Saturday, April 12, 2008

New Scientist: Is this the beginning of water wars?

Barcelona and the surrounding region are suffering the worst drought in decades. There are several possible solutions, including diverting a river, and desalinating water. But the city looks like it will ship water from the French port of Marseilles.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers start in Turkey and supply Syria and Iraq. The Turkish government is building dams on those rivers, reducing the flow downstream and stoking long-standing tensions with its neighbours.

Somewhat sensationalist headline perhaps. But none the less... here we go. This situation is expected to worsen and spread. Trade solutions are still possible but as soon as neighboring countries start both thirsting more radical approaches will be attempted.


  1. Friends of convenience

    FOR the past 12 months, Turkish envoys have been shuttling between Jerusalem and Damascus, carrying missives aimed at peace, not war, in the Middle East.


    The price for any cooling of ties would have been significant for Israel, which makes up to $US600 million [...] a year selling defence hardware to the Turkish military. The deals include contracts to sell the Turks unmanned aerial drones that are used to keep track of Kurdish rebels from the Kurdish Workers Party in the mountains to the southeast bordering Iraq.

    In return for the hardware and know-how, Israel gets almost open access to Turkish air bases, airspace and ports, which enables training exercises away from the confines of Israel's tiny airspace. There is also the possibility of Israeli jets being able to use Turkish airspace in any attack on Iran. On the civilian front, water-starved Israel regularly receives enormous Turkish water tankers. A series of pipelines supplying water, gas, oil and electricity from Turkey to northern Israel is also planned.

  2. Is water becoming 'the new oil'?

    Water, Dow Chemical Chairman Andrew Liveris told the World Economic Forum in February, “is the oil of this century.” Developed nations have taken cheap, abundant fresh water largely for granted. Now global population growth, pollution, and climate change are shaping a new view of water as “blue gold.”


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