March 20, 2014 · 1:49 pm
Image: UN Water
World Water Day (WWD) falls annually on March 22. However, because that date is a Saturday this year, many activities will take place on Friday, March 21. This year’s theme is “water and energy.” The oft-repeated phrasse “water-energy nexus” refers to the numerous interdependencies between water and energy; the two are inextricably linked and heavily influenced by climate change.
UN-Water, the United Nations’ inter-agency coordinating mechanism for all matters related to water and sanitation, has prepared a vast array of educational materials for WWD, including an in-depth advocacy guide with myriad tips on how to share key facts and messages. The day’s main celebrations are being held in Tokyo, Japan. Among the festivities, the World Water Development Report 2014 on Water and Energy will be launched, and the UN-Water “Water for Life” Best Practices Award will be given.
- Water requires energy and energy requires water.
- Supplies are limited and demand is increasing.
- Saving energy is saving water; saving water is saving energy.
- The “bottom billion” urgently need access to both water and sanitation services, and electricity.
- Improving water and energy efficiency in all sectors is imperative, as are coordinated, coherent and concerted policies.
UPDATE: Officially launched: World Water Development Report 2014 on Water and Energy
UPDATE: 2014 UN-Water ‘Water for Life’ Best Practices Award goes to India and Singapore
World Water Day 2014 website
World Water Day 2014 Documents and Information Sources
At the Point of ‘Peak Water,’ Our Foreseeable Future Grows Shorter
UNICEF Says Put Down Your Cell Phone for a Few Minutes to Help Kids Get Water
Mapping the World’s Most Water-Stressed Countries
Unchecked Emissions Will Drain Water Resources, Warns Leaked UN Report
The Intersection of Environmental Issues and Human Rights
Filed under Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Caribbean, Climate Change, Conservation, Europe, Events, Human rights, Industry, Middle East, NGOs, North America, Oceania, Research, South America, Sustainability, United Nations, Water Resources, Water Shortage
Tagged as India, Japan, Singapore, Tokyo, UN-Water, UN-Water 'Water for Life' Best Practices Award, water and energy, World Water Day 2014, World Water Development Report 2014
February 27, 2014 · 12:12 pm
The prediction that water will outstrip oil — and every other scarce natural resource — as a factor in global conflict has been around for a long time. After all, without water, everybody and everything dies. There is no substitute for it. Among water-stressed regions, where is conflict likely to strike, and when? In many places, it’s already happening.
Conflict is widespread and ongoing because it can take many forms besides all-out war. In some areas, competition over water may be at the root of tensions between warring factions, though not the only cause. In certain conflicts, water resources may be military or terrorist targets, either to capture or to destroy as a way of hurting the enemy. Elsewhere, protests over water shortages resulting from perceived mismanagement can erupt in violence. The Pacific Institute studies these issues; the conflict chronology at the link below is especially interesting because it shows the whole gamut of water-related struggles.
A useful backgrounder on water-related conflict can be found in Suzanne Goldenberg’s recent piece for The Guardian, also linked below. It identifies six “regions at risk,” due to extreme drought and/or tension over shared resources: California, Brazil, Middle East (Iran, United Arab Emirates, Jordan), North Africa (Egypt and Ethiopia), South Asia (eastern Pakistan, northern India), and China. Stephen Leahy’s IPS article and Giulio Boccaletti’s op-ed for The Nature Conservancy further fill in the picture and scope of global water (in)security.
Why global water shortages pose threat of terror and war – The Guardian
In an increasingly unpredictable world, we must secure nature to secure our water – The Nature Conservancy
Water crisis hitting food, energy — and everything else – IPS
Pacific Institute: water and conflict
Pacific Institute: water conflict chronology
Past, Present and Future: California’s Epic Struggle With Water
Water War? Dam Talks Between Egypt and Ethiopia Falter
Filed under Africa, Asia, Conflicts, Drought, Middle East, North America, Research, South America, Water Shortage
Tagged as California, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Giulio Boccaletti, India, IPS, Iran, Jordan, Pacific Institute, Pakistan, Stephen Leahy, Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, The Nature Conservancy, United Arab Emirates, United States, water war
December 18, 2013 · 9:12 am
Image: U.S. EPA
Today I’m posting a short roundup of international news about substances found in the water.
Hormone-disrupting chemicals found in water at fracking sites
A study of hydraulic fracturing sites in Colorado finds substances that have been linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer. (United States)
Ontario’s Grand River loaded with artificial sweeteners, study finds
It’s so chock full of artificial sweeteners that scientists say the chemicals can be used to track the movement of treated waste in the region’s municipal water supplies. (Canada)
Communication, cooperation key to water issues in Africa and Asia
Despite radically different cultures, climate, geography, and levels of government involvement in improving the lives of its citizens, Ethiopia, India, and China all face similar issues of water sanitation and hygiene. (Africa, Asia)
EPA drills wells to test groundwater contamination
As scientists home in on the source of contamination near Texas’ Donna Reservoir Superfund site, they drilled new wells this week to test the groundwater. (U.S.)
Pollution takes a toll on aquatic life in 150 river stretches
Discharge of untreated water in India has left 150 river stretches across the country too polluted to support any aquatic life. (India)
Judge approves $165 million settlements in Passaic River pollution case
A New Jersey judge has approved a pair of settlements worth $165.4 million to the state from nearly 300 companies, towns and public agencies accused of polluting the Passaic River. (U.S.)
Filed under Asia, Environment, Law, North America, Pollution, Rivers and Watersheds
Tagged as Colorado, Grand River, Hydraulic fracturing, India, New Jersey, Ontario, Passaic River, Sugar substitute, Texas, United States, United States Environmental Protection Agency, University of Waterloo, Water pollution
December 16, 2013 · 11:18 am
The Hindu newspaper of India says that a United Nations report leaked online warns of dire consequences for freshwater resources if greenhouse gases remain unchecked.
The report is reportedly a final draft by the Working Group II of the UN Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), sent to all governments for comment before being finalized and released.
“In response to on-going climate change, terrestrial and marine species have shifted their ranges, seasonal activities, migration patterns, and abundance, have demonstrated altered species,” notes the report’s summary, adding that developing countries, especially, are vulnerable to damaging climatic events (e.g., heat waves, droughts, floods and wildfires).
Regarding freshwater availability, the summary warns:
“Climate change will reduce renewable surface water and groundwater resources significantly in most dry subtropical regions, exacerbating competition for water among sectors. Each degree of warming is projected to decrease renewable water resources by at least 20% for an additional 7% of the global population.”
As the report notes, dried-up water sources will hurt crop yields even as demand surges with population growth.
Filed under Climate Change, Environment, Research, United Nations, Water Shortage
Tagged as Climate Change, Greenhouse gas, Hindu, India, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, United Nations, Water Resources, Working Group