05, 2009   Chesapeake Bay Journal
The 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement said "There is a clear correlation between population growth and associated development and environmental degradation in the Chesapeake Bay system."

The steady march of people into the Chesapeake Bay region has resulted in more roads, subdivisions and businesses to serve them. Sprawl has transformed forest and farmland into large-lot subdivisions with unprecedented speed, creating long commutes for its new residents along with a diminished sense of place.

Streams and rivers, stripped of protective forests, are degraded by stormwater runoff. More than 750,000 acres of forests fell to development between 1982 and 1997-an area 20 times the size of the District of Columbia.

The collective impact of growth still threatens to slow or halt-or even reverse-Bay restoration efforts.

In the years since those efforts took place in the mid-1980s, nearly 3 million more people have arrived in Bay's watershed. They consume forests and farmland, and generate pollution. The human population of the Bay watershed is approaching 17 million.

Author/conservationist Tom Horton says in a paper titled 'Growing! Growing! Gone! The Chesapeake Bay and the Myth of Endless Growth' that those charged with protecting the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay have accepted the fatally flawed assumptions that "Growth is good. Growth is necessary. Growth will come. Growth can be accommodated."

Most people view economic growth as necessary and population growth as unstoppable. Horton questions growth itself. "It's hypocritical to take people's money to restore the Bay while ignoring how many people live around the Bay and the growth projections for the future," Horton said.

The Chesapeake 2000 agreement warned that growth might "eclipse" any gains the region had made in protecting the Bay.

By 2007, the EPA announced that nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from developed and developing land is adding pollution to the Bay faster than existing programs can control it.

In March, the Bay Program's annual status report said that human activity is "overwhelming nature and offsetting cleanup efforts."

"Smart growth is still growth," Horton said. "Environmental groups want to focus on behaviors, not the number of people out there behaving. There's nothing wrong with that, but they are ignoring a big part of the problem."

The assumption that "growth is good" leads state and local governments to pursue growth even as its citizens complain about the impacts on traffic, schools, water treatment systems and open space. Elected officials who champion the Bay can also find themselves supporting projects that create more pollution.

Maryland, for example, has welcomed a large influx of military jobs through the Base Realignment and Closure process. BRAC could bring an estimated 28,000 new households and a combination of 60,000 military and civilian jobs to the state by 2011. Touted as an economic boon, the state must now grapple with BRAC-driven needs for roads, schools, public transportation and stormwater controls with a budget that already feels the pangs of recession. At the same time, the state continues to put funds and energy into restoring the Bay and shares the Bay Program's burden to stem pollution from developed land.

Horton said that growth should give way to stability-in terms of the economy, population and land use. He argues that stability could provide a high quality of life and a better relationship with the natural world, without the high costs extracted by growth.

Experts call it a "steady-state" economy. It's been an academic concept since the 18th century, but never part of the mainstream dialogue.

A steady-state economy depends on balance, with the right number of jobs, goods and services for a relatively stable population. The growth economy, on the other hand, depends on more people to consume ever larger amounts of products and natural resources.

"We have to be clear that we are not talking about fewer jobs," Horton said. "There's a difference between economic development, which generates jobs, and economic growth, which physically expands the human footprint."

"We would still be innovating and developing," Horton said, "just like a person grows mentally, spiritually, and maybe even more physically fit, even though they aren't growing taller or fatter."

Still, given the current economy, that's a tough sell. Americans equate growth with jobs and purchasing power. In an economy that's lacking both, growth seems important.

Daly believes that growth helped to cause the recession and won't lead to sustainable solutions. "There was too much borrowing against the future," Daly said. "This, I think, is the thrust of growth."

A steady-state economy recognizes boundaries. This challenges the U.S. notion of freedom. Most people accept the principle of growth, if not its outcomes, because they associate it with freedom and a persistent sense that "more" must be better.

Horton calls that a myth. Limits exist already, and unending growth will bring more. "I defy anyone to show me a place that has grown while making fewer rules," he said. "Yes, we have all these freedoms, but if you pursue any of them to excess it limits others. If you are free to build where ever you want, you limit hunting, bird watching and other uses of the land. What we seek is a balance, and right now we are way out of balance."

In a steady-state economy, balance also requires a stable population.

In the Bay watershed, the human population has been growing for centuries and picked up speed in the 20th century, when it gained more than 10 million people. In 2000, the total population stood at roughly 15.7 million. Today's population is approximately 16.8 million and it may reach 20 million by 2030.

This year, Negative Population Growth hopes to rally student involvement to halt the surge of population growth in the Bay region. The campaign includes radio station advertising and a free poster showing the connection between population growth and "overdevelopment." More than 1,500 schools in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. received the poster.

Donald Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, agreed that growth can't continue without limits. But he does not see human population as a pressing problem for the Bay.

"Land development has grown at about five times the rate of the population," Boesch said. "It's not driven solely or even principally by population growth."

Immigrants from outside the United States play a role in population growth, but Boesch said that they do not contribute to sprawl. "For the most part, those folks are not buying in the outlying suburb housing developments," Boesch said. "Their economic status and cultural interests don't require expansive land development."

But taken as a whole, the population of the Bay region is both soaring and sprawling.

William Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, says "The number of people is absolutely at the heart of environmental degradation on this planet," Baker said. "And we consume more, which means that we pollute more."

"Growth for growth's sake is a Ponzi scheme doomed to failure," Baker said. "It's built on a house of cards."

"I think there are plenty of economists out there who can tell you that growth is not the answer to poverty, it's not the answer to affordable housing, and it's not the answer to environmental problems," Horton said. "So let's analyze whether growth is good or not and try to envision our lives without growth as the prime directive."

The Chesapeake Bay watershed gained more than 10 million people during the 20th century. From 1950 to the present, the population has grown by more than 1 million people every 10 years. Today's population is approximately 16.8 million and may reach 20 million by 2030.

Since 2000, "natural increase"-more births than deaths-has been the largest source of population growth for the Bay region as a whole, accounting for 60.65 percent of the growth. International migration, at 29.68 percent, is the second largest source of growth, followed by the domestic migration of Americans moving into the region, at 9.67 percent. Although the rate of population growth has slowed over the last three years, the total number of people continues to climb.   Karen Gaia says: Donald Boesch is only thinking of the sprawl aspect of population growth. He overlooks the water pollution aspect altogether - not completely related to land use. 023952

Climate Change Drying Up Big Rivers, Study Finds.   April 21, 2009   Reuters
According to the American Meteorological Society and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, The Yellow River in northern China, the Ganges in India, the Niger in West Africa, and the Colorado in the southwestern United States, among others, are losing water. These are in some of the world's most populated regions.

The causes are mainly climate change and population growth. The flow was found to decrease as population needs increase.

Damming, irrigation and other water use were other factors that could add up to a threat to future supplies of food and water.

"Reduced runoff is increasing the pressure on freshwater resources in much of the world, especially with more demand for water as population increases."

The research looked at records of river flow in 925 big rivers from 1948 to 2004, finding significant changes in about a third of the world's largest rivers. Rivers with decreased flow outnumbered those with increased flow by 2.5 to 1.

Freshwater discharge into the Pacific Ocean fell by about 6% - the equivalent of the Mississippi River water flows each year.

Annual river flow into the Indian Ocean dropped by about 3% during the 56-year period.

The Columbia River in the U.S. Northwest lost about 14% of its water volume from 1948 to 2004, due mostly to reduced precipitation and higher water usage.

On the other hand, the Mississippi River drains 22% more water since 1948 due to increased precipitation in the Midwest.

Arctic Ocean water derived from melting ice rose about 10% annually. Increased warming since the 1970s has caused earlier spring seasons with earlier snow melt and higher river flows in the western United States and New England and earlier breakup of river-ice in Russian Arctic rivers and many Canadian rivers. 024236

Dry Taps in Mexico City: a Water Crisis Gets Worse.   April 11, 2009  
In one of the most serious water shortages in sprawling Mexico City in recent memory, toilets remained unflushed for the quarter of Mexico City's 20 million urban residents who are without water. Officials have had to ration water of the main reservoir system due to depleting supplies.

The Mexican capital needs to seriously overhaul its water system. The biggest metropolis in the Western hemisphere is becoming an alarming cautionary tale for other megacities. Scientists have warned us about our pumping up too much water while destroying too many forests, and inviting conflict over the precious commodity.

One housewife says "We have got no toilets, I can't wash my children, can't cook, I can't clean the mess off the floor, And the worst thing is, we have got almost nothing to drink."

The thirsty city sits on what was once a great lake, where the Aztecs founded their island citadel in 1325. As the growing population lowers the well water, Mexico City is sinking about three inches a year, putting extra pressure on water distribution pipes, which are now so leaky they lose about 40% of liquid before delivering to homes.

Mexico City relies on a network of reservoirs and treatment plants that pump in water from hundreds of miles around. But rainfall is low, so the system is low. Its main basin is only 47% full, compared 70% average for early April. "This could be caused by climate change and deforestation," says the under director of the National Water Commission. In the April action, the entire system will be shut down for 36 hours.

Poor neighborhoods seem to be affected more than rich. Fleets of water trucks have been sent out. Ramon Aguirre, director of Mexico City's water department, says says the long-term solution involves teaching people to ration their water much better. "We need to educate people from when they are children that water is valuable and needs to be used wisely," he says.

The average Mexico City resident uses 300 liters of waters per day compared to 180 per day in some European cities, "Cheap subsidized water is not helping people. It is giving them a bad service." 023931

Drought Crippling Southwest China, Millions Without Drinking Water.   March 22, 2009   Mongabay.com
Over 50 million people are affected by a severe drought in southwest China. The lack of rain and unseasonably high temperatures has left 16 million people without easy access to drinking water.

Since last autumn many regions have received only half their usual rainfall. The nation expects that nearly a million hectares will not produce crops due to the drought.

China has sent more than 50 million US dollars to the impacted regions and 4,000 troops to aid drought- victims. China has also initiated hundreds of cloud- seeding operations in an effort to force rain in the regions. China's National Meteorological Center told the China Daily that they expected increases in extreme weather across China.

"Extreme weather will be more frequent in the future due to the instability of the atmosphere, and global warming might be the indirect cause," adding that extreme weather events, such as droughts, had increased in severity and frequency since the 1990s in China.

It is not possible to link a single extreme weather- event to climate change — such as one drought — a pattern of increasing and worsening droughts in many parts of the world is expected under climate change scenarios.

The drought is the worst some places have seen in a century.  rw 024372

Act on the World Water Crisis.   March 21, 2009   Sierra Club Global Population and Environment Program
The UN released its third World Water Development Report at the 5th World Water Forum. According to the report, population growth, climate change, reckless irrigation and chronic waste are placing the world's water supplies at serious risk. Tell President Obama to support policies that not only address population growth, but help to increase access to safe drinking water and improve sanitation, especially in the world's poorest nations.  rw 023631
UN: Population Growth, Climate Change Sparking Water Crisis.   March 12, 2009  
Surging population growth, climate change, reckless irrigation and chronic waste are placing the world's water supplies at threat. A grim assessment of the state of the planet's freshwater, described the outlook for coming generations as deeply worrying.

Lack of access to water helps drive poverty and breeds the potential for unrest and conflict. Water is linked to climate change, energy, food supplies and prices and troubled financial markets. Unless their links with water are addressed water crises may worsen into a global crisis and leading to political insecurity.

There were six billion humans in 2000, now risen to 6.5 billion and could scale nine billion by 2050.

Population growth is driving the demand for water, prompting rivers to be tapped for nearly every drop and driving governments to pump out so-called fossil water. These are aquifers that are hundreds of thousands of years old and whose extraction is not being replenished by rainfall. This means depriving future generations of liquid treasure.

There is misuse or abuse of water, through pollution, irrigation, pipe leakage and growing water-craving crops in deserts.

Shifts to weather systems, will alter rainfall patterns and reduce snow melt.

Demographic growth is boosting water stress in countries, where hydrological resources are often meager. The global population is growing by 80 million people a year, 90% in poorer countries. Demand for water is growing by 64 billion cubic metres (2.2 trillion cubic feet) per year.

In the past 50 years, extraction from rivers, lakes and aquifers has tripled. Agriculture accounts for 70% and reaches more than 90% in some developing countries.

Pollution and excessive extraction costs billions of dollars. The UN MDGs set the deadline of 2015 for halving the number of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. The target on drinking water is on track but the tally of people without improved sanitation will have decreased only from 2.5 billion to 2.4 billion.

Conflicts about water can occur at all scales Between 92.4 billion and 148 billion dollars are needed annually to build and maintain water supply systems,

sanitation and irrigation. Sustainable water management is needed with realistic pricing to curb waste. Int India, free or almost-free water has led to waste in irrigation, causing soils to be waterlogged and salt-ridden.  rw 023624

Mexico City Braces for Water Rationing.   March 2009  
Mexico City is launching a rationing plan in an effort to conserve water after development, mismanagement and reduced rainfall caused supplies to drop. Water will be cut or reduced in 10 boroughs in Mexico City plus 11 other municipalities in the state. This affects an estimated 5.5 million people and includes neighborhoods ranging from affluent Lomas de Chapultepec on the western edge of the city to poor, densely populated Iztapalapa in the southeast.

Similar cuts will be carried out every month until the rainy season begins, usually around May. "We are running out of water," a senior official with the National Water Commission, told Mexican radio.

The level at the main reservoir has dipped below 60% of capacity, the lowest in 16 years.

Experts say Mexico has failed to take actions needed to upgrade aqueducts, pipes and treatment plants and has allowed construction projects in areas that should be used for catching runoff and replenishing aquifers.

By one study, 10 million people nationwide do not have access to potable water; many must buy it from water trucks at exorbitant prices. Many Mexico City residents were filling buckets, cisterns and bathtubs to spell them through the weekend.

Polanco is a district where a building boom has stretched municipal resources.

Water is getting more complicated with all the people arriving. Water pressure is good at night, but in the day it gets very low.

Mexico City's population increased sixfold in the last half of the 20th century. Officials said rationing was a stop-gap measure and conservation and investment in water-delivery systems were necessary.  rw 023752

Snow Study Shows California Faces Historic Drought.   January 29, 2009  
A survey of California winter snows shows it is facing one of the worst droughts in its history. The state, is in its third year of drought and its main system supplying water to cities and farms may only be able to fulfill 15% of requests.

"The snowpack is carrying only 61% of the water of normal years. California is headed toward one of the worst water crises in its history, underscoring the need to upgrade the water infrastructure by increasing water storage, improving conveyance, protecting the ecosystem and promoting greater water conservation".

Schwarzenegger said.

The Sierra snowpack alone provides two thirds of California's water supply.

December through January tend to be the wettest months but thus far the Sierra has only received one third of its expected annual snowfall.

This could be a crisis situation, in addition to conservation and rationing it could cause higher prices for produce. Twenty-five local water agencies are mandating rationing. The state Department of Water Resources is arranging water transfers through its Drought Water Bank program and expects to release a full snowpack runoff forecast in two weeks.  rw   Karen Gaia says: California has received much unexpected rain since this survey. Still, with climate change, the problem is likely to come up again next year. 023753

Malaysia: Water Demands Our Attention.   December 22, 2008   New Straits Times
Water experts are saying that in Malaysia the Klang Valley and Putrajaya are going to go thirsty because of rising demand from population pressure, industry, and the degradation of the environment resulting in loss of catchment areas and highland forest cover. River basins are reaching their limits of sustainability. Water supply capacity is barely going to match demand next year in the Klang Valley.

Climate change, ever-increasing population and its demand on the decreasing water resources is a worldwide phenomenon, which to this warning in the 1990s: "If the wars of the 20th century were fought over oil, the wars of the next century will be fought over water."

The Department of Statistics estimates a population of close to 30 million by 2010 and water demand is expected to increase to more than 16,270 million litres in 2010. Projected production capacity is 18,482 million litres a day. While there are alternate energy resources, there is no replacement for water.  rw 023465

African Ministers Say Share Water to Combat Hunger.   December 17, 2008   Reuters
African states lack the resources to deal alone with climate change and must share water better to feed growing populations. The continent has failed to feed a fast-growing population due to under-investment, bad farm management and more frequent droughts and floods, leaving it hooked on food imports.

The cost of those imports soared to $49.4 billion in 2008 from $10.5 billion in 2005. That has put a strain on countries that subsidize imports to make them affordable.

The World Food Program estimates that nearly a sixth of the world's population, almost 1 billion people, are hungry.

African officials said governments should redouble a 2003 promise to commit 10% of national budgets to boosting farm output. They called for modern irrigation systems that store water and channel it where needed.

They agreed to seal more region-wide deals to share the water. Cooperation on weather forecasting and early warning systems will minimize the impact of drought, desertification, floods and pests.

The skills and the resources to make Africa self-sufficient exist if only governments would cooperate on managing their water. There are countries that progressed in technology and human resources but have a deficit in natural resources, while others lack the technology and human resources.

Africa's population of 967 million, of whom 53% are under the age of 20, is forecast to reach 2 billion in 2050.

New water control programs for African farming would cost $65 billion over the next 20 years.  rw 023530

Is Water the New Oil?.   December 15, 2008   The Guardian
As the global population keeps growing and global warming changes the climate, experts are warning that billions more will suffer lack of water. Wadi Faynan may be one of the oldest sites where humans made a permanent settlement, learned to farm and changed the course of human civilisation. But the tiny community drawn to water would eventually all but destroy the resource which made life possible. And it now threatens us on a global scale.

First people cut trees for shelter and fuel, until rains swept away the soil and the springs dried up. Farmers began diverting water for crops to feed the growing population. The climate that encouraged the first settlement was becoming drier and hotter.

Wadi Faynan was abandoned the first time because of a change in the climate, and later because it became too polluted. Today the Bedouin have laid pipes down to suck what is left of the spring to irrigate tomato fields. Rains now occur less than every other year.

The farmers in Wadi Faynan are not alone. Like communities around the world, they are paying the price for thousands of years of exploitation of our environment. One billion people do not have enough clean water to drink, let alone have enough left for nature.

Lack of water is blamed for millions of deaths each year. Mostly it is the poor who suffer, but increasingly rich nations are struggling, too. Australia has accepted that the lack of rain is permanent.

Last autumn the Red Cross delivered water to Orme in the state of Tennessee. In California, Governor Schwarzenegger declared the first state-wide drought for 17 years.

Barcelona, Spain, began importing tanker-loads of water from cities along the coast. Even in the UK, water has become such a problem that one company plans to build a desalination plant. The UN has raised the spectre of "water wars". Politicians, economists and engineers are pressing for dramatic changes to the way water is managed. The water crisis is an expression of the environmental catastrophe because the natural system has been so fundamentally altered by human activity. More than 97% of all the water on the planet is salt water, and most of the freshwater is locked up in the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. The UN says individuals need five litres of water a day simply to survive in a moderate climate, and at least 50 litres a day for drinking and cooking, bathing and sanitation. Industry accounts for 90% of all water used by humans.

There's enough water, but too often it's in the wrong places at the wrong times in the wrong amounts.

Global population, economic development and a growing appetite for meat, dairy and fish protein have raised human water demand sixfold in 50 years. The UN defines scarcity as less than 1,000 cubic metres of renewable clean water for each person every year. By this measure, half the world's population lives in countries suffering water scarcity. Lack of clean drinking water and sanitation are largely blamed for the deaths of 11 million children. Communities around the world have been forced to tap rivers and lakes and aquifers, sometimes millions of years old, far beyond the limit at which they can replenish themselves. Many aquifers are replenishable, but not all, and many that can be recharged don't get enough rain to match demand.

Anyone interested in this subject must read the full article that is full of information and stastics.  rw 023507

The Drought: Ecologically, Perpetual Growth is Impossible Thing.   November 15, 2008   Journal-Constitution
Georgia's water supply is finite, it always will be. The quantity of water varies depending on rainfall, but there is data to have an excellent idea of averages and extremes.

Georgia's population represents a constantly growing demand on water supply and quality. During extreme droughts, the conflict between an ever-growing population and a finite water supply becomes obvious.

It should be obvious, at least to those caught up in the belief that a viable economy demands constant growth, even though rational thought, should logically lead to a contrary opinion.

Ecologists use the term "carrying capacity" to describe how many plants or animals a given piece of real estate might support. Farmers recognize the concept, knowing that the number of cows their pastures will support depends on the type and quality of the forage, availability of water, the acceptable growth rate and other factors.

The concept of carrying capacity is just as applicable to humans as to cows. In the US, mankind has artificially extended human carrying capacity while maintaining a high living standard by using stored energy reserves from eons past and perpetual growth and improved living standards have become basic expectations.

Georgia has long used state resources to promote economic growth, fueled by population growth, without considering the ultimate outcome.

Even while announcing a lawsuit aimed at forcing the more of a finite regional water supply to Georgia, Gov. Sonny Perdue was on a mission to attract more industry to the state.

The sole reason when we already have full employment is to attract more people. More people equal a larger GDP, for which groupthink demands a favorable view, regardless of the effect on quality of life.

Georgia's population is about 9.5 million. If growth rates of the past dozen years are maintained, population will double to about 19 million in just 26 years (2033) and double again to 38 million by 2059.

From an ecological perspective, it is imperative that we stop and determine what an optimum population might be. Instead, we continually ask ourselves to use less water, go further into debt, sit in longer traffic snarls and lower our living standard in various other ways so we can accommodate more people.

The ultimate irony was when Gov. Perdue asked everyone to pray for rain. Does he expect God to increase our water supply while the Governor does his best to increase demand?  rw 022324

Global Warming Aside, Fresh Water Dwindling.   August 17, 2008   Arizona Republic
One-third of the world's population is water-stressed, with 8% severely water-stressed, including the western United States and northern Mexico, South America, India, China, Africa surrounding the Sahara Desert, and southern Africa and Australia.

In Africa and many parts of Asia, this means inadequate water for drinking, sanitation and crops. In emerging economies it translates as an inability to meet the dietary and lifestyle aspirations of a growing middle class.

Water stress in places such as Phoenix and Las Vegas means an inability to sustain a growth economy and support lavish lifestyles. Per capita water use varies according to a country's technological capacity and economic profile, but almost 66% of water is used for agriculture. Domestic households use 10%, industry 20%, and 4% is lost from evaporation.

It takes 57 gallons of water to produce a pound of corn and 855 gallons of water to produce a pound of corn-fed beef. World trade can exacerbate or relieve water stress.

The world will grow to 9.3 million in 2050, with nearly all growth in developing countries lacking capacity to increase water supplies. The world is rapidly urbanizing, concentrating demand in small areas. Currently, the developed world is more than 70% urbanized, whereas less than 40% of the population of Africa and Asia is urban. However, 50% of Africans and Asians and 60% of the world will live in urban areas by 2030.

Cities will intensify aquifer drawdown, leading to conflicts between sectors, people, regions and countries. The rising middle class in many developing countries demand better diets and urban lifestyles.

Climate change has the potential to alter both water supply and demand. Increasing temperatures suggest increased evaporation and decreased stream flows, rising seas that could contaminate freshwater. Variable precipitation will likely mean more frequent high-intensity droughts and floods and less available rainfall in arid and semiarid regions.

Water and energy are closely intertwined. Water provides the steam driving nuclear turbines and cools thermal plants and powers hydroelectricity. Loads of energy go toward desalinating, pumping and moving water. Producing 1 kilowatt of electricity requires an estimated 36 to 53 gallons of water.

Large-scale desalination plants require large amounts of energy making them accessible for Middle Eastern countries with large energy reserves, but non-viable for places that are poor. We have long recognized that energy is a global resource, and water, too, is global. Rich countries, using energy to solve water-shortage problems, may accentuate global warming.

Dams can lead to population displacements, among poor and indigenous populations, and international tensions.

For the 1 billion people who lack access to safe drinking water and the 2.4 billion who lack adequate sanitation, climate-induced water stress may devolve into humanitarian crises and mass population displacements.

Water resources are in crisis, with or without climate change, because, Earth's freshwater supply is limited and geographically variable. Pressure upon it will only increase with global climate change. Meanwhile, easy-fix technological solutions, with their high energy requirements, are not affordable for poor countries.  rw 023244

Australia: Population Bomb Ticks Louder Than Climate Change.   July 22, 2008   Canberra Times
Population growth is a bigger threat to the world's food production and water supplies than climate change. Overpopulation's impacts are potentially more destructive than those of climate change.

Climate change is overshadowed by the amount of water, land and energy needed to grow food to meet the projected increase in population. We are facing a crisis.

The price of rice in Thailand had risen from $A200 a tonne to $A800 a tonne, and India had banned rice exports in a bid to ensure the country had sufficient supplies of this food.

Australias needs smarter ways to improve water efficiencies so we can continue to grow those crops.

Many politicians are out of touch with crucial issues facing rural Australia, particularly poverty and the loss of jobs in communities built on wealth generated by irrigated food production.

Irrigators are trying to make a living for their families, and have made a lot of effort to achieve water efficiencies. Australia must also think about the future social and environmental implications of its "population footprint".

It has to be a decision about geographic spread and location, about benefits for indigenous communities, for river systems and wetlands. It's a big exercise and needs to be done very carefully.  rw   Ralph says: Not only in Australia! Water will continue to be a problem in many countries. Remember, ----More People Need More Water, and there is a limit to the water available. 023403

Mideast Facing Choice Between Crops and Water.   July 21, 2008   International Herald Tribune
The Middle East and North Africa are forced to choose between growing more crops to feed an expanding population or preserving their supply of water.

This region has drained aquifers, sucked the salt from seawater and diverted the mighty Nile to make the deserts bloom. But they used so much water that today, some countries import 90% of their staples.

The population of the region is expected to reach nearly 600 million by 2050. Then the amount of fresh water for each person will be cut in half, and could inflame political tensions. These nations are turning to expensive schemes to maintain their food supply.

Djibouti is growing rice in solar-powered greenhouses, fed by groundwater and cooled with seawater, probably the most expensive rice on earth.

Several oil-rich nations have started searching for farmland in Pakistan and Sudan, with the goal of growing crops to be shipped home.

In Egypt, officials are looking into growing wheat on two million acres straddling the border with Sudan.

Saudi Arabia tapped aquifers to become self-sufficient in wheat production in the 1980s. This year, however, the Saudis will phase out the program because it used too much water.

Egypt dreamed of converting desert into farmland. The most ambitious of these projects is in Toshka where the farm was started in 1997. But no one has moved there, and only 30,000 acres or so have been planted.

The farm's manager says the Sahara is perfect for farming, as long as there is plenty of fertilizer and water. It's a nice project, but it needs a lot of money.

Mubarak calls his country's growing population an "urgent" problem that has exacerbated the food crisis.

Adding 1.3 million Egyptians each year is a daunting prospect for a country in which 2% of citizens live in poverty.

People used to buy pasta for their kids. But now that it cost's four and a half pounds, they give them bread instead.

Economists say that, rather than seeking to become self-sufficient with food, countries in this region should grow crops for which they have a competitive advantage, like produce or flowers. A 39-year-old runs a 150-acre tomato and pepper empire in the Negev Desert of Israel. His plants, grown in greenhouses with elaborate trellises and then exported to Europe, are irrigated with treated sewer water that he says is so pure he has to add minerals. The water is pumped through drip irrigation lines covered tightly with black plastic to prevent evaporation.

Israel has become the world's leader in maximizing agricultural output per drop of water. Egypt's new desert farms now use drip irrigation.

Another 200 million cubic meters of marginal water are to be recycled, in addition to promoting the establishment of desalination plants in Israel.

Four years of drought have created "a deep water crisis," forcing the country to cut farmers' quotas.

Under a 1959 treaty, Egypt is entitled to a disproportionate share of the Nile's water, that rankles some of its neighbors. It has built canals to bring Nile water to the Sinai Desert, and to the vast emptiness of Toshka.

An adviser says that the country has little choice. All of Egypt's farms and population are now crowded onto just 4% of its land.

Egypt is establishing an estimated 200,000 acres of farmland in the desert each year, even as it loses 60,000 acres of its best farmland to urbanization. The scourge is development.  rw 023198

The Food Chain: Mideast Facing Choice Between Crops and Water.   July 21, 2008   New York Times*
Global food shortages have forced the Middle East and North Africa to choose between growing more crops to feed an expanding population or preserving their scant supply of water.

For decades nations in this region have drained aquifers, and diverted the Nile to make the deserts bloom. But those projects used so much water that it remained more practical to import food. Some countries import 90% or more of their staples.

The population of the region has more than quadrupled since 1950, to 364 million, and is expected to reach nearly 600 million by 2050. By that time the amount of fresh water available for each person will be cut in half and declining resources could inflame political tensions.

The countries of the region are caught between rising food prices and declining water availability. Losing confidence in world markets, these nations are turning to expensive schemes to maintain their food supply.

Djibouti is growing rice in solar-powered greenhouses, fed by groundwater and cooled with seawater, producing the most expensive rice on earth.

Several oil-rich nations, including Saudi Arabia, have started searching for farmland in politically unstable countries with the goal of growing crops to be shipped home.

In Egypt, where a shortage of subsidized bread led to rioting in April, government officials say they are looking into growing wheat on two million acres straddling the border with Sudan.

Nutritional self-sufficiency presents challenges that are not easily overcome. Saudi Arabia tapped aquifers to become self-sufficient in wheat production in the 1980s. This year, the Saudis said they would phase out the program because it uses too much water.

Egypt, too, has for decades dreamed of converting huge swaths of desert into lush farmland. When the Toshka farm was started in 1997, the Egyptian president, compared its ambitions to building the pyramids, involving roughly 500,000 acres of farmland and tens of thousands of residents. But only 30,000 acres or so have been planted.

The Sahara is perfect for farming, as long as there is plenty of fertilizer and water. "You can grow anything on this land, but it needs a lot of money."

Adding 1.3 million Egyptians each year to the 77 million squeezed into an inhabited area roughly the size of Taiwan is a daunting prospect. Economists say that countries in this region should grow crops for which they have a competitive advantage, like flowers, which do not require much water and can be exported for top dollar.

Israel has become the world's leader in maximizing agricultural output per drop of water, and many believe that it serves as a viable model for other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Israeli government strictly regulates how much water farmers can use and requires many of them to irrigate with treated sewer water, pumped to farms in purple pipes. Another 200 million cubic meters of marginal water are to be recycled.

Egypt has the Nile and is entitled to a disproportionate share of the river's water, a point that rankles some of its neighbors. It has built canals to bring Nile water to the Sinai Desert, to desert lands between Cairo and Alexandria and to the vast emptiness of Toshka.

Egypt is establishing an estimated 200,000 acres of farmland in the desert each year, even as it loses 60,000 acres of its best farmland to urbanization. For farmers the new buildings not only ruin the rural tranquility of their ancient fields, but they also reduce yields.  rw 023400

Is Growth Over? California's Continuing Water Crisis May Mean the End of the State as We Have Known It.   July 20, 2008   Los Angeles Times
Arnold Schwarzenegger's order certifying that California is in a drought and directing state agencies to think what to do about it is only the latest sign that a way of life built on available water is coming to a close. The continuing water crisis raises the question of whether we are approaching the limits of growth in California.

California's economy and population exploded, fueled in large part by abundant water supplies. Snowmelt which historically has filled the state's major reservoirs has been shrinking steadily. California's rights to Colorado River water have been scaled back. Court orders aimed at protecting endangered fish have slashed water deliveries from the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. Reduced rainfall has made it difficult to replenish groundwater basins.

Now, the situation is that the water agencies are beginning to give the public a taste of what lies ahead.

The largest water agency in the region and the principal supplier to the cities announced a 30% reduction in deliveries to agricultural customers. The agency adopted a plan that could result in similar cutbacks to urban consumers and rate hikes of up to 20%. Such steps alone will probably not make enough of a difference to avert a water-supply crisis. There is a finite amount of water in Southern California, and it has not increased since 1990. Major sectors of the state's economy such as agriculture and real estate development will soon face unimagined restrictions.

Environmental groups contending that many water-use practices violate the state's constitutional mandate that water be put to beneficial use to the maximum possible extent and that waste or unreasonable use be prevented.They object to pumping water from the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta to irrigate cotton and alfalfa, as well as lawns. These environmentalists plan to petition to permanently reduce Delta pumping that would affect every aspect of water use.

State laws require water agencies to document sufficient long-term supplies to support large developments. The Eastern Municipal Water District, the largest water agency in Riverside County, recently delayed approval of a huge industrial development because it couldn't guarantee water supplies. The state Supreme Court overturned approval of a major new planned community in the Sacramento area because the project's environmental impact report did not adequately address long-term water supplies.

Don't expect new homes to be built along a new golf course or the shores of a man-made lake. The appliances in the new homes will be low-flow, and the pavement outside permeable to help replenish groundwater. The Legislature is considering a requirement that all urban water agencies reduce their consumption by 20% within 12 years.

Agriculture is also feeling the sting of dwindling water supplies. Agencies throughout the state are pressing farmers to cut their water consumption by not growing water-intensive crops, investing in more efficient irrigation systems and even taking land out of agricultural use altogether.

Yet it is unrealistic to expect that California's population will stop growing.

The current shortage of water is largely the product of global warming. The easiest way to increase water supplies is conservation.

California is approaching the limits of growth. Those areas with limited local water supplies already are off-limits for development, and big users of water, such as agriculture, are cutting back.  rw   Ralph says: Natures resources are limited and it is time we limited the number of people using them. 023240

Coca-Cola's Big Fizzle.   July 10, 2008   Time Magazine
Coca-Cola CEO pledged in Beijing that every drop of water his company uses would be returned to the earth or compensated for through conservation and recycling programs. It takes about 2.5 liters of water to produce just one liter of its products. In 2006 Coca-Cola used 80 billion gallons of water. Some 40% went into drinks. The other 60% was consumed by the firm's supply chain and in the production of ingredients.

It's essential that Coca-Cola addresses water issues as part of its corporate social responsibility. Population growth and climate change mean that water is no longer available in limitless quantities. Coke last year announced it would spend $20 million over five years to help the WWF preserve seven of the world's major rivers.

But Coke is trying to protect its brand and ensure the availability of a crucial ingredient. By 2025, two-thirds of the global population will face water shortages. Businesses that don't address shortages run the risk of plant closures, water rationing and sullied reputations.

In 2006, when a New Delhi research group found high levels of pesticides in locally produced soft drinks, several Indian states banned their sale.

Last December, Coke spent $10 million to establish the Coca-Cola India Foundation, which has installed 320 rainwater harvesting structures in 17 Indian states, and plans to provide clean drinking water to 1,000 schools by 2010.

The company is likewise trying to avoid incurring public wrath in China. In the first quarter of this year, Coke's sales there rose by 20% compared with the same period last year; sales growth in North America was flat in the quarter. But in the future, double-digit increases could be constrained by China's environmental problems. China is home to roughly 20% of the world's population, but only about 7% of the world's water. That means there are some 300 million people living in water-scarce areas ' and increasingly, citizens and officials are becoming more militant about protecting the resource. That kind of pressure is one of the reasons why Coke has partnered with local NGOs to promote environmental education, rainwater harvesting and river conservation in China ' and why the company's Chinese bottling plants are on the cutting edge of the company's conservation and recycling efforts. Between 2004 and 2007, Coke's 37 bottling plants in China reduced water usage by 27%.

At Coca-Cola's biggest bottling plant in China, wastewater is shunted to a separate building behind the factory where it is treated so it can be used for secondary uses. Leaking pipes have been fixed to save water, and a dry lubricant is used to keep conveyer belts running smoothly with less water.

The company has yet to silence its critics. A left-leaning think tank in Ottawa faults the firm for not setting a target date for its water-neutrality goal, and for not establishing water-efficiency requirements for its agricultural suppliers.  rw   Karen Gaia says: To be truly sustainable, you don't use scarce water to make a non-nutritious drink. 023070

Dawn of a Thirsty Century.   June 14, 2008   BBC News
The amount of water in the world is limited. It covers about two-thirds of the Earth's surface, admittedly. But most is too salty for use.

Population is rising, but water supplies are not.

Only 2.5% of the world's water is not salty, and two-thirds of that is locked up in the icecaps and glaciers.

Of what is left, about 20% is in remote areas, and much of the rest arrives as monsoons and floods.

Humans have available less than 0.08% of all the Earth's water. Yet over the next two decades our use is estimated to increase by about 40%.

In 1999 the UN reported that 200 scientists in 50 countries had identified water shortage as one of the two most worrying problems for the new millennium. We use about 70% of the water in agriculture. But by 2020 we shall need 17% more water than is available if we are to feed the world.

There are several reasons for the water crisis. One is the constant rise in population, and the desire for better living standards.

Another is the inefficiency of the way we use much of our water. And pollution is making more of the water that is available to us unfit for use.

Increasingly, governments are turning away from reliance on rainfall and surface water, and using subterranean supplies of groundwater instead. But that is like making constant withdrawals from a bank account without paying anything into it.

Rivers, wetlands and lakes that depend on it can dry out. Saline seawater can flow in to replace the fresh water that has been pumped out.

Some ways to begin to tackle the problem are irrigation systems which drip water directly onto plants are one, precision sprinklers another.

Plant less water-intensive crops, and perhaps desalination may play a part - though it is energy-hungry and leaves quantities of brine for disposal.

But we should remember that we have only one interdependent planet to share.  rw 023083

Africa: Women, Water and Sanitation - Going the Extra Mile.   June 12, 2008   Africa News Service
At The African Union Summit leaders will be discussing Meeting the MDGs on Water and Sanitation. Will they take into consideration women's concerns, and remind them that women amount to almost more than half of the population in Africa? MDG's goal 7 calls on governments to ensure environmental sustainability. The goal is to reduce the proportion of the people without access to safe drinking water. Many countries have used the MDG's as a standard for their policy and planning processes. Goal 3 calls on governments to promote gender equality and empower including in decision making and policy formation.

States are required to ensure that women have access to clean drinking water and advocates for women's control over productive resources and in decision-making, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes.

There are various uses of water. Women in Africa will walk 10-15 kilometers to get water and carry up to 15 litres per trip, yet their role in water and sanitation is overlooked. This should be the basis upon which women should be fully involved in public decision making with regard to water resources.

In lower income rural areas, women have to use lower quality water which makes the household susceptible to waterborne diseases. The unavailability of clean water then becomes burdensome reducing the quality of life.

Women have no rights to land for varying reasons yet they are the majority of the world's agricultural producers. They are the least title holders among the property holders in the world. Legislative provisions may be gender neutral but most land is registered in the name of the eldest male of a household. This excludes women from and predicates the rights to use land to the male title holder.

There is little incentive for women to make environmentally sound decisions and their lack of access to credit hampers them from buying technologies that would be less damaging to natural resources. These factors may lead to declining productivity and increased environmental degradation. Women are increasingly becoming heads of households partly due to the numerous conflicts in Africa, HIV/AIDS and other existing social problems. They are then solely responsible for providing for their families, yet they do not have the legal access to water and land. Women and girls face the threat of becoming economically unstable and dependant on their male relatives or husbands.

The absence of clean water increases the impact of HIV/AIDS. Bad hygienic conditions affect people living with HIV and they need more water for better health and general hygiene. The proximity of sanitary facilities to the household increases security and privacy for women. It also reduces health and digestive system problems that arise when women have to wait until nighttime to relieve themselves. Separate sanitation facilities for girls and boys in schools boost the school attendance of girls and ensure a safe and healthier learning environment.

Poor sanitation heightens the conditions women face during menstruation because it is difficult to concentrate knowing there is no proper sanitary facilities to use. In Rwanda secondary school girls have proposed an increase in tuition fees so that schools can provide sanitary towels.

Lack of adequate sanitation and clean water makes women susceptible to infections that affect their sexual and reproductive health. States must ensure that when discussing about water and sanitation they take into consideration how the lack of these impact women and the society at large.

There is a need to break the social barriers restricting the participation of women in community forums that influence water policies. Some of the basic rights are intertwined, for example the rights to water and land, and a practical approach needs to be established.

During conflict, sanitation facilities in camps are generally poor and women rely on foreign aid to cater for their needs. There is a need for women to be integrated in the process of peace building and natural resource management.

The African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women and the United Nations MDGs have given standards that ensure the right to water and proper sanitation is assured to all citizens and most importantly to women. African leaders can no longer afford to ignore the voice of women.  rw 023061

Falling Water Tables, Falling Harvests.   June 04, 2008   Earth Policy Institute
Scores of countries are overpumping aquifers to satisfy their growing water needs. This has pushed water withdrawals beyond recharge rates. The failure of governments to limit pumping to the sustainable yield of aquifers means that water tables are falling in countries that contain more than half the world's people. Most of the world's aquifers are replenishable, when they are depleted, the maximum rate of pumping will be reduced to the rate of recharge. Fossil aquifers, however, are not replenishable. For these, including the US Ogallala aquifer, the deep aquifer under the North China Plain, or the Saudi aquifer, depletion brings pumping to an end. Farmers who lose irrigation water have the option of returning to dryland farming if rainfall permits. But in more arid regions, such as in the southwestern United States or the Middle East, the loss of irrigation water means the end of agriculture.

Falling water tables are already affecting harvests in some countries, including China, which rivals the US as the world's largest grain producer. A groundwater survey revealed that the water table under the North China Plain, that produces over half of the country's wheat and a third of its corn, is falling fast. Overpumping has depleted the shallow aquifer, forcing well drillers to turn to the deep aquifer, which is not replenishable.

Under the North China Plain, the average level of the deep aquifer is dropping nearly 3 meters (10 feet) per year. Around some cities, it is falling twice as fast. As the deep aquifer is depleted, the region is losing its last water reserve.

China is mining underground water in three river basins in the north, the Hai, which flows through Beijing and Tianjin; the Yellow; and the Huai. Since it takes 1,000 tons of water to produce one ton of grain, the shortfall in the Hai basin of nearly 40 billion tons of water per year means that when the aquifer is depleted, the grain harvest will drop by 40 million tons.

Water shortages are even more serious in India. The 100 million farmers have drilled 21 million wells, investing $12 billion in wells and pumps. A survey reported that half of India's traditional hand-dug wells and millions of shallower tube wells have dried up. India's grain harvest plateaued in 2000. A World Bank study reports that 15% of India's food supply is produced by mining groundwater. 175 million are fed with grain produced with water from irrigation wells that will soon go dry.

In the US, in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas the water table has dropped by more than 30 meters (100 feet). Wells have gone dry on thousands of farms in the southern Great Plains, forcing farmers to return to lower-yielding dryland farming. Irrigated land accounts for only one fifth of the U.S. grain harvest, compared with three fifths of the harvest in India and four fifths in China.

Pakistan is also mining its underground water. Observation wells in the fertile Punjab plain show a fall in the water table between 1982 and 2000 that ranges from 1 to nearly 2 meters a year. Water tables around Quetta, are falling by 3.5 meters per year. Six basins have exhausted their groundwater, leaving their irrigated lands barren. Within 1015 years virtually all the basins outside the canal-irrigated areas will have depleted their groundwater supplies, depriving the province of much of its grain harvest.

Iran is overpumping its aquifers by an average of 5 billion tons of water per year. Under the Chenaran Plain in northeastern Iran, the water table was falling by 2.8 meters a year in the late 1990s. New wells being drilled both for irrigation and to supply the nearby city of Mashad are responsible. Villages in eastern Iran are being abandoned as wells go dry.

Saudi Arabia developed an extensive irrigated agriculture based largely on its deep fossil aquifer. After several years its wheat harvest dropped from a high of 4.1 million tons in 1992 to 2.7 million tons in 2007, a drop of 34%. Some Saudi farmers are now pumping water from wells 4,000 feet deep. In early 2008 the Saudi government announced plans to phase out wheat production entirely by 2016.

In Yemen, a nation of 22 million, the water table under most of the country is falling by roughly 2 meters a year as water use outstrips the sustainable yield. In western Yemen, the estimated annual water extraction of 224 million tons exceeds the annual recharge of 42 million tons, dropping the water table 6 meters per year. World Bank projections indicate the Sana'a Basin may be pumped dry by 2010.

With its population growing at 3% a year and with water tables falling everywhere, Yemen is fast becoming a hydrological basket case. With its grain production falling, Yemen imports four fifths of its grain supply.

Since the overpumping of aquifers is occurring in many countries more or less simultaneously, the depletion of aquifers and the resulting harvest cutbacks could come at roughly the same time, producing a potentially unmanageable food scarcity.  rw   Karen Gaia says: I guess some people think that technology will take care of it. They are too afraid to think that maybe there are too many people. If technology will take care of it, why doesn't the article mention it? Could it be that there is not an economical technological solution? 023082

Is Water Becoming the New Oil?.   May 29, 2008   Christian Science Monitor
Cyprus will ferry water from Greece this summer. Australian cities are buying water from that nation's farmers and building desalination plants. China plans to divert Himalayan water. And 18 million southern Californians are bracing for their first water-rationing in years.

Dow Chemical Chairman Andrew Liveris told the World Economic Forum in February, "water is the oil of this century." Global population growth, pollution, and climate change are shaping a new view of water as "blue gold."

Water has snared the attention of big equipment suppliers as well as big private water companies. Notably France-based Suez and Aqua America, the largest US-based private water company.

Drinking water distribution, management, waste treatment, and agriculture are a nearly $500 billion market and growing fast. But governments pushing to privatize to maintain public water systems are colliding with a global "water is a human right" movement. We're at a point where decisions need to be made about how this basic human need, water, is to be provided. The profit motive and human need for water are in conflict.

It's obvious that we're running up against limits to new supplies. It's no longer cheap and easy to drill another well or dam another river.

The world's remaining accessible fresh-water supplies are divided among industry 20%, agriculture 70%, and domestic use 10%, according to the UN.

Fresh-water consumption has more than doubled since World War II to nearly 4,000 cubic kilometers annually and set to rise another 25% by 2030. Waste, climate change, and pollution have left clean water supplies running short.

Population and economic growth across the developing world is a major factor driving fresh-water scarcity.

The US may consume even more water by importing goods that require lots of water to make. As scarcity drives up the cost of fresh water, more efficient use will play a huge role. Drip irrigation is more frugal than "flood" irrigation. But water's low cost in the US provides little incentive to build new systems. Leaking water pipes waste billions of gallons daily.

Dozens of desalination plants are in planning stages or under construction in the US and abroad.

When for-profit companies sell at a price based on what it costs to produce water, that higher price curbs water waste and water consumption. Water should be priced at the cost to provide it, and subsidized for those who can't afford it.

But private companies' promises of efficient, water delivery have not always come true. Last year Bolivia's president celebrated the departure of French water company Suez, which had held a 30-year contract to supply La Paz.

Water is a public resource and a human right that should be available to all. Private-water industry officials say those pushing to make water a "human right" are ideologues struggling to preserve inefficient public water authorities that sell water below the cost to produce it.

Water scarcity may be one of the most underappreciated global political and environmental challenges of our time.

In January, a report identified 46 countries with a combined population of 2.7 billion people where contention over water has created "a high risk of violent conflict" by 2025.

In the developing world rising economic success means a rising demand for clean water and an increased potential for conflict. China is one of the world's fastest-growing nations, but its lakes, rivers, and groundwater are badly polluted because of the widespread dumping of industrial wastes. Tibet has huge fresh water reserves.

Little has been reported about China's keen interest in Tibet's Himalayan water supplies, locked up in rapidly melting glaciers.

China is proceeding with plans for nearly 200 miles of canals to divert water from the Himalayan plateau to China's parched Yellow River. Himalayan water is sensitive because it supplies the rivers that bring water to more than half a dozen Asian countries.

Once this issue of water resources comes up it also raises emerging conflicts with India and Southeast Asia.

Canada, which has immense fresh-water resources, is wary of its water-thirsty superpower neighbor to the south, observers say. Canada has 20% of the world's fresh water. The prospect of losing control of its water under free-trade or other agreements is something Canadians seem to worry about constantly.

A year ago, Canada's House of Commons voted 134 to 108 in favor of a motion to recommend that its federal government "begin talks with its American and Mexican counterparts to exclude water from the scope of NAFTA."  rw 023081

Global: Water and Sustainability: Blue Gold.   May 04, 2008   Deutschland Online
Water is unequally distributed around the world. All humans do not have access to safe drinking water.

Many women in Mali, West Africa, have to walk several hours to the nearest river and back every day to collect water. Only half of the people in Mail have access to safe drinking water. In Yemen women fill canisters with water at a cistern before transporting it away on donkeys. Mali and Yemen are two countries out of over 50 that are threatened by acute water shortages that already affects roughly one third of the world's more than 6.6 billion people. However, Mali and Yemen are two examples for international development cooperation. In Yemen, leaky pipe networks are being repaired with German support and water supply and sewage disposal systems have been renewed in three Yemeni coastal towns. A network of water taps developed in cooperation with German development workers now exists in many small towns in Mali.

Germany is one of the largest bilateral donors and a partner for 28 countries. The Federal Government has committed to 400 million euros a year. More than 450 million euros are planned for 2008. A large proportion, 40%, goes to Africa. Germany is collaborating with 11 countries there on various water projects. They are also assisting the Kenyan government in the reform of the water sector and how to develop efficient water management procedures. German cooperation has been active in neighboring Tanzania since the end of the 1980s. The health situation has significantly improved for some 300,000 people. Diseases caused by contaminated water have decreased substantially.

Germany is also making a contribution to the MDGs of the UN. Water is high up on the political agenda and will become the key to success for all the UN MDGs that depend on progress on nutrition, education, poverty and the environment and crucially on the development of irrigation in agriculture. The UN has proclaimed the period from 2005 to 2015 an International Decade for "Water for Life".

According to figures published, only 0.35% of all the water on Earth is freshwater - the rest is salty seawater or ice. The lack of freshwater is being intensified by climate change. It is having an effect on precipitation. Precipitation is becoming more extreme. Where there is little rain today, there will be even less tomorrow, and where there is already lots of rain, it will rain even more.

Water shortages are being made worse by population growth, urbanization and industry. In the past 100 years there has been a tenfold increase in global water consumption.

Agriculture and industry are also dependent on water. Agriculture consumes nearly two-thirds of all drinking water reserves. In a number of regions, supplying enough water for the population and to meet the demands of agriculture and industry has already become a challenge during dry periods. That can also lead to social and economic tensions that reach beyond national borders.

Conflict potential exists and the security significance of water has grown. Yet cooperation in the use of transborder waters predominates in the world today.  rw 022974

UN Sees More People Going Hungry in Philippines as Rice Prices Soar.   April 22, 2008   Agence France Presse
A UN official warned that the Philippines may have to feed people to save them going hungry as the price of rice soars out of reach of ordinary households.

The World Food Programme director said, "People who were able to meet their own food needs have been pushed over that precipice and are no longer able to feed their families," .. "We're seeing it in many countries."

The UN agency provides food aid to about 1.1 million of the Philippines' 90 million people. The UN was unlikely to ramp up its food aid since the Philippines is considered a "middle-income country" with lower priority.

Manila could be hit in the pocket by having to boost spending on subsidies to maintain current prices of the lowest-quality rice that it sells to the poor.

Rising rice prices and tight supplies could impact most severely on poor households in the rebellion-torn southern island of Mindanao. Any increase in the rice price is going to put them in a very difficult situation.  rw 023021

Malawi: Water Utility Over-Stretched and Under-Maintained.   March 29, 2008   Africa News Service
Blantyre is losing its reputation for tranquility.

Residents find themselves waking up to the hustle and bustle of women as they move around the city in search of water. Water cuts sometimes last up to three days, And the Blantyre Water Board (BWB), the city's sole water supplier, has warned that the cuts are likely to persist until 2013 as it replaces dilapidated equipment.

Businesses have resorted to installing on-site water tanks. The 2007 Malawi MDG Report indicates that the country is making progress towards reaching the target which calls for the reduction by half of the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water. The access to water has improved from slightly over 47% in 1992 to 75% in 2006. But Superintendent Clive Bismarck explained that transformers have been breaking down at the point where the water is pumped from river to pipeline.

BWB's ability to cope with demand is being outpaced by the growth of Blantyre. The utility can pump 75,000 cubic metres of water daily against a demand for 95,000 cubic metres.

Malawi is one of the fastest urbanising countries in the world with an urban population growth rate of 6.3%. Water shortages cause city residents to flush their toilets less frequently and to compromise on household hygiene. As a result, the risk of water-borne diseases has become a problem.

There are instances of cholera throughout the year, as poor hygiene is conducive to the spread of the bacterium.

Since the beginning of this year at least eight people have died in a cholera outbreak in areas around Blantyre. Up to 291 cases of cholera were reported within a three-week period.

The BWB Chief Executive Officer had been suspended ahead of investigations into the causes of the water shortages.

He had said that the shortages were a result of the water system being inadequately maintained and over-utilised. He has been reinstated.

Many residents have now resorted to using rain water from ditches.

Those who have cars drive to BWB headquarters where they draw water from taps at the utility's offices.  rw 022888

Water Will Be Source of War Unless World Acts Now, Warns Minister.   March 22, 2008   Independent
The world faces "water wars" unless action is taken to prevent international water shortages and sanitation issues escalating into conflicts. The warning came as 27 international charities marked World Water Day, by writing to Gordon Brown demanding action to give fresh water to 1.1 billion people with poor supplies. Two-thirds of the world's population will live in water-stressed countries by 2025.

The coalition of charities has appealed for a global effort to bring running water to the developing world and supply sanitation to a further 2.6 billion people. Each year 443 million school days are lost globally to diarrhoea and 1.8 million children die unnecessarily from these diseases.

Rising temperatures together with extreme weather will increase pressures on water supplies. A growing and urbanised global population will increase demand for food and water. Over 1 billion people suffer from water shortages and 30 countries get more than a third of their water from outside their borders. With climate change, those figures are likely to grow, increasing the possibility of disputes.

The whole of sub-Saharan Africa and most of south Asia and western South America are at risk of water shortages if global warming continues.

If average global temperatures go more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels you are looking at 2 to 3 billion people potentially suffering water shortages. It's a serious business.  rw 022865

China: World Water Day.   March 21, 2008   China Daily
Beijing has always been a dry landscape but has never had to cope with 17 million people, comparable to the total of Australia's population. Civic officials have a "to do" list and among the multitude of tasks are, demands for clean air, improving traffic flows, constructing subways, bettering air transportation and implementing waste water management systems. At the same time higher learning institutions are bursting at the seams with students. Water supply has first place on the list.

Complicating matters, the last 9 years has seen rainfall below average levels. Local Miyun reservoir is down to one third the volume a decade ago. The local rivers and reservoirs are exhausted so the city has turned to Hebei Province for its supply.

As the city went up, the groundwater went down, 76 feet in the last half-century! Parks, lakes, golf courses and modern high-rise apartment buildings are all adding to the consumption.

For the short term a canal will bring water from the Yangtze and its tributaries. For the mid- to long-term plans to channel water from the south appear problematic, recalling the record droughts that took place there last year. Making matters grimmer is the revelation of climate change and forecasting concern for the future of major rivers flowing out of Tibet and the three major rivers running down into southern China and beyond.

Hong Kong, which drains most of its supply from nearby Dongjiang in Guangdong, may also soon feel the pinch. Water management becomes a national and global priority. UN Secretary General mentioned that the international community needed to start conceiving strategies for using water more efficiently and sharing it more equitably. He said population growth and climate change would only worsen.

Appreciating this necessity for urban regions to become more water self-reliant the example of Singapore offers some hope. This week the Minister for Water Resources Dr Yaacob Ibrahim opened the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute, while speaking about the constraints of climate change and long-term sustainability. He recognized the economic opportunities such issues present, and how his government had identified the environment and water technology as areas deserving of strategic research and development dollars. The vision is for Singapore to solve world water woes like those now and soon to be faced in China.

Singapore has developed renewable sources in the form of "Newwater" a product arising from public utilities which can now meet 15% of the nation's water needs; desalination plants, which meets 10%, in addition to vigorous water conservation.

The eighth Forum for Asia will question how to secure Asia's future through renewable energy sources, and how the private sector can contribute towards this.  rw 022862

A Fresh Approach to Water.   March 20, 2008   Nature
The water shortage will have wide-ranging consequences for agriculture and energy production. Our planet is facing a water crisis, more than a billion people in developing nations lack access to safe drinking water, and more than 2 billion lack proper sanitation. Water shortages are likely to spread into other key sectors. Some of this world crisis will be driven by climate pressures, but much of it will be driven by population growth and economic development. As nations grow more prosperous, their citizens are switching to more protein-rich Western diets. These nations are also increasing their energy consumption. The US is already using more than 500 billion litres of fresh water per day for cooling electric power plants.

Global energy demand is projected to increase 57% by 2030, and water demand for food production may double. By 2050, feeding the world's population may require the volume of Lake Superior every year. Yet many of the world's rivers and lakes are already overused: China's Yellow River doesn't always reach the ocean, and Lake Mead in the American southwest could be dry by 2021 if water usage is not curtailed.

There are many new ideas and fresh approaches that could ease the water crisis if we can collectively figure out how to implement them. The key to tackling the crisis is managing green water': the more abundant moisture that infiltrates the soil from rainfall, and that can be taken up by the roots of plants. Experts estimate that in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 95% of crops are rain-fed, only 10%30% of the available rainfall is being used in a productive way. The fixes are decidedly low-tech: harvesting rainwater, planting roots deeper, better terracing, and switching from ploughing to tilling, the gains could be enormous. In heavily irrigated regions equally simple improvements in water usage could take the pressure off drinking water.

The world is going to need all the solutions it can get but low-tech efforts can offer big gains at comparatively modest costs.

For the energy sector, there are big gains to be had from water conservation and reuse. For example, power plants could switch to brackish groundwater or treated wastewater. Here again, the fundamental challenge is to agree on who is in charge. In the US the water policy is rarely coordinated at a regional or national level, and coherent solutions are almost impossible.

This has recently begun to change, but it has to change everywhere. Unless policy-makers want water resources to be constantly squabbled and fought over, with farmers pitted against city dwellers, upstream users against downstream users, and region against region, every nation needs to think about water strategically.  rw 023154

Canadians Over-confident in Country's Supply of Fresh Water New Poll Reveals .   March 19, 2008   Trading Markets
A new poll by Unilever, RBC and the Canadian Partnership Initiative of the UN Water for Life Decade shows that 80% of Canadians are confident that the country has enough fresh water to meet the country's long-term needs. Two-thirds disagree that Canada has a fresh water shortage problem at all.

Canadian NGOs and a report from Environment Canada asserts Canada faces threats to its fresh water resources.

Water scarcity has constrained economic growth in parts of Western Canada and low lake levels have caused a reduction in shipping loads and reduced water availability for clean hydro-electric power on the Great Lakes. With climate change, water quality and availability will deteriorate. The health of the economy is linked to the availability of fresh water. Environment Canada estimates that water contributes $7.5 to $23 billion annually to Canada's economy.

We need to change our attitude toward water and implement conservation techniques in our everyday lives. When it comes to water sustainability, everyone has an important role to play. Although water is a renewable resource, it is not limitless. Canada possesses only 6.5% of the world's renewable fresh water. Canadians are the second largest wasters of water, second to only the Americans.

Almost all (97%) of Canadians agree that an abundant supply of fresh water is important to Canada's national economy. Twenty-eight per cent of Canadians identified removal of water to the United States as the number one threat to Canada's supply of fresh water. This belief is incorrect. The greatest threat to Canada's supply of fresh water is our belief in its absolute abundance which is being challenged by heavy use, rapid growth and by climate change and global warming-induced drought. be 'confident' that Canada in general has enough fresh water to meet our long-term needs.  rw 022856

Nigeria: Good Water, Sanitation Crucial to Poverty Eradication.   February 29, 2008   Africa News Service
A good agenda on water and sanitation is crucial to eradicating poverty and achieving development goals.

All 17 local governments, communities and all stakeholders are asked to ensuring the availability of clean and safe water.

Today, about 700 million people in 43 countries have inadequate sanitation, and by 2025, this could increase to more than three billion.

The global water situation remains fragile and there is a need for a sustainable approach to resource management.

Available supplies are under duress from a high population growth, unsustainable service patterns, poor management practices, pollution, investment in infrastructure and inefficiency in water and sanitation use.

They would need more water to grow food, provide potable water and sanitation services, operate industries and support expanding cities. The water demand gap is likely to grow wider, threatening development and environmental sustainability. All are charged with promoting echnology transfer, mobilisation of resources and scaling up good practices and lessons learned.

The UN declared March 22 of every year as World Water Day.  rw 022793

China: Olympics Threat to Water Supply.   February 28, 2008   BBC News
A Qiyuan from Shaanxi province, told the UK's Financial Times that people in north-western provinces may see social upheaval and environmental harm because of the strain on local water supplies.

China is building a network to divert water to the north that will divert water from rivers in the south via tunnels, dams and canals to cities in the north. Part of the project was brought forward to provide water for the Olympics.

In order to preserve the quality of Beijing's water we have to close all our factories, he said, and the government needs to compensate Shaanxi.

The project is blamed for the Yellow River silting up and causing flooding. It is unusual for a leading communist official to be so openly critical of government policy.

Shaanxi and Hebei province are required to pump clean water to Beijing in time for the Olympics.

They are on the northern stretch of a larger water transfer project designed to bring supplies from the Yangtze River in the south to northern industrial areas, including Beijing.

The project, costing tens of billions of dollars, is due for completion by 2010, but the authorities are hoping the northern leg of the network will be ready for the Olympics.

Water demand could rise to 30% above average as thousands of visitors arrive for the games.

Hebei province, which lies next to Beijing and supplies most of its water, is suffering from severe drought, caused by a lack of rain and snow.

Hebei province is being asked to provide an extra 300m cubic metres of back-up supplies to Beijing's 16 million residents. Several hundred kilometres of pipe and channels are being constructed to supply the capital, but farmers complain that lack of water is undermining agricultural land.

About 33,000 sq km (12,740 sq miles) of farmland was now affected by drought, while a quarter of a million residents were facing problems with drinking water.

Two western routes move water from the upper Yangtze to the Yellow river, the central route will divert water from the Danjiangkou reservoir underneath the Yellow river to Beijing and Tianjin. The Eastern route will pump water from the Yangtze to supply Shandong and Jiangsu provinces. The project is expected to cost at least $60bn and the estimated completion date is 2010 but Beijing hopes some northern sections will alleviate water shortages in time for the Olympics.

Critics say the diversions will drain farmland, forcibly relocate tens of thousands of people and impair water quality.  rw 022790

Water Fears Lead Saudis to End Grain Output.   February 27, 2008   unknown
Saudi Arabia plans to halt wheat production by 2016 because of concerns about scarce water resources. The Saudi government has not publicly given details, which comes as global cereal prices surge. Saudi Arabia will begin reducing production annually by 12.5% and will use imports to bridge the gap. The US estimates that Saudi Arabia's wheat imports will reach 3.4m tons by 2016, which could be in the top 15 largest importers of the cereal. The country at present produces about 2.5m tons annually.

The increase in demand would tighten global wheat supplies even further. The US report said that "the main reason for change in wheat production was concern over the depletion of fossil water since the crop is grown on 100% central pivot irrigation. The Saudi administration launched an agricultural development programme in the 1970s, including the establishment of irrigation networks, to become self-sufficient for some food supplies. Saudi Arabia became a net exporter and by 1991 production had reached 3.8m tons.

Demand for water is increasing rapidly as the population has swelled from 7m in 1974 to about 24m, with the government seeking to boost industry. The country has no permanent rivers or lakes and very little rainfall. The government has relied on dams to trap seasonal floods, tens of thousands of deep wells and 27 desalination plants. It is so expensive to produce water in Saudi Arabia.  rw   Karen Gaia says: I believe this makes the case against desalination as a cure-all for the world water crisis. Saudi Arabia is a fuel-rich country, and if desalination were feasible for agriculture, the Saudis could do it. 022791

Multi-Million Dollar Initiative to Tackle World Water Crisis.   February 12, 2008   International Institute for Environment and Development
Seven organisations including the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) have announced a partnership to address the lack of access to clean water.

The Initiative will work in Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mali, Nicaragua, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. It will spend US$15 million in its first year, with a similar sum for each of the following nine years.

This partnership comes at a time when climate change threatens to reduce water availability. The organisations involved have different strengths which, when employed in partnership with local organisations and government agencies, will help to improve the management of water resources and sanitation for millions of people.

Projects will deliver water and sanitation in rural communities. In addition, strengthen institutions, build capacity to sustain long term projects, increase community participation, improve local governance, facilitate inter-governmental coordination and cooperation, raise awareness, emphasize innovation and support the development of responsible water policies.  rw 022716

U.S.: People Blamed for Water Woes in West.   February 09, 2008   Associated Press
Human activity is responsible for up to 60% of changes contributing to dwindling water supplies in the arid and growing West and those changes are likely to accelerate. This will add to calls for action from Western states competing for the precious resource to irrigate farms and quench the thirst of growing populations. Researchers studied climate changes in the West between 1950-1999 and noted that winter precipitation falls increasingly as rain rather than snow, and river flows decrease in summer, and warming is exacerbating dry summer conditions. They found that most changes in river flow, temperature and snow pack between 1950 and 1999 can be attributed to human activities that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The changes differed significantly from trends due to natural fluctuations between wet and dry periods. The picture is quite grim and suggests the need for conservation, more water storage, and a slowdown on development in the desert Southwest.

The research "foretells of water shortages, lack of storage capability, transfers of water from agricultural to urban uses and other critical impacts."  rw 022697

Atlanta's Role in Drought is Scrutinized.   February 07, 2008   Los Angeles Times
With officials projecting that Atlanta could run out of water within three months, Georgia politicians have pleaded with the Army Corps of Engineers not to release more water from the reservoir as part of an effort to save two species of mussels 200 miles downriver.

Yet there is a growing sense that the metropolis itself is the problem. Atlanta's rapid growth, and its disregard for conservation, is straining the region's ecosystem.

The governors of Florida, Alabama and Georgia agreed to reduce by 16% the amount of water released from Lake Lanier, which would give some relief. But experts say the Southeast's struggles over water resources are far from over.

What has got to be on the table is Atlanta's unrestricted growth and cavalier attitude to water use. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist wrote in a letter to President Bush that Florida's $134 million commercial seafood industry depended on the water and added that his state had acted responsibly in enacting water legislation. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley argued that downstream communities and a nuclear-power plant in his state required water, too.

Within Georgia the drought has brought to the fore long-simmering resentment against the booming capital of the New South. There is concern that Atlanta could slake its thirst on Augusta's water supplies. Atlanta is a greedy, poorly designed behemoth of a city incapable of hearing the word 'no' and dealing with it. They cannot bring themselves to tell their constituents that perhaps if they didn't have six bathrooms, it might ease the situation a bit.

While other cities have water-conservation measures, Atlanta, one of the country's fastest-growing metropolitan regions, has been particularly shortsighted.

Atlanta's population climbed to 4.1 million from 2.9 million. Its draw on the water increased to 420 million gallons a day from 320 million. For its drinking water, Atlanta relies almost entirely on Lake Lanier, a 38,000-acre man-made reservoir in northern Georgia built in the 1950s.

Not surprisingly, developers and members of the business community rankle at suggestion that the state should introduce legislation to prohibit developers from building if no water is available.  rw   Karen Gaia says: several states do have legislation to prohibit developers from building if no water is available. However, counties often play a shell game with the water to make developers happy. If states where water is a problem were take a careful look at their water supply and were to act responsibly, there would be litttle or no more development allowed. 022685

Much of U.S. Could See a Water Shortage.   February 05, 2008   Associated Press
The government projects that at least 36 states will face water shortages within five years because of rising temperatures, drought, population growth, urban sprawl, waste and excess.

Water managers will take bold steps including conservation, recycling, desalination and stricter controls on development.

The last century was the century of water engineering. The next century is going to have to be the century of water efficiency.

Experts estimate that upgrading pipes to handle new supplies could cost the nation $300 billion over 30 years.

There's not going to be any more cheap water.

Australia is in the midst of a 30-year dry spell, and population growth in urban centers of sub-Saharan Africa is straining resources. Asia has 60% of the world's population, but only about 30% of its freshwater.

By 2050 up to 2 billion people could be facing major water shortages.

The U.S. used more than 148 trillion gallons of water in 2000 for residential, commercial, agriculture, manufacturing and every other use - almost 500,000 gallons per person.

Coastal states like Florida and California face a water crisis from rising temperatures that are causing glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise. More water lost to evaporation and rising seas could push saltwater into underground sources of freshwater.

Florida biggest problem was it has too much water. But decades of dikes, dams and water diversions have turned swamps into cities.

Little land is left to store water, and so much of the landscape has been paved over that water can no longer penetrate the ground to recharge aquifers.

Florida's environmental chief is seeking legislative action to get municipalities to reuse the wastewater.

Florida reclaims 240 billion gallons annually, but it is not nearly enough. The state projects that by 2025, the population will have increased 34% from about 18 million to more than 24 million people, pushing annual demand for water to nearly 3.3 trillion gallons.

There are more than 1,000 desalination plants in the U.S., many in the Sunbelt. The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant is producing about 25 million gallons a day of fresh drinking water, about 10% of that area's demand. The $158 million facility is North America's largest plant of its kind.

Californians use nearly 23 trillion gallons of water a year, much of it coming from Sierra Nevada snowmelt. But climate change is producing less snowpack and causing it to melt prematurely, jeopardizing future supplies.

Experts also say the Colorado River will provide less water in coming years as global warming shrinks its flow.

California, like many other states, is pushing conservation as the cheapest alternative. Water efficiency is the wave of the future.  rw   Karen Gaia says: desalinazation often depends on fossil fuels, whose supply is shrinking. 022662

Are Our Current Growth and Water Use Sustainable?.   February 01, 2008   AZ Central.com
The use of water is constantly changing as our population continues to expand, and we respond to any number of external events, including new technologies, global climate, and energy availability. Arizona initially developed through exploiting its natural resources, often at rates that would deplete the region over time. We will need the ability to make adjustments in a timely manner and avoid crossing critical thresholds that could result in irreversible shortages.

Groundwater overuse could dewater an aquifer and compact its underground structure. This could lead to permanent loss of water storage capacity, increased vulnerability to drought, drying up of streams, or land subsidence. All of which have occurred in Arizona.

To meet demand, we must increase our investments in new water resources. Many of our leaders miss this fundamental relationship. They want to allow continued growth, but do not want to invest in the tools needed to manage and serve our complex communities.

Arizona has made significant advances in linking water and growth including requiring Arizona's larger or faster-growing local governments to consider water adequacy in their long-range plans. They require a 100-year renewable water supply before land can be subdivided, and last year's legislation allowing cities and towns to require new subdivisions to have a 100-year water supply.

Arizona's leaders will be considering transportation and water-management initiatives. It is hoped that we will, envision and plan for strong and healthy communities and be willing to invest to make it happen.

Priority goals for assuring a sustainable Arizona water supply include:

Develop long-range water-demand projections.

Forge regional partnerships.

Secure future supplies.

Understand and prepare for climate change.

Modify the state's regulatory and water-management organizations to require water adequacy in urban and rural areas, and to facilitate water transfers.

Address environmental quality, related to water management.  rw 022642

Clean Water Goal on Course to Fail.   January 30, 2008   EDIE
The international community must review its goal to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

The target, one of eight goals includes the aim of halving the number of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

To meet the target, an additional 1.6 billion people need access to improved sanitation by 2015, but the world is likely to miss this by almost 600 million people.

Parts of Asia, northern African and Latin American are on track, but in sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people without access to sanitation has increased from 335 million to 440 million.

The whole approach to meeting the target has to change and it is imperative that we see the scale of the challenge.

A UN report found there were problems in meeting environmental sustainability, including improved water supplies.

One of the reasons was the failure of international governments to live up to their financing commitments.

One sixth of the world's population get their water from sources contaminated by human and animal feces and half of all people in developing countries are estimated to have an illness related to sanitation and water quality.  rw 022628

What it Means Yemen's Water Crisis.   January 21, 2008   Yemen Times
Yemen suffers an imbalance between annual rainfall and water demand. Average renewable water resources are 125 cubic meters per capita, approximately 10% of the amount consumed by a Middle Easterner. Yemen is among the 10 water-poorest countries in the world.

The water volume in Yemen is about 5.1 billion cubic meters. Rainwater is 93% of the total water resources, while surface water, ground water and unconventional source waters (seawater distillation, reuse of sewer water, etc.) represent 4.86%, 2.08%, and 00.01% respectively.

The total water demand is increasing from 4.5 billion cubic meters in 1990 to an estimated 13 billion cubic meters in 2020. The current demand has three main areas: agriculture (95%), households (3.2%) and industries (1.8%).

Water shortage is expected to reach 15 billion cubic meters in 2020. The problem is getting worse due to pollution from human activity which negatively impacts water quality. There is a possibility for increased untreated sewer water to make its way down to the water-bearing layer. The problem is going to exacerbate in the future, given the quick-paced population growth. Water pollution primarily affects the the poor and marginalized who are more vulnerable. They are mainly herders and small farmers whose livelihood depends on water. The shortage and low quality of water affect the poor urban centers where it is difficult to find any source of water.

The importance of water is not limited to drinking and irrigation to produce crops and food but it is important for sustainable development because water availability is linked to public health, poverty, education and development in general. Water scarcity and competition for it may be a cause for economic and social instability, especially as 53% of Yemen's workforce is employed in the agricultural sector.

Consecutive Yemeni governments have adopted improper measures for managing water affairs. Usually focused on cost management, which implies that the government provided fresh water at the lowest cost possible. It gave little attention to fair distribution of water.

Estimates indicate that the cost of facilities reached $113 million, an average of $1.20 per cubic meter, which is high by all means.

Qat, which covers some 40% of the irrigated area, consumes 60% of the usable water in Yemen and is around double the volume of water consumed by the city of Sana'a.

To maintain water resources and optimize their use could be achieved through water demand management (WDM), a package of measures to urge individuals to regulate the quantity and price of water, the way they access it and the way they dispose of it. It is necessary to adopt a comprehensive view of water as an essential component of any good governance strategy. Water issues must be incorporated into school curricula and become a subject of scientific research and knowledge transfer activities.  rw 022562

Global Costs of Attaining the Millennium Development Goal for Water Supply and Sanitation.   January 16, 2008   World Health Organization
Target 10 of the MDGs is to "halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation". This study presents cost estimates of attaining this target. Taking into account population growth, costs per capita for investment and recurrent costs are applied. Estimated spending in developing countries to meet the MDG target is US$ 42 billion for water and US$ 142 billion for sanitation. The cost of maintaining existing services totals US$ 54 billion. Spending for new coverage is largely rural (64%), while for maintaining existing coverage it is largely urban (73%). Additional costs, of between 10% and 30% are required for effective implementation. Estimates of cost should include the operation, maintenance and replacement of existing coverage as well as new services and programme costs.  rw   Karen Gaia says: with the earth's resources already strained, and the economy failing, it is nearly too late to realize that money will not solve the problem of too many people for too few resources. 022538
US North Carolina: When Short Showers Aren't Enough.   January 02, 2008   The Independent Weekly
Gov. Easley's request to turn down the taps has resulted in a 11% drop in water use in the City of Durham. Old habits die hard.

The scrambling to tap new sources of water has dominated, but we're failing.

That failure has some saying Easley and the legislature should do more to coordinate a statewide effort. The governor and his office have repeatedly said that, short of declaring a state of emergency and launching public relations campaigns calling for conservation, his office has relatively little power. Local leaders say the state needs to spend more money on a regional approach. No long-term solutions are being considered within Durham County.

Water experts say a carefully calibrated tiered water system promotes year-round conservation and is one of the best ways to reduce water usage. Greensboro put one in place in 2001 and average household use has dropped by 25%.

But leaky pipes account for 14% loss of water in Durham. The city would identify and triage the hemorrhaging offenders. Getting municipalities up to speed depends on better coordination among municipalities, rewriting statewide building and plumbing codes, tracking and regulating well water use, and storm water management and gray water laws. Important information is lacking. An obvious step would be to throw more money and celebrity power behind a statewide education campaign. Durham grows closer to sucking muddy water from below the intake on its reservoirs.  rw 022465

As Australian Agriculture Adjusts To Economic, Climate Changes, Is Its Future In Jeopardy?.   December 28, 2007   CattleNetwork.com
In the mid-90s, a two-year drought triggered more than $630 million (AUS) in federal farm support. With the current drought, spanning five growing seasons, the Australian government has spent $2.4 billion on relief measures. Some analysts are projecting a decline in that country's agricultural productivity.

Climate change is a driver in the downsizing of the farm sectors, although shrinking rural populations, global competition for commodity crop market share and perhaps most importantly, land-use issues. But there is no underestimating the impact of sustained drought which is linked to global warming. Since 2002

Annual grain harvest harvests have dropped from 37 million metric tons (MT) to less than 25 million MT

The national sheep herd has declined by 21%

Cattle have dropped from 27.7 million to 25.4 million

Milk production has fallen from 1.4 billion liters to 9.23 billion liters

Wool production has dropped from 645,000 MT to less than 438,000 MT

The decline has been dramatic when coupled with a surge in the financial fortunes of much of Australia's interior and western regions due to China's demand for coal and metals. Some are projecting that farming would become a mere afterthought in the 21st century.

On the measures of population and national income, farming matters less to Australia's make-up today than truck driving. It's hard to argue with the numbers. More than 50,000 ag-related jobs have been lost in the last decade and the total workforce of 360,000 people in ag, forestry and fishing sectors is now less than 3.5% of the nation's workforce from more than 5.2% in 1997.

Prime Minister Rudd was cautioning that big challenges lay ahead for the Australian farm economy.

Adapting to climate change is about tackling a major economic and agricultural reform necessary to underpin the future of Australia's food supply.

Drought is crippling our regional and rural communities, crops are failing. Feed-grain and water prices are rising. Farm debt is higher than at any other point in history and there are warnings about the impact of declining food exports and rising food prices on the Australian and global economies.

It is clear that agriculture was not at the top of the new government's “To-Do” list. Among Labor's top priorities were educational reform, action on climate change, new measures for national security, economic reforms in non-farm sectors to benefit workers and new national health-care reforms.

Even the climate change initiatives centered mostly on funding “green” power sources, implementing “clean coal” technology and increasing the country's investment in solar power generation.

Typical of the lobbying was the Victoria Farmers Federation, which called for “continued development of the Australian farm industry” and demanded increased spending to fund a review of the nation's quarantine system. New climate change initiatives; and upgrading Australia's irrigation and transport.

The New South Wales Farmers Association launched an effort to secure aid for farmers in eastern and central Australia who have been forced out by drought.

A brief “state of the industry” review reveals the impact of four consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall on the country's key ag sectors. The 2008 forecast is 5.9 million MT, down from 8.3 million MT in 2002. Australian feed and malting barley prices are forecast to remain high as a result of EU deficiencies and increased world demand.

» Grain production has dropped the 2008 sorghum forecast is 1.92 million MT, versus 2.12 MT in 2002, and the 2008 oats forecast is 10.3 million MT, versus 14.32 million MT in 2002.

Wheat estimates are for 15.5 million MT. Growers who find themselves with positions above what they will eventually deliver are exiting, which in turn is pushing prices up further.

The outlook Australian lamb industry remains reliant on an improvement in seasonal conditions. The drought has had a significant impact on the nation's sheep flock, with sheep slaughterings increasing by 12% in 2006 and 2007. Lamb numbers are down by 9%.

Dry seasons have caused reluctance among growers to sow canola.

The federal government has pledged more than $714 million (AUS) to help stricken farmers.

More than a century ago, Australia's Surveyor General, drew a line across the map dividing the country's southern region into farming lands, or grazing lands. But climate change, some say, has shifted the line south, and the region where much of the country's produce, wine grapes and cereal crops are now produced may no longer have a future in farming.

More than 40% of the farmers in South Australia receive government assistance. Many rural towns and regions have lost as much as 90% of their former farm populations.

For many farm families, seeking greener pastures has meant moving away to take jobs in cities and the mining industries farther north.  rw 022295

US Oklahoma;: State Supply Brings Woes.   November 27, 2007   Edmond Sun
A hand-dug water well has served Crenshaw's rural Pawnee County home for more than a century, but last year, it ran dry. The Crenshaws spent $1,200 to drill another well. It was dry, but then rains came and their old well came back to life.

This past spring and summer, record rains caused widespread flooding. The state's water wealth, experts warn, could become a mirage. Growing population and increased demand could bring more water problems and dry wells in the future.

"We are beginning to see the limits of the water resources that the state has," said Miles Tolbert, state secretary of the environment. Oklahoma's problem is complex. Sustainability is a concern, especially for those who draw water from depleted underground aquifers. However, some parts of the state rely upon abundant lakes and reservoirs.

All of these factors add up to an estimated $5.4 billion in water improvement projects needed throughout the state.

Demand for water is soaring. Supplies are limited and shrinking. Prices are rising. Last year the Legislature voted a new Comprehensive Water Plan that will address water needs, competing water interests, vulnerability to drought and flooding, environmental protection and economic development through 2016.

The state predicts that Oklahoma will add 17% more residents during the next 20 years, with a population of 4.2 million by 2030.

The state will use more than 744 million gallons of water in the year 2030.

The effects of growing demand and limited supplies were sped up during last year's drought. In one instance, Lone Chimney Lake ran out of potable water. That left the towns of Glencoe, Morrison, Yale, Blackburn, Skedee, Marimec, Terlton, Pawnee and Cleveland high and dry.

That reality is apparent in areas that draw water from wells.

Drought-breaking rains helped refill the state's 34 major reservoirs, most of which are now into their flood-control pools. These reservoirs store more than 4.2 trillion gallons of water.

But underground aquifers are depleted.

These aquifers will hold more than 24 times the amount of water pooled in the reservoirs. But pressure on their stores is growing.

The state reports a tenfold increase in the number of wells drilled into these aquifers since 1972. The Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer in south central Oklahoma has declined more than any other bedrock aquifer since 2000. It dropped more than 21 feet. The Blaine aquifer in southwestern Oklahoma dropped more than 9 feet. The Garber-Wellington, in central Oklahoma, fell more than 6 feet.

Disparities in the state's water reserves beg questions about pooling resources. While Oklahoma looks inward to settle these issues, it also must handle outsiders' claims to its water.

Two Texas Tarrant Regional district that serves Fort Worth and Arlington, and the Upper Trinity district in Denton County have applied to buy the state's water.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board has a moratorium on out-of-state sales. But the Tarrant district has sued, challenging the ban as unconstitutional.

Authors of the state's water plan set out to have 42 meetings to discuss local and regional water supplies with the public. They plan to inventory the state's water supplies and size up the needs of local and regional water districts.

It is a process that will affect the way water flows throughout the state.  rw 022334

We Face Worldwide Drought with No Contingency Plan.   November 26, 2007   Alternet
What happens when there is not enough water to go around? Atlanta is a city in trouble in a region in trouble. Sonny Perdue, Georgia's Baptist governor, led a crowd of hundreds in prayers for rain.

It seems, however, that the Almighty was otherwise occupied and the regional drought continued. Water rationing has hit the capital. Car washing and lawn watering are prohibited. Harvests in the region have dropped by 15 to 30%. By the end of summer, local reservoirs and dams were holding 5% of their capacity.

But that compares Ankara, Turkey, hit by a fierce drought and high temperatures. Over the last decade, 15 to 20% decreases in precipitation have been recorded, accompanied by record temperatures and increasing wildfires in areas where populations have been growing rapidly. Or the drought that has swept huge parts of Australia, the worst in a century. Morocco has 50% less rainfall than normal. In Mexico's Tehuacán Valley, the drought conditions have made subsistence farming next to impossible. Four cities in Southern California, top the national drought ratings: Los Angeles, San Diego, Oxnard, and Riverside.

We don't think of our country as water poor. But acording to the National Climate Data Center, federal officials have declared 43% of the contiguous US to be in "moderate to extreme drought." The Southwest is in the grips of a 'mega-drought,' even the 'worst in 500 years.' Such conditions may represent the region's new "normal weather."

The water level of Lake Superior, has fallen to the lowest point on record for this time of year. In the Southeast, 26% of which, according to the National Weather Service, is in a state of "exceptional" drought, tt has been the driest year on record for North Carolina and Tennessee, while eighteen months of blue skies have led Georgia to break every historical record, whether measured by the percentage of moisture in the soil, the flow rate of rivers, inches of rain.

Rock Spring, South Carolina, has been without water for a month. Farmers are hauling water by pickup truck to keep their cattle alive. Atlanta, its metropolitan area "watered" mainly by a 1950s man-made reservoir, Lake Lanier, which, is turning into baked mud. With a population of five million and known for its uncontrolled growth (as well as lack of water planning), the city is expected to house another two million inhabitants by 2030. And yet, Atlanta will essentially run out of water.

The worst outcome would be mass migrations with bitter interstate court battles over the dwindling water supplies. But before that, if too much water is siphoned from agriculture, farm towns and ranch towns will wither. If drought becomes more widespread, more common in heavily populated parts of the globe already bursting at the seams (and with more people arriving daily), if whole regions no longer have the necessary water, How much burning and suffering and misery are we likely to experience?  rw 022328

Australians Concerned with Population.   November 22, 2007   Doctors for the Environment Australia
Mr. Beattie said Australia's ageing population of 21 million was too small to meet future needs. The credentials of the Queensland government to make any statement on this issue are very poor. It has failed to plan for the large numbers of Australians attracted to SE Queensland when climate change data suggested that they could not be sustained. In South Australia there are targets for a large increase in population in the face of continuing water shortage. Governments worry about the increasing numbers of elderly Australians and reason that we need more young people to pay for them. How naive, population growth in perpetuity!

No-one likes to talk about it, but population is the common denominator of climate change. Climate change cannot be arrested with an expanding population.

2 billion airline journeys each year are the fastest increasing cause of green house emissions, but the world's population creates 4 times as much carbon dioxide each year as the airlines. Add energy usage and consumption and even if the world managed to achieve a 52% cut in its 1990 emission levels it would be cancelled out by population growth. The most effective global climate change strategy is to limit the size of the population.

Now Mr. Beattie wants skilled immigrants. We support necessary immigration of refugees but not immigration that purloins skilled workers from developing countries.

Procreation is a sensitive issue. This is why it's not on the climate change agenda. But liberty is a matter of degree and in this crisis there is no right to a liberty that affects the future of the entire community. Perhaps the ultimate deterrent to procreation is whether you want to create offspring to compete for space when everywhere else is uninhabitable.  rw 022312

India;: Are We Destroying the Himalayas?.   November 13, 2007   The People's Voice
India needs 5.6 times its current installed capacity; to 'electrify' everyone in Indian. To reach world level of consumption might result in environmental disaster if coal technological options take primacy over sustainable ones. The plan for milking Himalayan waters is showing devastation that is being documented with the hope that our concerns result in saner voices prevailing in Delhi.

The Himalayan potential for hydro-power is 'reassessed' at 248,871 MW. The estimated country-wise potential is: Pakistan: 41,722 MW, India 108,143 MW; Nepal 83,000 MW; and Bhutan 16,000 MW. In Himachal Pradesh about 286 micro hydel projects of below 10 MW have been approved, many under execution. True data are not available; much is under wraps.

At least one major dam has been constructed without environmental clearance; rivers are being diverted, debris from construction work is destroying forests, shrubs, creating water channels that were never there. This is eroding ecosystems that have supported thousands of livelihoods in the mountain areas and millions in the basins that are served in the plains. Those who oppose this destruction are called 'anti-development.'

Himachal Pradesh state, accounts for about 20% of hydro-electric potential of India. The state of affairs is documented with examples from several project areas and villages where ecosystem destruction has threatened livelihoods. This paper explores impact on ecosystems at three Chamba and one Kangra village with photographic evidences. The response of the government is discussed and the responses of the civil society are briefly documented.

Given the scale of hydro-electric projects in this ecologically sensitive state, and the Himalayan region in general, the paper raises questions of long term sustainability and survival of millions of South Asians.

Follow the link to the entire article.  rw 022264

UA Involved in 9 of 12 Projects Awarded Funding by Water Institute.   November 03, 2007   University of Arizona News
The Arizona Water Institute announced that 12 projects will receive a total of $555,000 in AWI funds.

Chris Scott, an assistant professor in the UA Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, is studying how the rapid population growth in the Arizona-Sonora border region will impact energy and water sustainability.

George Frizvold is developing agriculture scenarios and their implications for water supplies. Other projects involving UA scientists range from the impacts of forest thinning on water balance, improving water management on the Navajo Nation, enhanced drought sensitivity and monitoring, and habitat protection along the Verde River.

The Arizona Water Institute was formed in 2006, and is a collaboration of Arizona's three universities. Its charge is to develop solutions to the state's water challenges, including enhancing educational opportunities related to water and providing better access to information. Capitalizing on technology transfer and water management expertise, it is expected to help develop sustainable water supply solutions that can be used throughout the world.  rw 022189

Development-India: Lack of Water, Lack of Education.   October 16, 2007   InterPress Service
While social taboos hinder the education of girls in India's poor communities, in Bangalore access to water could be just as responsible.

Women used to travel two to three miles to fetch water. We were not able to send our children to school because they had to come with us to fetch water. They had to wait all night to get a bowl of water. Some young girls get molested. In some areas, slums have given way to high-tech companies employing thousands of graduates from India's elite technological institutions. Nearby are the slums housing the untouchables shunned by the rest of the community. Bangalore has about 365 slums, home to a fifth of the city's 6.5 million population and most lack water and sanitation.

The contrast between the two reinforces the difficulties faced by the urban poor and the need for new initiatives. Public service utilities could not give water and sanitation connections to the settlements because the latter do not have land titles. Years of lobbying finally persuaded public authorities to find a way around this requirement.

At Sundamnagar, a community of around 300 households, AVAS was able to buy land and work out a land title. AVAS also gave collateral so each family could borrow up to 20,000 rupees (500 US dollars) to build a house.

AVAS gave emphasis to educating women, by setting up a water and sanitation (WATSAN) committee in each community. Most committee members are women.

It is the women who maintain the system. If the water doesn't come and leakages happen, they immediately take it up. Most of the men watch TV at home all day, and those who work spend most of their money on alcohol.

Sundamnagar was supposed to be the pilot project but water is not coming to the homes and people are refusing to pay.

The women took the case to the chairman of the Bangalore water board. They said water was being diverted to other communities and pressure was not enough to bring water into their homes. Monthly meter readings are not being made, and they refuse to pay for a service we are not receiving, but water is essential so they are trying to work out a solution.

In Palya, the residents get two hours of water a day, more than enough for each family: they have time to sleep, take a bath and do all the housework.

The community is clean because there are toilets inside the houses and they have adequate water supply.

Today, the children go to school regularly and they are doing well.

Many of the children are going to pre-university college, technical education. All the residents are happy.

There is no pollution in the slums. By organising and motivating the community, informing them about the norms, rules and regulations, they will not only pay but will also help maintain the systems properly.  rw 022070

Population and California's Political Minefields.   October 15, 2007   NPG
The politicians and the press are reluctant to use the word "crisis" in reporting the drought in the Southeast U.S. and Atlanta potentially running out of water within a year. We are going to see more and more water crises in the coming years, especially in the overpopulated Southwestern U.S. Population growth, fueled immigration, is putting tremendous pressure on the ability of many areas to sustain vast numbers of people.

The Atlanta area ignored a potential water crisis and invited it by not putting limits on population growth. The Atlanta region has a very limited water source, limited by an interstate pact with Florida and Alabama from taking more than a certain percent of the water from the Chattahoochee River, because it is crucial that the river maintain a certain flow level all the way into the Gulf of Mexico. More people mean more businesses, schools, etc. No one has put restrictions on keeping Atlanta's lawns, including golf courses, as green as ever.

The drought-impacted area stretches from mid-Alabama across a swath of Georgia and South Carolina and into North Carolina. The lack rain has set the clock ticking on what could result in a major disaster. Population planning must be long term and permanent.

In California, the recent action by a federal judge to reduce pumping water from the North to the South has created a dilemma that cannot be solved overnight. The water squeeze reflects decades of political gridlock and also an ever-growing population. Rearranging the water allocations for the state will mean rushing a water bond issue through the legislature. This isn't an issue you can vote against. Indeed, if they want to keep the water running, California voters are going to have to pay billions more tax dollars until they finally unite and resoundingly say "NO" to more population growth.  rw 022088

Egypt Plan to Green Sahara Desert Stirs Controversy.   October 08, 2007   Reuters
The lush fields of cauliflower, apricot trees and melon is proof of Egypt's determination to turn its deserts green.

Egypt is slowly greening the sand that covers almost all of its territory as it seeks to create more space for its growing population.

With only 5% of the country is habitable; almost all of Egypt's 74-million people live along the Nile River and the Mediterranean Sea. Crowded living conditions will likely get worse as Egypt's population is expected to double by 2050.

The government is keen to encourage people to move to the desert with an estimated $70-billion plan to reclaim 1,2-million hectacres of desert over the next 10 years. The government will need to tap into scarce water resources of the Nile River as rainfall is almost non-existent in Egypt.

The plan has raised controversy among some who say turning the desert green is neither practical nor sustainable.

The director of the Stockholm International Water Institute in Sweden questions the wisdom of using precious water resources to grow in desert areas unsuited to cultivation and where water will evaporate quickly.

The scope of the reclamations could add to regional tension over Nile water sharing arrangements. Egypt's project called "Toshka", would expand Egypt's farmland by about 40% by 2017, using about five billion cubic metres of water a year.

That worries neighbours to the south who are already unhappy about Nile water sharing arrangements.

Ethiopia, where the Blue Nile begins, receives no formal allocation of Nile water, but it is heavily dependent on the water for its own agricultural development.

The Toshka project will complicate the challenge of achieving a more equitable allocation of the Nile River. But other experts suggest that it may be more imperative for Egypt's government to mollify its own population rather than heed its neighbours concerns.

Overcrowding is straining infrastructure in the cities and the government is worried that opposition groups such as the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which has a fifth of the seats in Parliament, might capitalise on discontent.

A desert reclamation project last decade, south of Cairo, destroyed much of the Wadi Raiyan oasis and its population of slender horned gazelles.

A lodge, which costs $400 per night and has attracted guests such as Britain's Prince Charles and Belgium's Queen Paola, shows that the desert would be better used for ecotourism than farming.

At the Desert Development Centre, irrigation water comes through a canal connected to the Nile, about 15km away, where it is used to keep crops flourishing and grass green for hardy hybrid cows to graze.

Experts believe greening the Sahara might be Egypt's best hope of bringing prosperity to its people.

Proximity to markets in Europe and a lack of pests, which usually thrive in humid environments, make desert farming economically viable. Water supply, Tutwiler said, shouldn't be an issue at least for the next ten years. It makes sense, he says, to expand agriculture onto land that was once useless.  rw 022179

Georgia Governor, Corps Differ Over Extent of Water Emergency.   October 2007   CNN.com
Georgia Gov. declared a water emergency in north Georgia on Saturday as its water resources dwindled to a dangerously low level. But an Army Corps of Engineers official denied there is a crisis.

The Gov asked for President Bush's help in easing regulations that require the state to send water to Alabama and Florida and to declare 85 counties as federal disaster areas.

He blasted rules governing the water supplies, noting that if the state got rains, it could not by law conserve those, but must release 3.2 billion gallons a day downstream.

The Army Corps of Engineers said if there were nine months without rain, water supplies still would be adequate. The corps, releases 5,000 feet of water per second from the dam between Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River.

The figure was based on a Florida hydroelectric power plant's needs, as well as concern for endangered species in the river. Georgia filed a motion to require the Army Corps of Engineers to restrict water flows from the lake and other Georgia reservoirs. The corps said it needs 120 days to review its water policies, according to Perdue.

Rainfall is far below normal for this time of year.

Lake Lanier levels have dropped to a historically low and is hurting businesses and scaring away tourists.

A new biological review of endangered species needs will end in November to see if water requirements can be reduced. Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been wrangling over how to allocate water from the Chattahoochee watershed as metro Atlanta's population has doubled since 1980. Georgia has imposed a ban on outdoor water use by homeowners in the region.  rw 021977

UN Warns Water Will Become the Dominant Global Issue This Century.   September 18, 2007   MaximsNews.com
Water will become the dominant global issue this century, and its availability could threaten the world's social stability. Rapid urbanization is placing enormous pressure on the availability of clean water and other natural resources. There is a need for "a fundamental change" in the way the world approaches water and sanitation. For the first time, more people live in cities than in rural areas, by 2030 the urban population will reach 60%. Urbanization is a reality that we must turn to our advantage as cities are the centres of economic and social development.

The urban poor pay exorbitant prices for water to private vendors. Policymakers must work together to ensure realistic pricing policies for water "that will allow its conservation, discourage waste, and ensure that the poor will be able to meet their basic needs. The current level of investment in water and sanitation in developing countries remains woefully inadequate. The private sector can bring efficiency gains and investment funds to the water sector.

Climate change, and its threat of extreme weather, jeopardized the urban poor's access to safe, drinkable water and reliable sanitation,  rw 021935

Lack of Water in Northern Sudan Refugee Camps Threaten Tens of Thousands.   August 28, 2007   McClatchy Newspapers
The demand for bricks has been a bonanza for many of the 54,000 people who've settled in Sudan after fleeing the war in Darfur. But making bricks requires water, and that's placed a huge strain on a region parched by years of drought. Nine of the boreholes that refugees rely on for water have run dry near Abu one of the largest camps in northern Darfur. The refugee crisis has badly overtaxed water supplies in parts of Darfur, and shortages could imperil the health of tens of thousands of people.

"Livelihoods that are thriving are placing unsustainable demands on natural resources.

As the population of camps continues to rise to 2.2 million, aid workers are scrambling to find new sources of water and urging refugees to conserve supplies.

UN officials in Sudan say the shortages could complicate the deployment of 20,000 peacekeeping troops seen as the best chance yet to end the conflict.

U.N. planners aren't sure how to provide enough water in such an inhospitable environment. By agreement, the current 7,000-strong African Union peacekeeping mission shares water with the relief effort. The water needs are going to increase. The arrival of several thousand peacekeepers only adds to that.

A Texas-sized region of mostly arid scrubland at the southern edge of the Sahara, Darfur has suffered for decades from a lack of water and a near-total absence of infrastructure.

Experts trace the origins of the current conflict to competition between farmers and nomadic livestock-herders over water and arable land, both of which have been disappearing.

Since 2003, hundreds of thousands of villagers have fled their homes and clustered near large towns.

Meanwhile, the area is getting drier. Average annual rainfall has declined by one-third over the past 80 years. Much of Darfur lies on a formation of igneous rock that doesn't hold water well, so the store of water in bore wells, doesn't get replenished.

American geologists who rediscovered a large, ancient lake deep underground in the far north of El Fasher last month said tapping into it could help solve the region's water shortage. But scientists think the lake has dried up.

Relief agencies are exploring other ways to supply water. Tanker trucks have been bringing water to one large camp in southern Darfur for two months, an expensive and risky alternative. But the water supply is a highly sensitive issue for Darfurians, who see it as a source not only of sustenance but also of commerce.

Making one brick can require up to a quart of water, but relief workers say they can't force people to stop the practice.

It's an ongoing crisis with no end in sight.  rw 021847

Too Much Water Or Too Little? Coping with the Inevitable.   August 28, 2007   Insurance News Net
If climate change initiates different conditions, communities may face problems from coastal inundation to drought to flash floods.

Discussions about how to adapt are being fueled by a changing political climate and a convergence of immediate problems. Coastal planners and property owners face erosion damage. Hurricanes have reminded U.S. coastal communities of their vulnerability.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels could continue to rise for centuries. Scientists concluded this year the planet is likely to see more heat waves, hurricane intensity, and forest fires. Coastal communities may face a choice: Do they try to keep waters at bay, or just let the sea advance? Communities are likely to mount a defense of heavily developed areas, but retreat as an option for undeveloped lands.

Sea walls may not have to go up until they're needed. But communities that decide on retreat may want to set rules ahead of time.

In the U.S., about 5,000 square miles of dry land lies within two feet of high tide, including development and critical infrastructure. A three-foot sea rise in San Francisco Options for protecting the city include elevating buildings and freeways, erecting levees, and replenishing beaches.

Florida is the state most vulnerable to natural disasters. A sea-level rise would inundate large areas. Hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 led to soaring home owner insurance rates. Miami-Dade County as a low-lying coastal community, probably has less time than people living in other parts of the country. South Florida gets most of its water from the porous Biscayne Aquifer.

Use of the aquifer is being curtailed to protect the Everglades, so managers have been looking elsewhere to meet the needs of rapid growth. But the aquifer is vulnerable to contamination. With rising seas, it may also be vulnerable to saltwater intrusion. Miami-Dade County expects to have desalinization process in production by 2012.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are considering climate change. Officials in New Orleans are building in extra capacity under the assumption that the walls will still function 50 years from now. The agency chartered to coordinate coastal restoration is calling for wetlands restoration. More than 1.2 million acres of coastal Louisiana have disappeared since the 1930s. Katrina and Rita alone removed 200 square miles of marsh.

In addition to absorbing the force of storms, wetlands slow erosion and filter pollution. Wetlands have shown a natural resiliency but if development blocks their path, wetlands may have no room to move.

Sea walls keep waters at bay but can cause the adjacent beaches to erode entirely.

On the Chesapeake Bay the thousands of miles of shoreline include swamps, marshes, and other wetlands with different levels of salinity. The bay is fed by fresh water from rivers such as the Susquehanna River, closer to the Atlantic, the water turns brackish. The changing waters provide habitats for 2,700 plant and animal species.

Subsidence has combined with rising waters to drive the Chesapeake's level up about one foot over the last century, nearly twice the global average. Residents abandoned a number of shrinking islands throughout the 20th century.

Also at risk are the tidal wetlands of the Eastern Shore, one of the Mid-Atlantic's largest expanses of coastal wetlands. On the Maine coast, state restrictions include a ban on seawalls along the sand dune system, to allow the system to function in a natural way, Just as coasts may get too wet, some inland areas may get too dry. The Great Lakes, could see a drop in water levels due to evaporation.

Such a decline could affect global shipping and the communities on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. Evaporation and a drop in precipitation could strain water supplies, especially in the West. The snowmelt replenishes rivers through spring and into summer. But the water is melting earlier in the year, reducing flows during the hot months when communities need it most.

The 2005 version of the California Water Plan, issued every five years, includes a range of options, including desalinization and water banking.

A 2005 salmon recovery plan outlines a 50-year restoration effort. But a NOAA study noted that higher Snohomish River water temperatures and the altered flows caused by climate change will make recovery targets harder to reach.

King County calls for the county's $1.7 billion Brightwater Treatment Plant, now under construction, to produce seven million gallons of reclaimed water a day by 2010. Changed conditions will be worked into designs of roads, bridges, landscaping, and efforts to protect water quality in Puget Sound and its tributaries.  rw 021849

Water Crisis May Threaten the Social Stability.   August 28, 2007   Terraviva Europe
UN Under-Secretary-General Anna Tibaijuka, says that whenever she goes home on vacation, she is deprived water in herhousing compound in Dar-es-Salaam.

She told IPS she has to buy water in her own home town, growing at 4% per annum with its population doubling every 15 years.

She said the growth of urban centres over the last 30 years is rapidly depleting once plentiful water resources. Mexico City has sunk some eleven metres over the past 70 years due to withdrawal of water from the city's groundwater sources. The UN says more than one billion people do not have access to drinking water and more than two billion have no sanitation facilities.

Tibaijuka told a meeting of more than 2,000 water professionals, technicians, scientists and policy makers, that water is going to be the dominant world issue. We need to better utilise our abundant human and natural resources and scarce financial resources.

A minimum investment of 8.0 billion dollars annually would assure that every country in that region could halve the proportion of people without access to water and sanitation.

The author of the study says that the 8.0 billion dollar annual investment will yield a 54 billion annual return.

Every dollar invested in access to water and sanitation returns six dollars in health, livelihood and educational benefits.

Despite such clear justifications Asian governments have not stepped up investments.

ADBS will establish a Water Financing Partnership Facility to mobilise 100 million dollars in co-financing from development partners in the North.

Pakistan's Minister for Environment said last month that climate change poses serious risks and challenges, particularly to developing countries.

He added that to enable developing countries to pursue sustainable development and to address the challenges posed by climate change, rich nations should provide adequate, new and additional financing. Also he called for the transfer of technology to developing countries, through financial instruments and mechanisms.

Industrial nations should implement their commitments relating to economic and social development and environmental sustainability.  rw   Ralph says: Perhaps we should tie increased aid to reduced population growth. Karen Gaia says: yes, instead of investing in a very limited resource where returns will be small. 021850

Water: Where Does Africa Stand?.   August 22, 2007   Agoravox
There are the developed countries who are using more water, wastefully, than they should, and there are developing countries, where over a billion people do not have clean drinking water. Africa is the most vulnerable.

Africa has the lowest water supply and sanitation coverage in the world and is said to be the most vulnerable to climate change, which will result in more sufferings and devastation on the continent. The main cause is a lack of clean, safe drinking water.

The African Union should make the provision of safe drinking water a priority. Otherwise, the future for Africa is bleak.  rw 021811

Massive Water Shortage to Hit Turkey After 2050.   August 09, 2007   Today's Zaman
According to the World Wide Fund Turkey (WWF Turkey), Turkey will be faced with grave water shortages after 2050, if it continues managing its water in an inefficient fashion. Turkey is not a water-rich country. Water resources will be used at full capacity in 2030. Turkey is set to suffer from a water shortage crisis after 2050. WWF Turkey suggests a set of precautions from improving water management to using the country's dams more efficiently. Dam investments should be made from risk and cost-benefit analyses. WWF Turkey points out that new dam-building and irrigation projects should be in accordance with the EU Water Framework Directive.

The condition of the wetlands in Turkey is not promising, owing to the management of these areas. The wetlands have been spoiled due to dams being built on rivers without sufficient planning, half of which have dried over the last five decades owing to pollution, illegal fishing and hunting. Lake Kestel in Burdur, Lake Gavur in Kahramanmaras, Lake Sugla and Lake Samsam in Konya have been dried up to transform these areas into agricultural land, while Lake Aksehir of Konya has, shrunk to from 350 square kilometers to just 30.

Lake Tuz occupied 260,000 hectares of land in 1997, it has shrunk to 160,000 hectares. Unfiltered wastewaters coming from agricultural land and Konya's lack of proper facilities for the disposal of sewage have aggravated the situation. The Hotamis Wetland has almost completely dried up as a result of irrigation channels. The Esmekaya wetland bordering Aksaray has been damaged by the unfinished project to transform it into a dam lake and has completely dried out.

WWF Turkey says that problems stem from poor management of water resources. Monitoring water resources is the DSI's responsibility, while protecting them from pollution and carrying out inspections are the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. The result is the lack of coordination and cooperation between institutions, incompatibility of the legal regulations and conflict of authority.  rw 021746

Venezuela Fulfills Millennium Drinking Water Supply Goals 10 Years Ahead of Time.   August 06, 2007   VHeadline.com
Venezuela has fulfilled millennium goals regarding drinking water. 94% of the urban population and more than 82% of rural communities have guaranteed drinking water supplies.

This is 10 years ahead of the United Nations goal. Achieving the goal relied on community participation via civilian organizations to analyze water problems in each region and then to present projects to resolve the situation.  rw 021729

Venezuela Achieves Water Millennium Goal.   August 04, 2007   Prensa Latina
Venezuela fulfilled millennium goals regarding drinking water assured the Vice Minister of Water Resources. Currently, 94% of the urban population and more than 82% in the rural region have drinking water supply guaranteed.

Achieving this goal counted on the participation of the communities through civilian organizations that analyses water problems in their region.

Projects are presented to government entities to solve the problem. It is set down in the nation's Constitution, that water is a public right.

The UN Objectives of Development call for the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, reduction of infant mortality and universal right to primary education.

These goals should be reached before the end of 2015.

Objective number seven calls for a reduction by half of the percentage of persons lacking access to drinking water.  rw 021715

Africa;: Unequal Water Resources Present a Challenge.   July 25, 2007   Interpress Service
Water resources are unevenly distributed throughout the countries of Southern Africa. The Congo River, flowing through the rainforests of Central Africa, is second only to the Amazon. Lake Tanganyika contains the second largest volume of freshwater in the world, and Lake Victoria has the second largest surface area of any freshwater lake.

Five river basins carry more than enough water to ensure that all inhabitants of the region are well supplied. The region is also home to two deserts - the Kalahari the Namib Desert. Long dry periods have proved disastrous for farmers in marginal areas and left urban slums vulnerable to diseases.

This uneven distribution has motivated engineers to devise plans to improve the management of Southern Africa's water resources. However, in spite of the overall regional availability of water and substantial international aid, there are still many rural and urban poor who do not have access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

In Mozambique, 43% of people have access to potable water, and in Angola, 53%, Zambia, 58%.

The U.N. committed to stop the unsustainable exploitation of water resources. Eight Goals aimed at reducing poverty and improving living conditions for the poorest people by 2015.

Goal seven includes a target to halve the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

While the international community as a whole appears to be on track to meet this target, sub-Saharan Africa is falling short.

Authorities in Southern Africa are slow in piping water to rural areas that experience water shortages because in some cases dams have not been built, while in others existing facilities have not been properly maintained.

Poor farming methods have exacerbated water shortages, and instead of water being stored in the soil, it gushes through erosion channels into the nearest river. Rapid population growth and urbanisation are putting strain on the water authorities in urban areas. Effluent remains exposed among the shacks, and creates a breeding ground for bacteria.

Most countries in the region have devoted resources to their national water authorities, and are working with donor agencies to improve water provision. Most of the rivers and lakes are relatively clean when compared to the industrialised world, and other emerging countries. However, much remains to be done.  rw   Ralph says: The only true solution is to halt the population growth. The basic source of so many of our problems. 021658

Earth Policy Release - Water Tables Falling and Rivers Running Dry.   July 24, 2007   Earth Policy Institute Plan B 2.0
The world's demand for water has tripled over the last half-century and the demand for hydroelectric power has grown even faster.

Scores of countries are overpumping aquifers, including each of the big three grain producers--China, India, and the United States. There are two types of aquifers: replenishable and nonreplenishable aquifers. Most of the aquifers in India and the shallow aquifer under the North China Plain are replenishable. When these are depleted, the maximum rate of pumping is automatically reduced to the rate of recharge.

For fossil aquifers, such as the U.S. Ogallala aquifer, the deep aquifer under the North China Plain, or the Saudi aquifer, depletion brings pumping to an end. In more arid regions, such as in the southwestern United States or the Middle East, the loss of irrigation water means the end of agriculture.

Chinese wheat farmers in some areas are now pumping from nearly 1,000 feet. Pumping water from this far down raises pumping costs so high that farmers are forced to abandon irrigation and return to less productive dryland farming. China is overpumping three river basins in the north including the Huai. Since it takes 1,000 tons of water to produce one ton of grain, the shortfall in the Hai basin of nearly 40 billion tons of water per year means that when the aquifer is depleted, the grain harvest will drop by 40 million tons. In India, water shortages are serious because the margin between food consumption and survival is so precarious. In India the 21 million wells drilled are lowering water tables in most of the country. In North Gujarat, the water table is falling by 20 feet per year. In Tamil Nadu, a state with more than 62 million people, wells are going dry and falling water tables have dried up 95% of the wells owned by small farmers, reducing the irrigated area by half over the last decade.

Well drillers are going as deep as 1,000 meters in some locations. In communities where underground water sources have dried up entirely, all agriculture is rain-fed and drinking water is trucked in.

In the U.S. parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas the underground water table has dropped by more than 100 feet and wells have gone dry on thousands of farms. Irrigated land accounts for only one fifth of the U.S. grain harvest, compared with three fifths of the harvest in India and four fifths in China.

In the Pakistani part of the fertile Punjab plain, the drop in water tables appears similar to that in India. Wells show a fall in the water table between 1982 and 2000 that ranges from 1 to nearly 2 meters a year.

In Quetta, water tables are falling by 3.5 meters per year. Within 15 years Quetta will run out of water.

Iran is overpumping its aquifers by 5 billion tons of water per year, equivalent to one third of its annual grain harvest. Under the Chenaran Plain in northeastern Iran, the water table was falling by 2.8 meters a year in the late 1990s. New wells being drilled both for irrigation and to supply the nearby city of Mashad are responsible. Villages in eastern Iran are being abandoned as wells go dry.

Saudi Arabia developed an extensive irrigated agriculture based largely on its deep fossil aquifer. After several years the government was forced to face fiscal reality and cut the subsidies. Its wheat harvest dropped from 4 million tons in 1992 to 2 million tons in 2005. Saudi farmers are now pumping water from wells that are 1,200 meters deep (nearly four fifths of a mile).

In Yemen, a nation of 21 million, the water table under most of the country is falling by 2 meters a year as water use outstrips the sustainable yield of aquifers. World Bank projections indicate the Sana'a Basin, site of the national capital, Sana'a, and home to 2 million people, will be pumped dry by 2010.

The Yemeni government has drilled test wells 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) deep, but have failed to find water. Yemen must soon decide whether to bring water by pipeline from coastal desalting plants, or to relocate the capital. Israel is depleting both of its principal aquifers. Israel's population, whose growth is fueled by both natural increase and immigration, is outgrowing its water supply. Conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians over the allocation of water are ongoing. Because of severe water shortages, Israel has banned the irrigation of wheat.

In Mexico, the demand for water is outstripping supply. In the agricultural state of Guanajuato, the water table is falling by 2 meters or more a year. About 51% of all the water extracted from underground is from aquifers that are being overpumped.

Depletion of aquifers means creating potentially unmanageable food scarcity.

Two rivers are dry before they reach the sea. The Colorado, and the Yellow, the largest river in northern China. Other large rivers that are reduced to a mere trickle during the dry season are the Nile, the Indus, which supplies most of Pakistan's irrigation water; and the Ganges in India's densely populated Gangetic basin. Since 1950, the number of large dams has increased from 5,000 to 45,000. Each dam deprives a river of some of its flow.

Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and, most important, California depend heavily on the Colorado's water and the river is drained dry before it reaches the Gulf of California. This excessive demand for water is destroying the river's ecosystem. A similar situation exists in Central Asia. China's Yellow River has been under mounting pressure for several decades. Since 1985 it has often failed to reach the sea, although better management and greater reservoir capacity have facilitated year-round flow in recent years. The Nile now barely makes it to the sea. Pakistan is heavily dependent on the Indus. This river not only provides surface water, it also recharges aquifers that supply the irrigation wells dotting the Pakistani countryside. In the face of growing water demand, it too is starting to run dry in its lower reaches. Pakistan is in trouble.

In Southeast Asia, the flow of the Mekong is being reduced by the dams on its upper reaches. The downstream countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Viet Nam complain about the reduced flow but this has done little to curb China's efforts to exploit the power and the water in the river.

The same problem exists with the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Virtually all the water in the basin is being used. If people upstream use more water, those downstream will get less. Balancing water demand and supply is imperative. Failure to do so means that water tables will continue to fall, more rivers will run dry, and more lakes and wetlands will disappear.  rw 021924

Could Climate Change Herald Mass Migration.   July 22, 2007   The Star
In the Southwest and parts of the Southeast there is drought, and water supply depletion, and with climate change; things can only get worse.

In Cleveland, over the past four decades, the population has bled to less than half, as it has in Buffalo and Detroit. And the loss continues.

The crises of the rust belt and the Southwest are, inexorably linked. Each has what the other does not. In Phoenix, affluence; in Cleveland, and in Detroit, near-endless water in the Great Lakes alone, as much as 25% of the world's supply.

It's time to stop spending money to build carrying capacity in places that don't have it by nature, and start investing in places that do.

The population of the US is expected to reach 450 million by 2050. The predicted pattern of settlement for these new citizens will take them to the seven most built-out regions of the country Arizona, Texas, Florida and California among them. You're going to have 150 million people living in at least seven of the major regions that don't have water. It's an ecological disaster waiting to happen.

In 1922, seven states signed the Colorado River Compact, which divvied up the waterway's seemingly abundant flow. But recent observation show only 2% of the water makes it beyond the U.S. border. With climate change, river flow has been dwindling. It is the main water source for more than 30 million people from Colorado to the Mexico border. Climate change projections show temperatures in the most parched regions of the Southwest increasing between five and seven degrees.

In Arizona, the Greater Phoenix region continues to bust at the seams. Greater Phoenix will likely crest at 4 million people some time this year. It is a city that shouldn't be there, so distant is the water supply.

Technology may well make such things as desalination possible, but at a destructive energy cost that simply exacerbates the problem.  rw 021628

When the Rivers Run Dry: Water--the Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century.   July 20, 2007   Population Media
Temperatures on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau have risen about 0.42 degrees C each decade since the 1980's. China is also likely to experience the effects of severe drought.

Along the Cordillera Blanca, glaciers are retreating about 200ft per year. China's population constitutes about one fifth of the world's total Andes Amazon provides about one fifth of the world's fresh water.

The world's largest population and the world's largest river basin are, at the mercy of glacial ablation. The result will undoubtedly provide obstacles, but it will also provide opportunities for investors.

A typical Westerner consumes a hundred times their own weight in water every day, because it takes between 2,000 and 5,000 litres of water to grow one kilogram of rice, 11,000 litres to grow the feed for a quarter-pound hamburger, 50 cups of water for a teaspoon of sugar and 140 litres of water to produce just one cup of coffee. Two-thirds of all the water taken from the environment goes to irrigate crops. Every T-shirt takes 25 bathtubs of water to produce. Every small car uses 450,000 litres. The global virtual-water trade is estimated at around a thousand cubic kilometres a year, or 20 river Niles. Two-thirds of this is in crops, a quarter in meat and dairy products, and a tenth in industrial products. Jordan, for example, imports 80%-90% of its water in the form of food.

London's long-term average rainfall has now dropped below that of Istanbul, Dallas and Nairobi. Australia is suffering severe droughts, India's water table is at an all-time low and dropping fast, China is suffering from annual droughts, with Peking besieged by sand storms from the ever-expanding Gobi Desert.

Rivers are running dry across the world. Governments who concentrate on draining subterranean aquifers need to look for other solutions. We could grow crops with a quarter of the water we currently use. People don't pay an economic price for water because Government subsidies keep prices artificially low. So where can investors make profits from an industry that is the third-largest in the world? Invest in companies that provide solutions to the problems caused by decades of water mismanagement.

Desalinization is set for growth. The city of Almeria collects and recycles all of its water, using it for agriculture. The Programa Agua will supply desalinization facilities along the Mediterranean coast.

Huge volumes of power are needed to drive the pumps, but so many people are investing that the unit costs are coming down.

Malta and the Canaries have been using desalination for four to five decades. Big cities are beginning to take it seriously. New water-quality standards are being put in place in China and India, which will drive major new investments in water treatment and purification. There are countries with an over-abundance of water, with opportunities for sale to other countries. Canada, has the same amount of water as China, but just 2.3% of its population. As the value of water rises, countries like these will start to export their spare reserves to those more in need and willing to pay. Turkey exports water to Israel and Cyprus in large balloons that can hold up to five million gallons of water. Singapore buys 10% of its water from private-sector suppliers who have built desalinization plants. One South Korean firm makes desalination plants and is the world's largest maker of plants that purify seawater. The global water industry is valued at $300bn a year and it can't be long until investors finally catch on.  rw   Karen Gaia says: Many of the solutions are so energy-intensive that, as the price of a smaller and smaller supply of oil goes up with an increasing demand driven by population, no one will be able to afford water coming from a desalinazation plant. There is only a limited supply of water at any one time, and throwing more money at it will only succeed in securing the water supply for the rich. 021612

Development of 50-Year State Water Plan Discussed.   July 20, 2007   Norman Transcript website
The Oklahoma Legislature was motivated to update the state's 1995 water plan because of dwindling reservoirs and aquifers.

The goal is to provide a safe and dependable water supply for all Oklahomans, while improving the economy and protecting the environment.

The water plan is expected to consider population growth, future water needs, competing water interests, vulnerability to drought and flooding, environmental protection and economic development.

Surface water is considered to be publicly owned and subject to appropriation by the OWRB for “beneficial use.”

Groundwater is considered private property that belongs to the overlying surface owner.

Since 1973, water wells have increased tenfold. Laws were written to encourage Oklahoma to use water to thrive and grow.

Public water supplies are the primary user of surface water or reservoirs, with irrigation for agricultural uses the biggest user of groundwater.

All of Oklahoma's aquifers dropped several feet from 2001 to 2006, as a result of drought.

The Arbuckle-Simpson and Blaine aquifers dropped more than 21 feet and almost 10 feet, respectively, during that period, but respond very quickly to drought or to rain. Oklahoma had a population of about 3.5 million in 2000. That's projected by to increase by 38% by 2060.

Current Oklahoma law allows the OWRB to issue groundwater use permits based on an assumed 20-year lifetime for the aquifer, which is unsustainable. It was recommended to transfer water from the Kiamichi River in southeastern Oklahoma.

Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said the state water plan has to emphasize conservation. Destructive competition will happen if there is not funding assistance.

Norman environmental specialist Debbie Smith said she would like the state to require communities that receive financial assistance to develop a water conservation plan. Everybody knows that water conservation is the cheapest way to get more water.

But if there is no sustainability, it's not going to work, There should be no ownership of water.

Americans as a whole do not have any idea of the value of water.  rw 021615

Sudan;: Darfur Conflict Hurting Environment.   July 18, 2007   USA Today
Decades of drought triggered Darfur's violence as rival groups fought over scarce water and arable land.

Now, the war is making the environment even worse.

Darfur could be repeated in much of North Africa and the Middle East, because growing populations are straining a very limited water supply. Darfur's ethnic African farmers and tribes of Arab nomads had long been competing for the region's meager resources, But the droughts of the 1980s sharpened the conflict.

When African tribes took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated government in 2003, the Arabs in Darfur were willing allies of the government because they were competing with the farmers for water.

The world must learn from the Darfur conflict, the effects that global warming have on hopes for peace.

Annual rainfall in North Darfur has dropped by nearly half since 1917.

In 2003, 7.48 inches of rain fell while Darfur's population increased sixfold over the past four decades, to 6.5 million.

Arab nomads drifted south, bringing their cattle to lands that African villagers were farming.

The herds destroyed fields and worsened soil erosion so the Africans rebelled when the central government seemed indifferent to their plight.

On a recent morning, camels grazed on what used to be fertile fields. Village after village destroyed and abandoned, with houses plundered and water pumps knocked down. Nomads have cut down many of the trees that are crucial because they help stabilize the soil and provide shade for crops. Even steps to reduce human suffering are causing environmental problems.

International relief organizations set up vast camps to care for and protect those at risk. Aid groups dug bore holes to provide water. Darfur's land is largely hard rock, so most of the scant rain that does fall washes away, and the underground reserves are the only reliable water source. But the wells are depleting that water.

The problem has become so severe that some camps in neighboring Chad may have to be moved. In El Fasher's Abu Shouk camp, seven bore holes have already dried up. Refugees are rapidly destroying forests around the camps by cutting trees for firewood and to reinforce the mud walls of their homes.

Many earn money by producing mud bricks, which requires lots of water along with more wood to fire the kilns. It takes the equivalent of 35 trees to bake bricks in just one kiln. Once the war is over, families will require more wood to rebuild their homes. A traditional family compound requires the wood from 30 to 40 trees,which means 12 to 16 million trees for the 2.5 million refugees. A U.S. aid group has introduced a stove that uses up to 80% less wood and three-quarters of the camp's families now use the stoves. In Southern Darfur, groups are seeking to reconcile farmers and nomads to protect what has not yet been destroyed.

There used to be forests here, antelopes, even sometimes elephants. The Arabs agreed to pay for damage done to crops by their cattle because they realize they must live in harmony with the African farmers.

Sudan's government says it has plans for a pilot project to spend $10 million to replant trees and build dams.

We need the richer countries to realize desertification is the emergency and help us.  rw 021597

U.S.;: Mayors Want More Help on Water Conservation.   July 13, 2007   Journal Times
Mayors of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River cities want a greater focus on water conservation. Although the lakes are full of water, only 1% is renewable. Water treatment and distribution is energy-intensive, consuming less water means reducing greenhouse gases. And municipalities save money through water conservation.

But cities facing aging infrastructures need help upgrading them. 29 municipalities have joined the challenge of reducing water use by 15% over year 2000 by 2015. About half have conservation plans running, and those cities have saved 58 billion gallons of water since 2000.

In Wisconsin conservation has been emphasized for cities using wells. This fall the utility will bring in a company to help detect leaks. As to whether pumping less water will save money, that's harder to determine. Pumps have to run all the time to maintain water pressure so savings would probably be negligible.  rw 021562

WWF Says Desalination No Answer to Water Crisis.   June 20, 2007   Scotsman.com
Desalination is very energy-intensive and involves emissions of greenhouse gases that scientists say are a factor in the shrinking supplies of freshwater.

Arid countries should rely more on water conservation and recycling. Desalination projects have been linked to pollution and ecosystem damage.

The lure of widespread water availability from desalination has the potential to drive a major misdirection of public attention, policy and funds.

Concerns about global warming, which could erode the world's icecaps and glaciers, which provide 69% of freshwater, are expected to spur investments in the technology.

Some farmers have used desalination to grow thirsty crops in dry areas, an unsustainable trend given its high energy costs. Regions have ways to supply water that are less risky to the environment.

The WWF estimated there were more than 10,000 desalination plants around the world. Half of the desalination capacity is in the Gulf area, where wealthy oil-producing nations use it for about 60% of their water needs.

Australian cities have also relied heavily on the technology and Spain has used it extensively.

Large-scale desalination could also endanger sea life, and demands research into the tolerance of marine organisms and ecosystems. Desalination could have important uses in cases such as environments with brackish water, the WWF said that big plants ought to be approved only in where they meet a real need and must be built and operated to minimize environmental damage.  rw 021406

Australia;: Search for Coast Site Begins.   June 19, 2007   Age
The search is for land to build Victoria's $3.1 billion desalination plant. A 20-hectare site on the Bass Coast is needed for what will be one of the world's biggest desalination plants.

The project is to boost drinking water supplies to Melbourne, Geelong, Western Port and Wonthaggi by 150 billion litres a year by 2011.

Obstacles include environmental concerns and mounting pressure in the Bass Coast Shire.

But the plant will provide water supplies for the drought-stricken region, including Phillip Island, where storages are down to 7%.

In 2003, Bass Coast was regional Victoria's fastest-growing municipality. The permanent population of 30,000 is expected to double in 30 years.

Staff had started approaching landowners about sites.

Under acquisition laws, people can be forced to sell their properties.

A letter was circulated in Wonthaggi after the proposal to pump a third of Melbourne's water from the ocean was made public.

The impact of a desalination plant on the coastal landscape could be an issue. South Gippsland Conservation Society expressed concern about the project impact. Melbourne Water's own feasibility study also highlighted water quality risks because of the plant's proximity to Wonthaggi's sewage treatment outfall, and economic risks from past coal mining activity that could restrict tunnelling and construction.

Noise and vibration would have to be managed with large buffer zones around the plant. The plan won support from the Australian Industry Group and the Property Council.

Environment in Victoria was also upbeat. "There are potential benefits from desalination. It can take pressure off our stressed rivers during drought."

But international conservation group WWF released a report condemning reliance on desalination because of its high energy use and possible risk to marine life.

The proposal includes an 85-kilometre pipeline to pump water into Melbourne's Cardinia Reservoir.

The feasibility study estimated the carbon dioxide emissions from the plant would be 1 million tonnes a year if it was powered by coal, but the Government promised to add 90 megawatts of renewable energy to Victoria's grid equal to the plant's power needs.  rw   Ralph says: A perfect example of how the ever growing population exceeds nature's resources. 021403

US Louisina;: Louisiana Plan to Reclaim Land Would Divert the Mississippi.   May 01, 2007   Washington Post
To save the state from washing into the ocean at 24 square miles per year, Louisiana officials are developing a $50 billion plan to provide flood protection and reclaim land-building sediment from the Missisippi river.

This will be one of the great engineering challenges of the 21st century, but something has to be done.

The plan allows the Mississippi to flow out of its levees, creating seven or more new waterways that would carry a volume of water similar to that of the Potomac River. Those diversions would carry the Mississippi and its land-enhancing sediment into the eroding coastal areas. Other elements in the plan call pumping sediment to rebuild marshes and barrier islands. Hundreds of miles of new or reconstructed levees would add flood protection.

The plan faces two political hurdles. First, the state legislature, must approve it on a straight up-or-down vote. Shipping and fishing interests have been quiet so far.

Winning federal approval and money, is expected to be more difficult.

Washington has been unwilling to commit such large sums of money. A $14 billion Louisiana coastal restoration program was shrunk to about $1 billion in 2004 after the Office of Management and Budget called it too expensive.

But that was before the wetland loss was making the state far more vulnerable to storm surge. We didn't want to take risks before, but now we're ready.

For decades, the steady loss of Louisiana's coastal wetlands was considered a slow-motion disaster, but not an emergency.

Most of southeastern Louisiana was built over the past 6,000 years by the sediment of the Mississippi River, which naturally changed course and flooded over the millennia. Since the settlement of New Orleans, the levees built to prevent flooding have contributed to a loss of land.

The river could no longer occasionally change course and overflow to spread its sediment and build up the land. At the same time, the wetland vegetation that had helped hold the existing land together was crisscrossed with navigation canals, paths for oil rigs and gas pipelines.

Since the 1930s, an estimated 1,900 square miles of land have been lost. Entire communities have shrunk over the decades to narrow strips. After each storm, more families relocate to higher ground.

The most prominent argument over the plan concerns the extent and location of the new levees, which could extend protection for much of southern Louisiana.

Some communities, are facing the prospect of being left out.

On the other side environmentalists and scientists say the vast earthen walls will damage any wetlands they cross. In the long run, building the levees could be self-defeating.

Healthy tidal wetlands are not compatible with levee construction, and without healthy wetlands the land loss will continue.

"We are not embarrassed to say we want to provide hurricane protection to as many communities as we can," said Jon Porthouse of the state's Department of Natural Resources. "But there is a lot of planning to be done before we say, 'The levees will go here.' "

River diversions may pose larger challenges. River diversions will not rescue threatened communities. It could be hundreds or thousands of years before we see a spot of land. By removing the flow from the Mississippi River's main channel, the more than 6,000 ships that travel through New Orleans to the ocean each year may have to find an alternate route nearby, possibly through a system of locks and canals, that would increase travel time and add to costs. The diversions would also dilute salt water in estuaries, altering the region's shrimp and oyster harvest.

If we solve this problem, it's going to hurt some people, but if we don't solve it, it's going to hurt all the people."

Some global-warming scenarios lead scientists to say it is just a portent of what could happen to other coastal areas in the United States.  rw 021115

US Arizona;: Massive Growth Requires Some Difficult Choices.   May 01, 2007   Arizona Daily Star
A picture of an urbanized and traffic-choked Arizona makes today's growth problems trivial.

Predictions of population growth, a boom in developments, and government's inability to deal with transportation demands that come with growth over the next 30 years.

The 13.3 million people living between Sierra Vista and Prescott will increase by 8 million in the next three decades.

The state must do a better job of preparing for that growth. Nobody has figured out where Arizona will get enough water to accommodate the projected growth, or money to build the transportation to accommodate 8 million additional residents.

In 1960, Tucson was 71 square miles and the population 213,000. In 1970, the city was 80 square miles and the population had jumped to 263,000. In 1980 the city's population jumped to 330,500 and borders expanded to 100 square miles, about half of what it is today.

From 1980 to 1990, the population jumped another 75,000. By March, 1990 it had spread across another 57 square miles.

Nowadays, Tucson's population is roughly a half million and the metropolitan region is nearly 228 square miles.

Growth that is unmanaged and uncontrolled has produced costly and potentially dangerous water problems and a transportation "system" that has become a nightmare. If the planners are accurate, in the next 30 years we can expect uninterrupted development from the southeastern part of the state to Prescott Valley, 100 miles northwest of Phoenix.

Other planners look at expanding from Sierra Vista through Prescott and on to Las Vegas. When Arizonans talk about quality-of-life, they refer to good weather and open spaces.

Rarely do we hear from voters who are advocates for sustainable cities where water conservation becomes public policy, where higher densities are a necessary antidote to sprawl. Arizona needs an education program to create a society with an awareness of what it means to live in a land of limited resources.  rw 021120

US California;: Snowpack Lowest Since 1988.   April 26, 2007   San Francisco Chronicle
The Sierra Nevada snowpack is at its lowest level in 20 years, less than 40%. The size of the snowpack, the source of most of the state's drinking water, has prompted calls for immediate conservation. Orders to curtail use of water could become mandatory this summer. This year the snowpack didn't grow after the first week in March. There was a lot less snow falling and a lot more snow melting. But the state water agency isn't expecting shortages this summer because the reservoirs are relatively full. The Department of Water Resources will take the last manual measurements of the snow season. The April 1 reading was 40% of the average, and monitors show the snowpack is 38% of average. Each of the state's main sources of river water, the east side of the Sierra and watersheds of the Colorado and Feather rivers, have less snow than normal. Ware allocation will be 60% of the contractors' requests, which is typical. But the federal Bureau of Reclamation has cut by 50% its water allocations for farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Towns south of the delta will get 85% of their federal water supply. It is hoped that a voluntary effort will avoid mandatory rationing later this summer. There is a possibility there will have to be mandatory cuts on both city and regional customers. The low snowpack in 2007 is too speculative to try to connect an individual year or an individual event with long-term climate change. This has been a very dry year, firefighters are asking people to clear away dead trees and plants and remove leaves from gutters.  rw 021077
Drought: How Bad This Time?.   April 17, 2007   San Francisco Examiner
This winter was the fourth driest on record. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission warned its 2.4 million Bay Area customers last week that mandatory water rationing might be imposed as early as this summer. The Sierra snowpack, source of 65% of the water supplying San Francisco, the Peninsula and Silicon Valley, is less than half of normal. The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is only 27% full.

Most of California's major water providers joined SFPUC in issuing the first call for immediate water conservation. California already made major strides in reducing its water use, so another new round of significant cutbacks could be harder to achieve. The state's water consumption has held steady since 1970, even while population more than doubled to some 37 million. But with the state's population on track to reach 55 million by 2050, overall water demand is going up.

The Earth seems to be entering one of its recurrent warming cycles. Much of California and the West have a predominantly dry climate. Water supply relies heavily on an annually replenished snowpack and rivers. Salt water from rising ocean levels could contaminate the crucial Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water supply.

Remedies range from building more dams to spending billions on consumer rebates for installation of water-saving devices. Large-scale measures with potential promise include increased use of recycled water for irrigation, and improved coordination of reservoir water releases in response to weather conditions.

Californians need to become accustomed to drought-time water habits for the long term  rw 020961

Imperial Valley: in Bone-dry Region, a Battle for Leaking Water.   April 13, 2007  
South of the border between California and Mexico, vast farms thrive on water that seeps underground from a leaky irrigation canal in the Imperial Valley. California water managers want to capture the leakage to supply the subdivisions near San Diego, and more efficiently use their share of the Colorado River. California environmentalists and Mexican farmers took the battle to federal court, but the Court of Appeals ruled last week that the project can proceed. Officials who say they are merely fixing a leak, and ensuring that they don't have to look to Northern California for additional waste. But with a persistent drought that some scientists say is worsened by global warming, and booming populations, the decision could exacerbate tensions over water between the two nations. The project would replace the earthen ditch with a concrete-lined channel for 23 of the canal's 82 miles. It is expected to recoup enough water for half a million people. Most will go to the San Diego County Water Authority, with 17% reserved to settle water disputes with American Indian tribes. The seven states that rely on the Colorado River consider the project key to an agreement that would reduce California's overuse of the river's water. But Mexican farmers charge that lining the canal would deprive them of the seepage that has flowed across the border since 1942. Environmental groups insisted that federal environmental protection and endangered species laws required the United States to study the impact on wetlands in the Mexicali Valley. The federal appeals court issued an emergency injunction blocking the project, but claimed that the Mexican plaintiffs could sue for monetary damages in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The court ruled that environmental concerns were trumped by the tax bill signed by President Bush in December. Construction could begin by June 1. Plaintiffs are contemplating an appeal to the full Ninth Circuit. In a time of increasing population and decreasing water supplies as a result of global warming, it is critical to save every drop of water. Water managers are concerned that the Colorado River is overcommitted -- with promises of water exceeding the river's annual flow. Its once-vast delta has been reduced to a smattering of wetlands fed by waste, such as the seepage from the All-American Canal. Pressure on water sources is likely to grow, along with tensions among the river's many users, as drought increases and human populations boom in the American Southwest and northwestern Mexico. This situation creates a precedent that could affect the relationship between the two countries. If the canal is lined with concrete, the accidental wetlands will dry up, eliminating the habitat for the Yuma clapper rail and a rare stopover for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway. Whenever you're increasing the efficiency of water-delivery systems, you're harming wetlands. Nobody wants to waste water, but the water that goes to these habitats is not wasted.  rw   Karen Gaia says: Dry up Mexico so that Mexicans are forced to migrate to the U.S. and use that same water in the U.S. that they would have used in Mexico. Sounds like a vicious cycle to me. Already 1/9th the population of Mexico has have moved to the U.S. This will just add to the millions that have already come here, most of them working at slave wages. Having people come to the U.S. to earn money breaks up families, sends the smartest most gifted people away from their countries and leaves the source country with poor planning capabilities, not enough doctors and other professionals, and an unsustainable economy. People who think immigration is good should open their eyes and see what it is doing to the world. 020919
Two-Thirds of World Population Could Face Water Shortage in 2025: FAO.   March 22, 2007   Age
The FAO said that two-thirds of the world's population could be threatened by water shortages by 2025. Today 1.2 billion people live in areas with insufficient water and an additional 500 million could soon face shortages.

Climate change and pollution are making it difficult for southern countries to provide themselves with food.

Africa has 9% of the planet's water resources, but uses only 3.8%. Water resources on the continent are not well-distributed. Lake Victoria, Africa's largest freshwater reserve, fell two meters below normal in 2005.

Because of measures taken by countries with water access, the level was increased by 70 centimetres in 2006, but there is concern about next season.

Since 2002, Europe has committed 535 million dollars for short-term water-access projects, and 475 million for long-term projects. Italy's deputy foreign minister said access to water should be viewed as a basic and right and not be subject to private interests seeking to profit from it.  rw 020691

Living with Water Scarcity -- World Must Act Now.   March 21, 2007   Eureka Alert
A Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture - the first of its kind, brings together the work of over 700 specialists, examining policies and practices of water use and development in the agricultural sector over the last 50 years.

One-third of the world's population live in areas where water scarcity must be reckoned with. Much of this cannot be avoided, but can be averted through better water management. As a rule of thumb, about one litre of liquid water gets converted to water vapor to produce one calorie of food. A heavy meat diet requires much more water than a vegetarian diet.

The relation between water and food is a struggle for over two thirds of world's 850 million under-nourished people. There is water scarcity in India and China, because of rapid economic growth in both countries. Diets are more dependent on animal products. In China, meat demand has quadrupled over the last 30 years, and in India milk and egg products are increasingly popular. Growing cities take more water, and environmental concerns are rising.

Water use in agriculture is one of the major drivers of ecosystem degradation. Flows of rivers in important food producing areas dry up because of the water needed for irrigated agriculture. More people require more water for more food; more water is essential in the fight against poverty; yet we should limit the amount of water taken from ecosystems.

In the worst case scenario where practices don't change, water use will double. Agricultural practices are changing, but not fast enough.

With wise policies and investments it is possible over the next 50 years to limit future growth in water withdrawals to 13% and cultivated land expansion to 9%. But complicating the situation are climate change and the increased use of biofuels. Water scarcity is with us to stay, and we have to learn to live with it.

Consider agriculture as an ecosystem producing multiple services for people and sustain biodiversity. We need to place the means of getting out of poverty into the hands of poor people by focusing on water as a means to raise their own food and gain more income.

Growing more food with less water can reduce future demand for water, thus easing competition for water and environmental degradation. A 35% increase in water productivity could reduce additional crop water needs from 80% to 20% by 2050.

Improving access to water, and using it better are essential in the fight against poverty.

Poverty, hunger, gender inequality, and environmental degradation continue to afflict developing countries because of political and institutional failings. While water scarcity is here to stay, many of the problems associated with water scarcity can be avoided. This will require that we deal with difficult choices and tradeoffs.  rw   Ralph says: Not a single suggestion that if we reduce the world population we cut the demand for water. I can remember only 70 or so years ago as a young boy walking through the British countryside and drinking from any stream Ii found. Water was universally available. It is the growth in population that is causing most of the problems we discuss in this web site, but no one wants to talk about it!!!! Karen Gaia says: the article ignores the problems of biofuels which will take over most of the water and the land used by poor people to grow food - just to keep the rich people of the planet in their cars and SUVs. 020677

Breastfeeding Safer for Some HIV - Infected Mothers.   February 26, 2007   Reuters
Breast-feeding may be the best option for HIV-infected mothers in developing countries. HIV-positive mothers generally are counseled to feed their babies formula, but that has caused problems in nations where clean water and other needs may not be met.

A pediatrician said that instructing HIV-infected mothers in developing nations to breast-feed would result in about 300,000 children becoming infected with HIV, but would save 1.5 million from dying of other diseases.

He suggested that HIV-positive women in countries with an infant mortality rate of 25% or higher be urged to breast-feed.

Women with HIV are at risk of passing the virus to their infants during pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding. Without intervention, 20 to 45% of babies would contract the virus from their mother. Studies showed a six-fold risk of death from infectious diseases in babies fed formula compared to those exclusively breast-fed.

In industrialized countries, that rate has been cut to less than 2% by drug treatment, Caesarean section and other methods.

A study out of Durban, South Africa, found that 4% of babies who were breast-fed contracted HIV.

If you have clean water, access to electricity and so on that's for formula. If you don't, then the need is for exclusive breast-feeding.  rw 020468

Australia;: States Split Over Controversial Recycling Plans.   January 29, 2007   The Australian
A plan to introduce recycled drinking water in Queensland has split the Labor states. John Howard unveiled a $10 billion plan that seizes control of the Murray-Darling Basin, and Queensland Premier Beattie said the state's southeast could be drinking recycled sewage next year.

Beattie said he was scrapping his plans for a plebiscite on the issue, claiming he had no choice but to make Brisbane drink recycled waste water.

The decision to introduce treated sewage for drinking has the support of the Prime Minister and the federal Opposition. South Australian Premier Rann and NSW Premier Iemma, rejected the Queensland plan.

Mr Rann said he would prefer desalination.

Malcolm Turnbull, who will be sworn in as minister for the environment and water resources, called on the states to be open-minded.

Put everything on the table, assess all costs and then make a decision.

Farms could be compulsorily acquired to modernise irrigation channels and cut water wastage.

Farmers are concerned that buying water entitlements could force them off the land. Mr Beattie predicted other major centres would introduce recycled water as critical shortages worsen.

People in southeast Queensland are expected to be drinking recycled effluent by the end of next year when a pipeline feeding the main water storages is completed.

And if below-average rainfall continues, they could be drinking it for up to 10 years.

Two of the state's main dams are now at 23% capacity. Mr Beattie said the Government would ensure the new standard of drinking water was 100% safe.  rw 020167

Policy Shift Protects Quality of Life.   January 01, 2007   Sun-Sentinel.com
With about 1,000 new residents moving to Florida daily, the state's population will grow by 5 million during the next 17 years. Recently, a report by 1000 Friends of Florida made dire predictions about Floridians' future quality of life based on future growth. Yet, Gov. Bush spearheaded growth management reforms that fund the infrastructure to meet growth demands.

This system bases decisions about new development on the ability to construct roads, build schools and supply water. Cities and counties must have plans and funding in place to meet the demands before new development is approved.

The reforms also require a closer link between local growth, development plans and the revenue for roads and transit systems. The law also places emphasis on approaches to improve the transportation system and prepare for future demands. This recognized the need for a connection between regional water supply planning and growth management.

The reforms established a trust fund to support water restoration and sustainability. More that $200 million was made available for desalinization, reuse and conservation projects.

The state has also taken strides in land conservation and restoration. Florida invests more money in land acquisition than any other entity in the nation. The state has invested more than $2 billion of a $3.3 billion commitment to restore America's Everglades. Florida is on a path to manage growth, that guarantees room on our roads, space in our classrooms and water for our natural environment.  rw   Karen Gaia says: desalinization takes large quantities of energy. Does Gov. Bush have a plan for the impending energy problems? In addtition, up until now, the pressure to develop in Florida has been tremendous. When money is involved, loopholes in the law can readily be found. 019855

Study Blames Humans for Western Water Woes; UCSD Study Says Natural Disasters Underscore Water Needs.   2007   NBCSandiego.com
A new study about water woes in the growing West in Science magazine said human activity is responsible for up to 60% of changes contributing to dwindling water supplies in the region. The study is likely to add to urgent calls for action already coming from Western states competing for water to irrigate farms and quench the thirst of growing populations.

Devastating wildfires, avalanches and drought have also underscored the need. The researchers studied climate changes in the West between 1950-1999. They noted that winter precipitation falls increasingly as rain rather than snow, snow melts faster, river flows decrease in summer months, and overall warming is exacerbating dry summer conditions.  rw 022654

Overpopulated Beijing Set to Face Water Crisis.   December 12, 2006   Xinhua General News Service
Beijing's annual water supply is around 3.73 billion cubic meters in 2010. The disposable volume will not be more than 3.26 billion cubic meters excluding at least 470 million cubic meters needed to maintain the city's ecological system. The total number this water can feed depends on living standards and water consumption.

Beijing's GDP averaged $5,547.6 last year, with 50.1 cubic meters of water consumed for each 10,000 yuan ($1,250). Based on this, Beijing's water resources were able to feed a maximum of 14.36 million people in 2005.

But Beijing had more than 15 million residents and four million migrants at the end of last year.

The municipal government has vowed to increase its per capita GDP to $8,000-8,500 and cut water consumption for each 10,000 yuan of GDP to 40.08 cubic meters, down 20% from 2005. Beijing will then be able to accommodate between 13.37 million and 14.20 million people in 2010. But the city's permanent population would have exceeded 17.13 million by then.

To feed an additional three million people with its limited water resources, Beijing needs to further slash water consumption for each 10,000 yuan of GDP to 33, or even 31 cubic meters.

That would result in water rationing and higher prices. One approach is to relocate some people.

The government has also encouraged people, retirees in particular, to live in Hebei. But those who do complain of isolation, with few friends and little access to public services.

A decreased reliance on the working population means increased productivity, which is only one eighth the level of developed countries. Meanwhile, Beijing is pinning its hopes on making other provinces as appealing as Beijing in terms of opportunities for education and employment.  rw 019731

California's Owens River Runs Again After Nearly a Century.   December 05, 2006   Los Angeles Times
A dam, built to direct water into an L.A. aqueduct evaporated Owens Lake into salt flats and started a century of simmering resentment over L.A.'s habitat-destroying thirst. In 1991, the L.A. Department of Water and Power agreed to restore the Lower Owens River. In 2005, DWP was spurred into action when informed it would be charged $5,000 a day until the project was completed. The river rehabilitation is not expected to cause water shortages or rate hikes for DWP customers, as water will be pumped back to the aqueduct once it reaches the lake. It will, however, boost habitat for a variety of species, as well as the tourism economy of small towns along the river's banks.  rw 019698
Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis.   November 15, 2006   MaximsNews.com
The crisis in water is the violation of the basic human right to water. One in every six is denied the right to clean, accessible and affordable water. 2.6 billion people do not have even rudimentary forms of sanitation and causes nearly two million child deaths each year.

Access to water is intrinsic to human development. Worldwide, 443 million school days are lost each year because children are too weak from water-related illnesses.

Developing countries lose billions of dollars annually due to the productivity losses associated with water. The deficits in water and sanitation are trapping households in cycles of poverty. Few countries treat water as a political priority. The limited coverage of water utilities in slums means that the poorest tend to pay the most for water. The international community has failed to prioritise water and sanitation. The poor, women and children have least voice in asserting their claims to water.

Many countries have made progress by legislating on the right to water, and communities have shown leadership in improving sanitary conditions.

In South Africa, the right to water has enabled the Government to protect and promote the right to water for every individual. However, access to potable water is not universal. The challenge lies in expanding access and engaging communities in the adoption of solutions that respond to environmental and resource constraints.

Governments should support a plan to raise the profile of water and sanitation, garner resources, and monitor performance. There is tahe water shortage that affects nearly 800 million people and threatens the collapse of ecological systems, intensifying competition for water and heightening cross-border tensions. For millions of people, access to water resources is coming under stress.

Agriculture is the main user of water. Declining flows in rivers, shrinking lakes and falling water tables are symptoms of unsustainable water use in some regions. As competition for water intensifies, the inequalities between small and large farmers will come to the fore with greater prominence. This is a crisis that will affect future generations. Global warming will put increasing pressure on water availability and in the long-run will result in a decline in water availability as ice caps retreat.

Two-fifths of humanity lives in river and lake basins shared by two or more countries. Shared management of river basins can yield significant benefits. Water has to be priced to reflect its scarcity. If the rich world is serious about helping developing countries then giving priority to water and sanitation will go a long way towards making more effective use of aid.  rw 019702

Global Water Crisis.   November 15, 2006   MaximsNews.com
Water is a basic human need. Access to water has implications for improving life. One in every six people in the world is denied the right to clean, accessible and affordable water. 2.6 billion people do not have sanitation. That deprivation causes nearly two million avoidable child deaths each year. Access to water is intrinsic to human development. The human cost manifests itself in lost education and gender inequalities. 443 million school days are lost each year because children are too weak from water-related illnesses.

Developing countries lose billions of dollars annuallly due to losses associated with water delivery and management. The deficits in water and sanitation are trapping households in cycles of poverty. Few countries treat water as a political priority and the limited coverage of water utilities in slums and informal settlements means that the poorest tend to pay the most. Third, the international community has failed to prioritise water and sanitation. The poor, women and children - are the ones who have the least voice in asserting their claims to water.

Many countries have made progress by legislating on the right to water, and communities in slums and villages have shown leadership.

Access to potable water in South Africa is not universal and coverage rates still vary significantly.

South Africa has not yet matched its success in expanding access to water with comparable outcomes in sanitation. The challenge lies in expanding access and engaging communities in the identification and adoption of the most appropriate solutions.

Globally, there are several steps to address the water crisis: Setting targets for utility companies to increase water access; ensuring that policies are clearly understood and providers are made accountable for meeting those objectives. Enforcing a minimum entitlement of water for all citizens, provided free to those who cannot afford to pay.

And at the international level, governments should support a plan to garner additional resources, and monitor performance of donor and recipient. A chronic water shortage affects nearly 800 million people and threatens the collapse of ecological systems, intensifying competition for water and heightening cross-border tensions.

Global warming could have a devastating impact. Declining flows in rivers, shrinking lakes and falling water tables are symptoms of unsustainable water use. Parts of China and India, are suffering which results in large losses in agricultural productivity. Agriculture faces increasing competition for water from industries and urbanization.

There is a need to focus on mitigating climate change and supporting adaptation strategies.

Shared management of river basins can yield significant benefits. Lack of cooperation, increases the potential for cross-border tensions. Water has to be priced in a manner that reflects its scarcity, rather than subsidised to ensure that large farmers or industries get their share at the cost of the poor.  rw   Karen Gaia says: Nothing is said in this article about how the growing population contributes to the scarcity of water. 019712

UNEP, ICRAF Urge Africans on Rainwater Harvesting.   November 13, 2006   African Science News Service
A report concludes that many communities and facing water shortages as a result of climate change could boost supplies by collecting and storing rain. Kenya, with a population under 40 million, has enough rainfall to supply the needs of six to seven times its current population.

Ethiopia has a potential rainwater harvest equivalent to the population needs of over 520 million people.

However, a third of rainfall is needed to sustain the forests, grasslands and healthy river flows.

The potential of rainwater harvesting potential may be more than adequate to meet a significant slice of population needs.

Until recently countries have relied almost exclusively on rivers and underground supplies.

UNEP is urging governments to invest in a technology that is low cost, simple, and able to transform the lives of countries Africa-wide.

Small-scale rainwater harvesting projects lose less water to evaporation because the rain or run-off is collected locally and also holds potential for assisting managers of protected areas with the technology already having been tested. We are going to need technologies to capture water and bolster supplies. Conserving and rehabilitating freshwater ecosystems will be vital.

In South Australia, over 40 per cent of households use rainwater stored in tanks as their main source of drinking water. Germany has over half a million rainwater harvesting schemes.

Large-scale infrastructure can often by-pass the needs of poor and dispersed populations. Rainwater harvesting can act as a buffer against drought while also supplementing supplies in cities. Women, in a pilot in Kisamese, Kenya, are gaining four hours in a day because of the reduced demands on their time to find and fetch water. Overall, Africa has more water resources per capita than Europe. However, much of Africa's rain comes in bursts and is never collected. The time has come to realize the great potential for greatly enhancing water supplies. In South Australia, over 40% of households use rainwater as their main source of drinking water. This is a first rate, low cost technology. Kenya's water minister announced all new buildings must include rainwater harvesting measures and similar plans have been drawn up in India.

Rainwater harvesting has been installed in a Maasai community. The project can store over half a million litres of water and has led to the development of small gardens and improved agriculture contributing to food security.  rw   Karen Gaia says: The article mentions storage tanks for drinking water, but nothing about storing water for agriculture - which uses far more water than people do for drinking water. The Maasai are herdsmen, meaning they need enough water to water grasses needed by their goats and cattle. Suppose they were able to capture enough water to water their grasses - how would they distribute it to the croplands? I don't believe that this is a simple solution like the article suggests. 019445

Phillip Island's Drinking Water May Soon Run Out.   November 06, 2006   Age
Westernport Water chief David Mawer has warned Bass Coast Council that Phillip Island Australia could run dry if residents failed to curb consumption. The Candowie Dam, which supplies the island and several Bass Coast towns, was at 36% capacity, following the lowest rainfall since 1902.

State Water Minister has proposed linking the Bass Coast with Melbourne's supply after the forecast of an annual shortfall of 1700 megalitres by 2030.

Westernport began tapping bores at the Corinella aquifer on the Bass Coast where the company has been granted a permit to extract water from the Bass River, but it is little more than a dusty basin.

The water will be under further strain over summer, with the population swells from 12,000 to almost 50,000. But they can't hose down their boats or water the pot plants.

Westernport residents had only been placed on stage one restrictions a month ago. The island's infrastructure had failed to keep pace with development, with a further 1400 apartments and 300 holiday villas in the pipeline.  rw 019386

Expert says Australian Drought is Worst in 1,000 Years.   November 01, 2006   Terra Daily
Australia is having its worst drought, perhaps in 1,000 years. Prime Minister Howard said that statistics showed that the country's most important river system, within the Murray-Darling Basin, could run out of water in six months. About 30 rivers and hundreds of tributaries run across the basin, which feeds about 70% of Australia's irrigated farmlands.

At a summit meeting it was agreed to draw up contingency plans to secure water supplies. The drought is likely to cut agricultural output by 20% and GDP by around 0.7%. Howard has abandoned his previously sceptical response to the idea that pollution is driving climate change.

A poll showed that 91% of Australians believe global warming is a problem and 62% are unhappy with the government's response.

Climate change will be a major issue in elections next year.

Last month, as evidence of the consequences of global warming mounted, he announced that 500 million dollars (385 million US) would be spent on clean energy initiatives.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, said Monday in Japan that he now believed global action was needed.  rw 019405

A $3 Water Purifier That Could Save Lives.   October 10, 2006   New York Times*
About 6,000 people a day most of them children die from water-borne diseases.

A Danish textile company has come up with a new invention called Lifestraw meant to render dangerous water drinkable.

The invention is a plastic tube with seven filters, followed by resin impregnated with iodine and another of activated carbon. It lasts a year.

Lifestraw filters out at least 99.99% of many parasites and bacteria. It is less effective against viruses, like polio and hepatitis, and it wouldn't protect American backpackers against giardia.

Nor does it filter out metals like arsenic, and it has a slight iodine aftertaste. It can be manufactured for about $3, but needs more field-testing. Only about 100,000 have been handed out, 70,000 to earthquake victims in Kashmir last year.  rw   Karen Gaia says: this wonderful. However, will technology keep up with the demands of overpopulation? 018964

Man and His Endangered Home: Our Pursuit of Growth and Luxury May ....   September 28, 2006   Global Politcian
Human activities degrade the water, air and other surroundings that sustain life. The problem is a rapidly growing population and new generations that expect ever higher standards of living. Climate change will impose severe weather patterns, shortages of freshwater and displacement of entire communities. Many leaders recognize the crisis that awaits our grandchildren but hesitate to restrain the growth. Adding to the hesitation is an overwhelming confidence in new technology that might eliminate disease, shortages or an over-heated planet. The only sure solution is pursuing balance through sustainability.

The notion of sustainable development is easier said than done. Evolution will pose problems as humans exploit environmental resources, manipulate genetics and release into nature chemicals that induce DNA species change. The source of man's problems is the rapid increase of the human species Rapid, technological advances made this possible. The drive to produce more and faster is ceaseless.

The human species will increase by 2.5 billion people in 50 years. Most will anticipate a higher living standard and lifespan or 5% to 10% growth - a doubling of production in 25 years to $100 trillion.

Warming of the planet, is the leading problem confronting man so why don't we act en masse? One explanation is that political and economic interests want to preserve "business as usual," another is ignorance and intellectual laziness. Humanity must reduce greenhouse gas emissions within 10 years to avoid raising earth's average temperature 3 degrees Celsius this century. If the average global temperature rises by 3 degrees, 50% of all species would become extinct in their natural habitat.

As Himalayan glaciers melt, groundwater levels are falling throughout China, Pakistan, India and the US. Agriculture accounts for 70% of all freshwater usage.

Greenhouse gases are connected to energy production and consumption, which connects to the explosion of population, which increases water shortages made worse by energy demands, practices of forest and agricultural management. When in fear, humans act to reduce risk. Yet we do not act on climate change, perhaps because climate is not owned by any nation.

The market economy's failure and the problem it poses is that it is not able to integrate the ecological costs.

Today many place their hopes in new technology. But we should recall that the promises of "old" technologies, such as the combustion engine, have led to the problems of our time. Our mode of capitalism should be replaced by a market economy that builds upon creative evolution. Then we could, perhaps, recover a balance in the critical equation between economy, energy and environment.  rw 018858

U.S.;: Water Concern Addressed.   September 26, 2006   Daily Beacon Online
David Feldman is working on three projects to educate the public and government officials on the issues facing water supply in East Tennessee and the world.

We have learned how to use water in a sustainable way, we have to now reorient political institutions to manage water so we don't keep making the same mistakes. Feldman's other two projects include writing a state-of-the-environment report for Tennessee and analyzing how decision-makers use, or do not use, the scientific models that can help them make better decisions.

"Water is related to urban sprawl," Feldman said.

Atlanta, Ga., is an example and its growing population affects even communities in East Tennessee.

Feldman said officials were looking to divert water from the Tennessee river. The legislation requires any municipality or private water-supply company seeking the state's water resources to apply at the state's Department of Environment and Conservation.

When municipalities make their application, they must conduct an environmental assessment that details the impact on the source, as well as provide evidence that the municipality researched alternative sources.

If the department grants permission, the municipality must obtain a permit for the water, which the state department can decide to renew every five years. The municipality must treat and return the water to the basin of origin.

He said that as part of a team appointed to prepare a report for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, he works to understand the communication breakdown between government officials and scientists.

Environmental scientists construct models about rising sea levels, dam construction implications and even the run-offs effects of the Tennessee river, which are based on probability and long-term consequences.

Policy-makers do not understand what the models are or what they are supposed to predict. The models are geared toward high-level decision-makers who work in the Tennessee Valley Authority or the Army Corps of Engineers. Most decisions over water are made at the local or state level, but these officials do not use these models to make policy.

It is important for policy-makers to understand, as the race for water grows proportionally to the population. Feldman said on a global level, there is not enough clean water to grow population and provide food. He is determined to spread awareness about the concern over water supply and how the policy-decisions of today affect all natural and man-made resources.  rw 018839

China;: Gov't Invests to Clean Up Rural Water.   September 11, 2006   China Daily
The Chinese government has earmarked US$500 million to improve drinking water quality in rural areas.

More than 300 million farmers, 37.5% of China's rural population, struggle to get safe drinking water.

This is expected to help half of the affected people change their water supplies by the end of 2010. Last year in South China, at least 150 epidemics of typhoid, dysentery and diarrhoea were reported, with more than 80% as a result of polluted water. Industrial discharge of polluted water is estimated to have increased by 30% over last year. Almost half of the waste water has not been effectively recycled despite a lot of economic input.

In the coming five years, the nation will inject US$ 41.2 billion into waste water processing to ensure 70% of waste water in urban areas gets recycled.

China is also facing a shortage of water supply. It uses 7% of global fresh water to support 21% of the world's population.

China's water market value will increase by at least 15% by 2010. At least US$125 billion is needed in the coming five years to recycle waste water, update water supply facilities, improve protection of water environment and other related projects.  rw 018693

Threat of Water Shortages Sees Middle East Governments Focusing on Increasing Supply.   September 06, 2006   AME Info
Dubai is worried about how it will provide water for its rapidly expanding economic activities.

A report said that the imminent shortage of water has been compounded by the real estate boom, while this region is already the driest in the world. It is the largest market for water desalination in the world.

Officials expect daily water demand to reach 341 million gallons per day and daily electricity needs to reach 8,513 megawatts by 2011.

The arid climate limits conventional water resources and temperatures are increasing. In August 2005, Dubai reached 47.3ºC, the hottest day for six years. Demand for water in Dubai during the peak summer season rose 10% to reach 184 million gallons per day in 2004. With temperatures soaring to more than 40ºC for at least six months of the year, the threat of no water or electricity is a matter of serious concern.

It is estimated that more than 7,500 desalination plants are in operation of which 60% are in the Middle East. The world's largest plant produces 128 mega gallons per day in Saudi Arabia.

Regional demand for desalinated water is growing at 6%, double the global average, and regional governments have invested an estimated 10 billion to boost capacity. But with a surging population across the Gulf, a further investment of around $100 billion is required over the next 10 years.

Lebanon and Syria were the only countries in the Middle East with adequate water supplies. That has now changed with the damage inflicted on Lebanon's infrastructure, and long before 2050, every country in the region will face water shortages that only desalination can avert.

Oman supplies 61% of residential water through desalination, and it is vital to find ways to make the process less expensive. Other measures, such as recycling water and reducing consumption, are also essential.

Qatar is funding the development of a 567MW power and 29.1 million gallons per day water desalination facility. Jordan outlined the government's commitment to utilising renewable energy by increasing the use of solar and wind power. 20% of houses in Jordan use solar water heaters and the number is expected to rise. Studies are under way for a project in Saudi Arabia, to create a solar thermal plant as part of the Ayla that will generate power for desalination and air conditioning. Over 30 water pumping stations are using solar energy, and wind turbines to pump water.  rw 018637

The Global Water Crisis in Relation to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.   September 06, 2006   Political Cortex
As populations increase, the demand for freshwater is increasing. The supply is finite and the majority of it is threatened by the pollution we are making. There is no more water on Earth now than there was 2,000 years ago when the population was less than 3% of its current size.

Consumption that does not take these issues into account is causing wars over allocation of scarce water resources and pollution. Today, 31 countries, or under 8% of the world population, face chronic freshwater shortages. By the year 2025, however, 48 countries are expected to face shortages affecting more than 2.8 billion people, -35% of the world's projected population.

Countries likely to run short of water in the next 25 years are Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Peru. Other large countries such as China, face chronic water problems. And in much of the world polluted water, improper waste disposal, and poor water management cause deadly health problems.

Water-related diseases harm or kill millions of people every year. Overuse and pollution are taking a heavy toll on the environment and pose increasing risks for many species.

Water-borne diseases is to blame for over 12 million deaths a year. Countries such as Niger and Kenya have had droughts for many years, yet there seems to be no solutions. Scientists corroborate that human activity is contributing to the drought conditions over 30% of the world.

Improvements in water supply and sanitation can reduce infant mortality by an average of 55%.

Whether it is for farming, municipal use, or industry, there is room for conservation and more effective management to stress sustainability.

It is important to slow the growth in demand by slowing population growth. Scientists have reported that human activity is exacerbating the viscous cycle which will have an effect on global water supplies in relation to drought, dams, diversion, and lack of water. We need to see legislation addressing the climate crisis that is affecting water scarcity.  rw 018639


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