Water Security is National Security

Water resources and how they are managed impact almost all aspects of society and the economy, in particular health, food production and security, domestic water supply and sanitation, energy, industry, and the functioning of ecosystems. Under present climate variability, water stress is already high, particularly in many developing countries, and climate change adds even more urgency for action. Without improved water resources management, the progress towards poverty reduction targets, the Millennium Development Goals, and sustainable development in all its economic, social and environ- mental dimensions, will be jeopardized. UN Water.Org

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What California’s Dam Crisis Says About the Changing Climate

What California’s Dam Crisis Says About the Changing Climate - The New York Times

STANFORD, Calif. — After five years of record-setting drought, much of California is being pummeled by an extremely wet winter. The disaster unfolding at Oroville, where precipitation is more than double the average, is the latest reminder that the United States needs a climate-smart upgrade of our water management systems.

In the West, much of our water infrastructure is old. Oroville Dam, north of Sacramento, was completed in 1968, nearly a half a century ago. Other major components of our water system are generations older, and maintenance has not been a priority. The damage to Oroville Dam, where the primary spillway developed a giant gash and the emergency spillway threatened to erode, illustrates the hazard of relying on aging infrastructure to protect us from extreme weather. http://nyti.ms/2lLbg6D

Monday, February 13, 2017

Alpacas trump sheep in bid for Andean water security

Alpacas trump sheep in bid for Andean water security


TEPIC, Mexico, Feb 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - High on Ecuador's Andean plains, the Comuna Espejo co-operative is counting on a recent delivery of 20 woolly alpacas to keep its moist grasslands in better shape than the sheep that normally graze there - and in turn help secure water supplies to the nearby capital city of Quito.

“Little by little, we're going to see the impact the alpacas have, but they're easier to manage than sheep and the degradation is less,” said Henry Carrera, vice president of Comuna Espejo, now home to 18 female and two male alpacas.

Besides selling wool, and eventually meat from the camelids, Comuna Espejo hopes to attract tourists with the alpaca project, which forms part of the Quito Water Fund’s plans to conserve the watersheds around the city some 30 km (19 miles) away.

Quito’s fund, the first to be set up under the auspices of U.S.-based environmental group The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 2000, has provided a model for nearly 60 cities around the world to boost water security from the source to the sink.

The funds combine scientific expertise with public and private-sector investment from water authorities, banks and large water users such as bottlers and brewers.

Now TNC has 20 funds active in Latin America. It plans to double these by 2020 in the region where 80 percent of the population lives in cities, putting huge pressure on water supplies.

“Being able to protect the water sources for the cities is very important for the population, to reduce risks for water quality and quantity,” said Silvia Benitez, TNC’s Quito-based fresh water manager for Latin America.


(http://www.reuters.com/article/latam-water-environment-investment-idUSL5N1FT2HP

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy

High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy

A new World Bank reports finds that water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, could hinder economic growth, spur migration, and spark conflict. However, most countries can neutralize the adverse impacts of water scarcity by taking action to allocate and use water resources more efficiently
.

Key Findings

• Water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, could cost some regions up to 6% of their GDP, spur migration, and spark conflict.

• The combined effects of growing populations, rising incomes, and expanding cities will see demand for water rising exponentially, while supply becomes more erratic and uncertain.

• Unless action is taken soon, water will become scarce in regions where it is currently abundant - such as Central Africa and East Asia - and scarcity will greatly worsen in regions where water is already in short supply - such as the Middle East and the Sahel in Africa. These regions could see their growth rates decline by as much as 6% of GDP by 2050 due to water-related impacts on agriculture, health, and incomes.

• Water insecurity could multiply the risk of conflict. Food price spikes caused by droughts can inflame latent conflicts and drive migration. Where economic growth is impacted by rainfall, episodes of droughts and floods have generated waves of migration and spikes in violence within countries.

• The negative impacts of climate change on water could be neutralized with better policy decisions, with some regions standing to improve their growth rates by up to 6% with better water resource management.

• Improved water stewardship pays high economic dividends. When governments respond to water shortages by boosting efficiency and allocating even 25% of water to more highly-valued uses, such as more efficient agricultural practices, losses decline dramatically and for some regions may even vanish.
In the world’s extremely dry regions, more far-reaching policies are needed to avoid inefficient water use.

• Stronger policies and reforms are needed to cope with deepening climate stresses.

• Policies and investments that can help lead countries to more water secure and climate-resilient economies include:
• Better planning for water resource allocation
• Adoption of incentives to increase water efficiency, and Investments in infrastructure for more secure water supplies and availability.


(http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/water/publication/high-and-dry-climate-change-water-and-the-economy?CID=CCG_TT_climatechange_EN_EXT

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Improving Water Security Through Nature-Based Solutions

The Nature Conservancy

Improving Water Security Through Nature-Based Solutions
Global report explores the environmental, economic and community benefits of source water protection

Arlington, VA | January 12, 2017
As demand continues to increase for clean and reliable water around the world, protecting the land surrounding our water sources is vital. The Nature Conservancy released a new study today, developed in partnership with the Natural Capital Project, Forest Trends, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Latin American Water Funds Partnership, which analyzes the source watersheds of more than 4,000 large cities around the world. “Beyond the Source: The environmental, economic and community benefits of source water protection,” illustrates how nature-based solutions, such as reforestation and improved agricultural practices, can be implemented at a scale to make a visible difference in sustainable development and improving the lives of billions of people.

Source watersheds collect, store and filter water, and when managed well, provide a number of additional benefits to people and nature. The study finds that four out of five cities analyzed can meaningfully reduce sediment and nutrient pollution through implementing forest protection, reforestation and using cover crops as an agricultural practice to improve water quality. More

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Strategic Security Analysis - 2016 n°13

WATER SECURITY, CONFLICT AND COOPERATION  
    Strategic Security Analysis - 2016 n°13   Key Points
  • Growing populations and economies, unsustainable consumption practices and mounting environmental challenges exert increasing pressure on the world’s freshwater resources. Many observers fear that shortfalls between rising demand and shifting supplies could foster sharpened competition among nations or communities attempting to secure increasingly scarce water resources.  
  • History furnishes little evidence of actual water wars, but violent international water-related confrontations do occur, and frictions over water can also fuel internal conflicts within countries.  
  • A range of indirect factors such as political institutions, economic conditions, and social perceptions affect the relationship between environmental pressures and conflict risks. Inequitable allocation of water development costs or benefits and lack of access to decision-making processes around water often generate conflict more than the unequal allocation of or inadequate access to the resource itself.  
 
  • International treaties and integrated water resource management approaches provide important tools for collective risk reduction and dispute resolution. Policymakers should further develop these cooperative governance mechanisms, effectively adapt them to new challenges such as climate change, and extend them to regions where they are currently lacking.</p>

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Securing The Indus Treaty

Securing the Indus treaty
Pakistan’s move to institute new arbitration proceedings over the Indus waters goes against the spirit of the landmark agreement.   Water sharing, transparency and collaboration are the pillars on which the unique Indus Waters Treaty was erected in 1960. Islamabad’s recently unveiled intent to haul India again before an international arbitral tribunal is a testament to how water remains a source of discord for Pakistan despite a treaty that is a colossus among existing water-sharing pacts in the world.   In Asia, the vast majority of the 57 transnational river basins have no water-sharing arrangement or any other cooperative mechanism. India, however, has water-sharing treaties with both the countries located downstream to it, Pakistan and Bangladesh. These treaties govern the subcontinent’s two largest rivers, Indus and Ganges. By contrast, China, despite its unrivalled international status as the source of river flows to more than a dozen countries, stands out for not having a single water-sharing arrangement with any co-riparian state.   Significantly, India’s treaties with Pakistan and Bangladesh are the only pacts in Asia with specific water-sharing formulas on cross-border flows. They also set a new principle in international water law. The 1996 Ganges treaty set a new standard by guaranteeing delivery of specific water quantities in the critical dry season. More   ====================================   It may be in the interests of all parties to the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) to attempt to get China (as the controlling power of Occupied Tibet) as a signatory to the IWT, given that it has the high ground and controls all rivers emanating from Tibet. It would also be smart to include Nepal and Bhutan as Himalayan states as signatories. Editor

Friday, July 22, 2016

Urban Water Security - Robert C. Brears - Available in December

Urban Water Security
Robert Brears's new book entitled Urban Water Security, published with Wiley, will be available this coming December in North and South America.   As a brief synopsis, Urban Water Security argues that, with climate change and rapid urbanisation, cities need to transition from supply-side to demand-side management to achieve urban water security.   The book also provides a series of in-depth case studies of leading developed cities from around the world that have used demand management tools to modify the attitudes and behaviour of water users in an attempt to achieve urban water security.   Urban Water Security will be of particular interest to town and regional planners, water conservation managers and policymakers, international companies and organisations with large water footprints, environmental and water NGOs, researchers, graduate and undergraduate students.   Wiley: Urban Water Security - Robert C. Brears <http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1119131723.html>   In the 21st Century, the world will see an unprecedented migration of people moving from rural to urban areas. With global demand for water projected to outstrip supply in the coming decades, cities will likely face water insecurity as a result of climate change and the various impacts of urbanisation. Traditionally, urban water managers have relied on large-scale, supply-side infrastructural projects to meet increased demands for water; however, these projects are environmentally, economically and politically costly. Urban Water Security argues that cities need to transition from supply-side to demand-side management to achieve urban water security. This book provides readers with a series of in-depth case studies of leading developed cities, of differing climates, incomes and lifestyles from around the world, that have used demand management tools to modify the attitudes and behaviour of water users in an attempt to achieve urban water security.   Urban Water Security will be of particular interest to town and regional planners, water conservation managers and policymakers, international companies and organisations with large water footprints, environmental and water NGOs, researchers, graduate and undergraduate students.     Robert C. Brears is the founder of Mitidaption, Mark and Focus, is Director on the International Board of the Indo Global Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, and a Visiting Fellow (non-resident) at the Center for Conflict Studies at MIIS, Monterey, USA. More