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10 Critical Water Scarcity Facts We Must Not Ignore

10 Critical Water Scarcity Facts We Must Not Ignore

Why is water scarcity a legitimate concern?

It is true that the hydrologic cycle, the process in which the earth circulates water throughout its ecosystems, is a closed-loop cycle that neither adds nor takes away water. In theory, the amount of water on earth will always remain the same.

The problem therein is when the hydrologic cycle is disrupted and water which normally gets distributed to a certain area no longer does so. This is precisely why some regions are becoming arid while others are experiencing flooding and other natural disasters.

In this article, we’ll discuss the role that humans play in the global water crisis and we’ll cover the 10 most alarming water scarcity facts that we shouldn’t ignore.


The Alarming Human Factor in Water Management


Humans play a large role in the disruption of the hydrologic cycle.

  • The excessive building of dams prevents rivers from distributing mineral-rich water to areas that are dependent on the nutrients for plant growth.
  • Pollution caused by large factories can render freshwater sources such as lakes and rivers unusable.
  • The constant paving of roads seals the surface of the ground, preventing it from soaking up rainfall and replenishing the underground aquifers, a very vital part of the hydrologic cycle.
  • Excessive drilling into the ground can disrupt the structure of the bedrock, potentially allowing fresh groundwater to be contaminated with seawater.
  • Bottled water privatization creates a monopoly on a resource that should otherwise be available to the people who live in the region where the water is located.

As the world’s population increases the demand for the required amount of water necessary to sustain large communities does as well. While water is involved in the sustenance of virtually every aspect of a human’s life, the production of food makes up the majority of it.

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Exposing Africa’s Manmade Water Crisis

The imminent shutdown of Cape Town’s piped water network should serve as a wake-up call for all of Africa to overhaul urban water-management systems. Unfortunately, like Africa’s water resources themselves, Cape Town’s crisis seems likely to be wasted.

About a decade ago, at a meeting of South African mayors convened by Lindiwe Hendricks, South Africa’s then-minister of water and environmental affairs, we predicted that an unprecedented water crisis would hit one of the country’s main cities within 15 years, unless water-management practices were improved significantly.

That prediction has now come true, with Cape Town facing a shutdown of its piped water network. The question now is whether African leaders will allow our other projection – that, within the next 25-30 years, many more of the continent’s cities will be facing similar crises – to materialize.

Africa has long struggled with urban water and wastewater management. As the continent’s population has swelled, from about 285 million in 1960 to nearly 1.3 billion today, and urbanization has progressed, the challenge has become increasingly acute. And these trends are set to intensify: by 2050, the continent’s total population is expected to exceed 2.5 billion, with 55% living in urban environments.

The challenge African countries face may not be unique, but it is, in some ways, unprecedented. After all, in Western countries, urbanization took place over a much longer period, and against a background of steadily improving economic conditions. In building effective systems for water and wastewater management, cities had adequate investment funds and the relevant expertise.

In Africa, cities’ financial and management capacities are already overwhelmed. As a result, water and wastewater management has often fallen by the wayside, with policymakers focusing on water-related issues only when droughts and floods occur. The Third World Centre for Water Management estimates that only about 10-12% of Africa’s population has access to adequate domestic and industrial wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

California Nightmare: Not Progressive Anymore

California Nightmare: Not Progressive Anymore

California water management

Water management is hardly progressive in California these days. Photo: roam and shoot/Flickr CC.

If one more Californian tells me how “progressive” California is, I am going to scream.

“Progressivism” is the term applied to a variety of responses to the economic and social problems that were introduced to America by industrialization. It began as a social movement and grew into a political one. Early Progressives rejected Social Darwinism, believing that the problems society faced — such as poverty, violence, greed, racism and class warfare — could best be addressed by providing a good education and efficient, safe workplace and protecting the environment.

As the ideology developed, it came to represent four core values: Progressives have a two-part definition of freedom: “freedom from” and “freedom to.”

First, they believe that all people should have freedom from undue interference by governments and others in carrying out their private affairs and personal beliefs.  This includes the rights to freedom of speech, association, and religion as well as the freedom to control one’s own bodies and personal lives.

Second, they believe that all people should have the freedom to lead a fulfilling and secure life supported by the basic foundations of economic security and opportunity.  This includes physical protections against bodily harm as well as adequate income, economic protections, health care and education, and other social provisions.

Complementing their commitment to human freedom is their belief in opportunity.  Like freedom, the concept of opportunity has two components:  one focuses on political equality and the other on economic and social arrangements that enhance people’s lives.

Along with freedom and opportunity comes responsibility — personal responsibility and the responsibility we have to each other and to the common good.

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Who Will Control The World’s Water: Governments Or Corporations?

Who Will Control The World’s Water: Governments Or Corporations?

Water is perhaps the world’s most important resource, and one of the most common resources. For decades water was regarded as a common good, and it was plentiful enough that in most parts of the world there was little money to be made off of it. Now as the world’s population continues to grow, all of that is changing. Late in March, Tetra Tech was awarded a $1B five year contract to help support the US Agency of International Development (USAID) and its water development strategies. Tetra Tech will help USAID by collecting data related to water use, develop water management strategies, and help improve access to water in select areas.

This contract is far from the first in the area of water management. Today there are numerous companies focused on earning a profit based on water management, water provision, and water remediation. There are at least ten major corporations working in the area including three that between them supply water to 300 million people in 100 countries. These three corporations, RWE/Thames, Suez/ONDEO, and Veolia control vast swaths of water systems in Europe and are now looking at a less saturated market; the United States. The US has its own share of large water companies including American Water Works, ITT Corp, and GE Water, but most Americans are still served by publicly owned utilities and this presents a new opportunity for corporations in the space.

 

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