Sunday, November 02, 2008

Drought

Drought land 'will be abandoned'
"In many ways [water] is the most dramatic expression of mismanagement of natural or nature-based assets [...] The day a person or a community is bereft of water is the day that your chance of even the most basic life or livelihood is gone and economic activity seeps away. Unchecked climate change will mean that some parts of the world will simply not have enough water to sustain settlements both small and large, because agriculture becomes untenable and industries relying on water can no longer compete or function effectively. This will trigger structural changes in economies right through to the displacement of people as environmental refugees. [...] In rich countries, there's always the potential of channelling water from one river basin to another. But even there people are hitting the limits of what we can do with money and infrastructure because there simply isn't enough water any more."
- Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (my emphasises)


Some of the most dramatic examples of water shortages this year include conflict-stricken Sudan, the dramatic drying of Lake Faguibine in Mali on which 200,000 mostly nomadic people depend, fatal clashes over drying boreholes in northern Kenya, and economic and social crisis on the sparsely populated border between Bolivia and Argentina, according to Unep. Oxfam has estimated that 25 million people have been affected by the most recent drought in Ethiopia.


Is water the new oil?
as the population keeps growing and getting richer, and global warming changes the climate, experts are warning that unless something is done, billions more will suffer lack of water - precipitating hunger, disease, migration and ultimately conflict. [...] Ultimately, lack of water is seen as a threat to peace. From genocide in Darfur to rows between states in India and the US [...] Intuitively it is obvious people will fight over their most precious resource, but so far few conflicts have broken out. [...] water is often an underlying cause of tension, but has only identified one water 'war', between Egypt and Sudan


USA



California water shortages could lead to rationing, officials say
Water agencies could get as little as 15% of their allocations next year unless rain and snowfall return to normal levels in the coming months. [...] The overall water storage is roughly 70% of the average for this time of year. [...] a voluntary conservation program [by one water supplier] has reduced water use by 8% to 10%.


Tiny village threatened with loss of its water
Brunswick, pop. 6,000, city leaders were close to issuing an ultimatum: If Rosemont, or the county or somebody somewhere didn't take over the dilapidated pipes that carry water to 80 homes in Rosemont, the city would turn off the village's water May 25. Just like that: Off. [...] This is hardly the first time water has divided two communities. In Western Maryland, past disputes have turned on a scarcity of supply during times of drought. In this case the supply is not the issue; distribution is.


Kenya



Clashes over water kill 4 in drought-hit Kenya
Fighting over boreholes in arid northern Kenya has killed at least four people as competition for resources mounts in the drought-hit region, the Kenyan Red Cross said on Friday.


Drought threatens child health and survival in northern Kenya
Turkana district in northern Kenya is on the brink of disaster. There's been no rain for months, the forecast is grim and thousands of children are at risk.

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