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, March 15, 2017

Tunisian South: 5,000 trillion liters of fresh water under the ground!

In the Sahara, two superimposed layers of fresh water exist:

• The aquifer of the albien.
• The sheet of the intercalary continental.

The albian aquifer, the world's largest freshwater reserve, spans an area between Algeria, Tunisia and Libya and contains between 30,000 - 50,000 Billion Liters of water.

The territorial distribution of the aquifer is as follows:

• Algeria: 70%.
• Libya: 20%.
• Tunisia: 10%.

More than three decades ago, this huge reservoir of groundwater allowed the human and agricultural development of the southern regions of Tunisia, Algeria and part of Libya.

Thousands of water points and wells are being exploited in these three Maghreb countries.

In the year 2000, annual withdrawals were estimated as follows :

• Algeria: 1,500 Billion liters.
• Tunisia: 0.550 Billion liters.
• Libya: 0.450 Billion liters.

In view of development programs, these quantities are bound to rise with the risk of a wild exploitation which could drastically reduce these reserves.

To this end, in April 2005, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya decided to set up a mechanism for the concerted management of their deepwater resources in the framework of a Sahel and Sahara Observatory project (OSS).

OSS is an international organization created in 1992 to combat desertification, with headquarters in Tunis since 2000, chaired alternately by Tunisia, Algeria and Libya.

Thus, an agreement was reached between Tunisia, Libya and Algeria for the equitable and reasonable management of this water table, the follow-up of which was entrusted to the OSS.

Friday, March 3, 2017

City of burning lakes: experts fear Bangalore will be uninhabitable by 2025

On the evening of Thursday 16 February, residents in the south-east part of Bangalore noticed huge plumes of smoke rising into the sky. The smoke was coming from the middle of Bellandur Lake – the biggest lake in the city at a little over 890 acres. They realised the seemingly impossible had happened: the lake had caught fire. Even fire fighters wondered how a blaze in water could be put out.

The fire in the lake burned for 12 hours and left behind a sinister black patch in the centre, according to some eye-witness accounts.

This is the new story of Bangalore – state capital, India’s Silicon Valley, and once upon a time, the “city of lakes”. The reasons why these lakes are able to catch fire begin to explain why scientists at the influential Indian Institute of Science believe Bangalore will be “unliveable” in a few years’ time.


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.


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.


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

    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>