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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Iraq could be running out of water

Ensuring national security is the most important issue for any country, and strategies are developed and policies made towards that end.

The issue of national security goes beyond the concept of safeguarding the land, skies and water of a given country to stopping the country from breaking apart and protecting it against threats to its natural resources.
Most Arab countries are considered arid because on the one hand the rates of rainfall are very low and, on the other, water resources — if they exist — are located outside their geographical boundaries.
However, over the years, this delicate issue has not received the attention it deserves.

On March 21 this year, the UN issued a report on the eve of World Water Day, about the tragic water situation in Iraq. The report said that 50 per cent of water resources are wasted in Iraq, and six million people have no access to clean water.
In the report, the UN warned that the Tigris and Euphrates rivers could completely dry up by 2040. The accelerating decline of water supplies and increasing demand threaten to bring Iraq closer to the water poverty threshold, the report cautioned.

We shall overlook the negative aspects of the report, about Iraq running out of water and the dangers to the environment of the whole region — and focus on the possibility of Iraq becoming an arid country.
The UN report failed to make clear some points, as it follows diplomatic protocols that forbid it from stating facts in a blunt manner. The real reason behind the expected water catastrophe in Iraq is the drop in the water levels at the sources of the two rivers.

Iraq suffers from drought; rainfall is low and does not exceed 200 millimetres annually at most locations, while the rainfall exceeds 600 millimetres, and at times double the amount, in the Kurdish region of the country. Hence water strategy depends mainly on the river water. However, the source of both rivers is outside the country. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Scholarships and Bursaries Call for Caribbean Nationals in Graduate Studies in Climate Change

Scholarships and Bursaries Call for Caribbean Nationals in Graduate Studies in Climate Change

Study areas related to Climate Change that can be considered for these Scholarships and Bursaries are:
Climatology; Environmental Sciences; Coastal Management; Water Resources; Sustainable Tourism; Gender Studies

The CARIBSAVE Partnership, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Waterloo (UW), Canada, announce a joint research project entitled:

Partnership for Canada-Caribbean Community Climate Change Adaptation (ParCA)*

Students’ scholarships and bursaries will focus on ParCA; a project that will conduct comparative case study research in Tobago, Jamaica and two Atlantic Canadian provinces. The project will use a community-based vulnerability assessment (CBVA) framework in collaboration with coastal communities and local partners to identify vulnerabilities and exposures, and develop strategies for adaptation to climate change. Under this program, funding is available for Caribbean Nationals to study at the University of the West Indies or the University of Waterloo at Masters and PhD levels.

ELIGIBILITY for Scholarships and Bursaries

Must be a Caribbean National
Must have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at a high level in an area relevant to Climate Change including Climatology, Environmental Sciences, Coastal Management, Water Resources, Sustainable Tourism, Gender Studies.
Must have been accepted and registered in a Masters or PhD Programme at UWI or UW.
Evidence of professional experience in any of the fields indicated above will be an asset.
Applicants for Scholarships and Bursaries will be assessed by a Selection Committee established by the University of the West Indies, the University of Waterloo and The CARIBSAVE Partnership.

Applications should be sent via email to The Office of Research, The University of the West Indies: pvcresearch@admin.uwi.tt and must be copied to The CARIBSAVE Partnership: hr@caribsave.org When applying please include ‘ParCA’ as Subject in the email.

The following should be included in your Application: an up to date Curriculum Vitae; a covering letter indicating qualifications; professional experience; preferred study location (UWI Campus or Waterloo); your area of interest for graduate studies and full contact details for three Referees. Closing date for this round of applications is 31 August 2011.

* Funding for this project and its student scholarships and bursaries is kindly provided by the Canadian IDRC and the Tri Council and disseminated through The CARIBSAVE Partnership, The University of Waterloo and The Unversity of the West Indies. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Medvezhiy Glacier Advances

In the early summer of 2011, the Medvezhiy Glacier in Tajikistan slid abruptly down its valley and for greater distance than it has in at least 22 years.

The sudden downhill slide of the glacier raised concern among glaciologists and emergency management groups about a potential glacial outburst flood that could flow down into the Vanch River valley.
According to satellite imagery and reports from local scientists, the glacier has moved roughly 800 to 1,000 meters since June 2011. The glacier normally moves 200 to 400 meters in an entire year. The mud-covered terminus of the glacier now blocks the Abdukagor River and is forming a lake behind a wall of ice 150 to 200 meters high and 300 to 350 meters across. Cracks and ice tunnels may be allowing some water to flow through; a bridge across the river downstream has been washed out from one water surge so far.
The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this natural-color image of Medvezhiy Glacier on July 23, 2011. Annotations mark the position of the glacier terminus on May 2, June 3, and July 23, 2011.

Located in southern Tajikistan in the Pamir Mountains, Medvezhiy (Bear) Glacier is roughly 16 kilometers long, and drains out of the Academii Nauk (Academy of Sciences) Range. The upper end of Medvezhiy sits 4,500 meters above sea level, with the terminus at roughly 3,000 meters. It is described by glaciologists as a pulsating glacier with periodic surging; the most recent surges were 1989 and 2001.
Major surges in 1963 and 1973 caused the formation of ephemeral lakes that swelled behind the ice. In each case, the glacier surged as much as two kilometers down the valley and blocked the Abdukagor River with ice dams as much as 100 meters high. When the ice dams broke, more than 20 million cubic meters of water flowed down the river. No lives were lost in those instances, but infrastructure damage was significant, according to reports. Scientists have regularly surveyed the area since the 1960s.
Novikov, V. (2002) Severe Hydrometeorological Events and their Fluctuation. World Meteorological Organization, CBS Teschnical Conference poster, Accessed July 29, 2011.
United Nations Environment Programme/GRID-Arendal (2007) Formation of lakes and glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) by Medvezhi Glacier, Pamirs. Accessed July 29, 2011.
UN Chronicle (2009) Global Warming and Surging Glaciers. Accessed July 29, 2011.
NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team and the United States Geological Survey. Caption by Mike Carlowicz, with background information from Erkin Huseinov and Viktor Novikov.
Instrument: EO-1 - ALI Source

Location:Cayman Islands

Water projects: CM seeks ADB assistance

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has requested the technical and financial assistance of ADB for restoring and rehabilitating the water resources in Kerala.

He was inaugurating the Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting (TPRM) of Asian Development Bank-assisted projects held here on Friday."Though Kerala gets sufficient rainfall, within hours the water flows to the sea because of its terrain. In coastal areas water available is saline water and therefore shortage of drinking water.

Rain water harvesting and check dam can help in storing the water and charging the ground water table. 'Water For All' being the theme of ADB, the State is interested to get the technical and financial aid from the ADB, he said.Referring to the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP), the major project undergoing in the state with ADB assistance, Chandy said his government was committed to ensuring the timely completion of the project. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, July 29, 2011

Report: U.S. Cities Must Prepare for Water-related Impacts of Climate Change

Today marks the release of a new NRDC report called Thirsty for Answers: Preparing for the Water-related Impacts of Climate Change in American Cities.

The report makes clear that some of the most profound effects of climate change are water-related, like sea level rise, increased rain and storms, flooding, and drought. These changes affect the water we drink, fish, and swim in, as well as impact our infrastructure and the economy.

One need only look as far as the recent deadly flooding and severe storms in the Midwest, or to the impacts of the prolonged drought across the South, to understand the profound effects of water, or a lack thereof. Whether any specific weather event, like the flooding in the Midwest, reflects the impacts of climate change or not, the research compiled in our report makes clear that these kinds of events are likely to increase in the coming years as a result of climate change.

In our report, we compiled local and regional research findings about the water-related impacts of climate change in 12 U.S. cities (chosen for their geographic diversity and range in size, in order to provide a snapshot of the varied national picture): New York, Boston, Norfolk (Virginia), Miami, New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Homer (Alaska). We also analyzed what many of these municipalities are doing in terms of preparedness planning, and offer their solutions as examples for other communities to emulate.

A brief rundown of the types of changes and impacts detailed in the report include:

Rising Seas: Most of the coastal cities in the report are facing threats from sea level rise, including coastal flooding and storm surges. Miami ranks number one worldwide in terms of assets exposed to coastal flooding, and the Norfolk-Virginia Beach metropolitan area ranks tenth, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Rising seas threaten to decimate the protective wetlands surrounding New Orleans and inundate a large portion of the Florida Keys.

Increased Storms and Flooding: The Midwest and East Coast are at the highest risk for more frequent and intense storms. The frequency of very heavy rainfall in Chicago, for example, is expected to increase by 50 percent in the next 30 years. More frequent and intense rainfall contributes to the type of flooding recently seen along the Mississippi River, and combined sewer overflows that send untreated sewage and stormwater into the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

Water Supply Impacts: Rising seas are likely to cause increased saltwater intrusion into freshwater supplies, including drinking water for millions of Americans, especially in Miami and the San Francisco Bay area. In the West, rising temperatures, less rain, and decreased snowpack will create challenges for maintaining a sufficient water supply. For example, a large decline in the spring snowpack in the watersheds that supply water to Seattle is projected over the next two decades. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An effective response to climate change

Foreign Secretary William Hague has delivered a speech titled 'The Diplomacy of Climate Change' to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Thank you Governor Whitman. I am most grateful for your generous introduction.

I am delighted to be here at the Council on Foreign Relations. In the modern networked world, diplomacy is no longer the sole preserve of diplomats. Instead, we all have a stake in global affairs. That is why the work of renowned bodies such as this is more valuable than ever.

Today I want to talk about why I believe we, as foreign policy practitioners, need to up our game in building a credible and effective response to climate change. Climate change is perhaps the twenty-first century’s biggest foreign policy challenge along with such challenges as preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. A world which is failing to respond to climate change is one in which the values embodied in the UN will not be met. It is a world in which competition and conflict will win over collaboration.

We are at a crucial point in the global debate on climate change. Many are questioning, in the wake of Copenhagen, whether we should continue to seek a response to climate change through the UN and whether we can ever hope to deal with this enormous challenge.

I will first argue that an effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity. Second, our response should be to strive for a binding global deal, whatever the setbacks. And third, I will set out why effective deployment of foreign policy assets is crucial to mobilising the political will needed if we are to shape an effective response. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Water harvesting a respite to Verna wells

VERNA: The drying up of wells in Verna village due to the guzzling of water by the Verna industrial estate could soon be a thing of the past, if the ground water table project continues its success.

Six persons who had complained that wells in Verna were drying up due to tremendous water consumption by the industrial estate, expressed their satisfaction after a surprise inspection was conducted on Friday evening.

The Ground Water Table Recharge Project at the Verna industrial estate was initiated last year. The project converted 15 open spaces and currently boasts a total storage capacity of 2,52,82,870 litres of water. The project's expenditure has been 2,18,45,610 so far.

"The artificial ground water recharging structures have been constructed by the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) and the Water Resources Department (WRD)," said Sanjit Rodrigues, project director and director of industries.

The structures are ground water recharging pits with dummy infiltration bore wells along with check dams, bunds and retaining walls. The ground has been perforated to recharge the water table, the project director said.

"This is a positive start. We hope their efforts to recharge the ground water table will help rejuvenate our springs and our wells won't dry up any more" said John Phillip Pereira of the NGO 'Voice of Village.' Pereira is a member of the committee set up to supervise the project headed by Rodrigues. The committee also has representatives from GIDC, WRD and Goa State Pollution Control Board ( GSPCB). More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A world in hunger: east Africa and beyond

The severe drought across much of east Africa is a human emergency that requires urgent attention. It also signals a global crisis: the convergence of inequality, food insecurity and climate change.

A drought across much of east Africa in mid-2011 is causing intense distress among vulnerable populations, many of them already pressed by poverty and insecurity. The range of the affected areas is extensive: the two districts in Somalia that are now designated as famine-zones are but the most extreme parts of a much wider disaster that stretches from Somalia across Ethiopia into northern Kenya, and as far west as Sudan and even the Karamoja district in northeast Uganda.

The numbers put at risk in this, the worst drought in the region since the 1950s, are enormous. At least 11 million people are touched by the disaster. In the Turkana district of northern Kenya, 385,000 children (among a total population of about 850,000) are suffering from acute malnutrition (see Miriam Gathigah, “East Africa: Millions Stare Death in the Face Amidst Ravaging Drought”, TerraViva / IPS, 18 July 2011). In Somalia, the conflict between the Islamist Shabaab movement and the nominal government makes conditions even more perilous for those affected.

The world's largest refugee camp, at Dadaab in northern Kenya, offers a stark illustration of the consequences of the drought. The population of Dadaab, which was designed to cope with 90,000 people, has increased in recent months to 380,000 - and 1,300 more are arriving daily (see Denis Foynes, “Eleven Million at Risk in Horn of Africa”, TerraViva / IPS, 19 July 2011).

The lessons of crisis

But just as striking is that this is part of a recurring phenomenon. Major warning-signs of malnutrition and famine were already visible in April 2008; among them were climatic factors, steep oil-price increases, increased demand for meat diets by richer communities, and the diversion of land to grow biofuel crops (see “The world’s food insecurity”, 24 April 2008).
More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, July 22, 2011

Europe Headed for Water Crisis

LUCERNE, Switzerland, Jul 22, 2011 (IPS) - Future glacier retreat in the Alps could affect the hydrology of large streams more strongly than previously assumed, a new study shows. Water shortages in summer could become more frequent.

Even though their ice is called 'eternal', many alpine glaciers' lives may come to an end within this century. For 150 years, most of them have been more or less constantly retreating, and since the eighties, their shrinkage has visibly increased.

The Furka Pass in central Switzerland has long been awaiting its visitors with a special attraction. Just below the highest point of the pass, tourists may enter an ice grotto dug into the Rhone glacier to discover glacier life from the inside. Each year however, the grotto's entry can be found a few metres further downhill. Long-term measurements reveal that from 1879 to 2010, the Rhone glacier has lost 1266 metres of its original length.

The Swiss Alps are often called 'Europe's water tower'. Nearly 60 billion cubic metres of water are stored in its glaciers. Matthias Huss, glaciologist and senior lecturer at the Department of Geosciences at the University of Fribourg explains that glaciers fulfil a balancing function: "They release water exactly when we need it, while storing it in periods when we need it less." More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Villagers adopt rainwater harvesting to access safe water

PATNA: As many as 5,000 rural households in Bihar's Khagaria district have adopted rainwater harvesting as an approach to access safe water during the on-going monsoon.

These communities are mostly from the flood prone areas (largely relief oriented) and have invested their own resources to access safe water.

Villagers residing in remote villages located in Chautham, Gogari Alauli blocks of Khagaria district have adopted rainwater harvesting, said Prem K Verma who is engaged in the campaign of rainwater harvesting in the district.

Pre-2005, this decentralized system to access safe water during monsoon/floods never existed in flood plains of north Bihar. This is an outcome of past six years of efforts made by an NGO "Megh Pyne Abhiyan" (MPA) (Cloud Water Campaign) in partnership with Samta, local voluntary organization in Khagaria to develop and promote alternative drinking water and sanitation systems for the entire year in the floods plains of north Bihar.
More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Growing Water Deficit Threatening Grain Harvests

Many countries are facing dangerous water shortages. As world demand for food has soared, millions of farmers have drilled too many irrigation wells in efforts to expand their harvests.

As a result, water tables are falling and wells are going dry in some 20 countries containing half the world’s people. The overpumping of aquifers for irrigation temporarily inflates food production, creating a food production bubble that bursts when the aquifer is depleted.

The shrinkage of irrigation water supplies in the big three grain-producing countries—the United States, India, and China—is of particular concern. Thus far, these countries have managed to avoid falling harvests at the national level, but continued overexploitation of aquifers could soon catch up with them.

In most of the leading U.S. irrigation states, the irrigated area has peaked and begun to decline. In California, historically the irrigation leader, a combination of aquifer depletion and the diversion of irrigation water to fast-growing cities has reduced irrigated area from nearly 9 million acres in 1997 to an estimated 7.5 million acres in 2010. (One acre equals 0.4 hectares.) In Texas, the irrigated area peaked in 1978 at 7 million acres, falling to some 5 million acres as the Ogallala aquifer underlying much of the Texas panhandle was depleted.

Other states with shrinking irrigated area include Arizona, Colorado, and Florida. All three states are suffering from both aquifer depletion and the diversion of irrigation water to urban centers. And now that the states that were rapidly expanding their irrigated area, such as Nebraska and Arkansas, are starting to level off, the prospects for any national growth in irrigated area have faded. With water tables falling as aquifers are depleted under the Great Plains and California’s Central Valley, and with fast-growing cities in the Southwest taking more and more irrigation water, the U.S. irrigated area has likely peaked.

India is facing a much more difficult situation. A World Bank study reported in 2005 that the grain supply for 175 million Indians was produced by overpumping water. Water tables are falling in several states, including Punjab and Haryana, two surplus grain producers that supply most of the wheat and much of the rice used in India’s massive food distribution program for low-income consumers. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Water Experts Warn of Conflict Over Mekong Dams

The race for hydropower development among Mekong countries could lead to conflicts or even war over water, regional security experts say. 

Hydroelectric projects have begun to spring up across the Mekong River, with some already under way and other already creating tensions between Southeast Asian neighbors.
Experts on water security met in Siem Reap on Friday at a two-day conference of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific in an effort to address upcoming issues surrounding such projects and other water conflict.
“Some water-related conflicts will take place because some farmers or people who used to be living alongside the Mekong River basin, because of the dam construction, they need to be resettled, which means that there are refugees because of the dam construction, and then it will give some kinds of social impacts on particularly poor people and the marginalized,” Seungho Lee, a water expert from Korea University, based in Seoul, said on the sidelines of the conference Friday.
Government officials and experts from across the globe attended the meeting, including experts from the US, China, Japan and Southeast Asia. China already has four hydrodams in operation and four more under construction along the Mekong. At least 12 dams are planned in the lower Mekong regions of Laos and Cambodia. More >>>

Egypt’s Pope Shenouda in Nile water talks

CAIRO: Egypt’s Coptic Pontiff, Pope Shenouda II, met on Monday with the Egyptian ambassador to Ethiopia for talks over the ongoing battle for water in the Nile Basin region
The two discussed the current developments along the Nile and the role Egypt can play in ending the ongoing stalemate and tension over a water-sharing agreement with upstream countries. It comes as Ethiopia announced continued plans to erect a massive dam along the Nile, which Cairo sees as a threat to its water security. 
The Coptic Church reportedly told Egyptian daily al-Youm al-Saba’a that it could help solve the impasse through its connections with the Ethiopian church. The source also said that “Egyptians are in the Pope’s heart and mind and that he is concerned with this issue especially that Egypt needs stability in the coming period, and the reduction of its shared water will affect its people whether they are Christians or Muslims.” 

The meeting comes as tension builds along the Nile, with the planned dam and South Sudan’s independence, which many fear could spark a regional conflict over water resources. According to local newspapers, the Pope talked about the role of the Egyptian church in intervening in negotiations and re-establishing relations with the Ethiopian church to confirm Ethiopia’s commitment to the water agreement. More >>>

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yemen’s Dangerous Hunger Crisis

The embattled nation is struggling to find food and water while the world focuses on ending President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s violent campaign to keep power.

In one of the cities at the center of Yemen’s revolution, tanks and soldiers of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s loyalist forces occupy the main hospital, turning away the civilian sick and wounded, and using the hospital as a vantage point to shell residential neighborhoods at night.

Prices of water as well as food have soared amid Yemen’s political crisis, so that ever more poor families are resorting to drinking water from rain and other contaminated sources, and new reports of cholera outbreaks are reaching the capital, Sana’a. Yemeni cities are emptying of day laborers and other poor, aid officials and residents told me, as men return with their families to their villages in hopes of escaping hunger.

Months of violent political crisis are depleting the savings and stockpiles of more and more Yemenis, so that not only beggars, but neighbors, come round to quietly ask for food.

“There’s no work, no water, no electricity, no security. When we sleep, my family and I are not sure if we will live until morning, because of the shelling on the houses, and the bullets all night,” says Ali Qassim Abdullah, a 44-year-old father of three young children. Abdullah spoke in Yemen’s southern city of Taiz, where loyalist units commanded by the son of Yemen’s president are accused of nightly—and sometimes random—artillery fire.
“The whole world is watching this happen to us in Taiz. And no one speaks or objects,” Abdullah told a Yemeni reporter in Taiz who helped me talk to civilians. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Govt plans to regulate groundwater extraction

New Delhi, Jul 17 (PTI) The government is planning to regulate over-extraction of groundwater for irrigation and industry which is seriously affecting drinking water supply in rural India, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has said.

He said drinking water security was facing multiple threats including drying up of groundwater sources due to its unregulated over-extraction.
"80 per cent of drinking water supply schemes of rural India are depending on groundwater sources and these sources are drying up due to unregulated over-extraction of water for industry and irrigation," Ramesh told PTI.
"It is a serious issue. We are planning to regulate over-extraction of groundwater for irrigation and industry," the minister said.
Ramesh was given additional charge of the Drinking Water and Sanitation portfolio after Gurudas Kamat refused to take the charge as Minister of State with Independent charge and quit the government.
According to the Ministry, drinking water supply schemes are being affected as perennial water sources are becoming seasonal. They are also getting contaminated by chemical contaminants found in the earth like arsenic and fluoride.
Leaching or fertilisers, untreated industrial effluent and sewage are also threatening the safe and sustainable drinking water.
The goal of the central government''s National Drinking Water Programme is to provide every rural person with safe water for drinking, cooking and other domestic needs on sustainable basis. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dramatic Climate Swings Likely as World Warms: Ancient El Niño Clue to Future Floods

ScienceDaily (July 15, 2011) — Dramatic climate swings behind both last year's Pakistan flooding and this year's Queensland floods in Australia are likely to continue as the world gets warmer, scientists predict.

Researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Leeds have discovered that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the sloshing of the warmest waters on the planet from the West Pacific towards the East Pacific every 2-7 years, continued during Earth's last great warm period, the Pliocene.

Their results suggest that swings between the two climatic extremes, known as El Niño and La Niña, may even have occurred more frequently in the warmer past and may increase in frequency in the future. Extreme ENSO events cause droughts, forest fires and floods across much of the world as well as affecting fishery production.

Reporting in the journal Paleoceanography, the team of geochemists and climate modellers use the Pliocene as a past analogue and predictor of the workings of Earth's future climate. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

UN Calls For More Water Cooperation In Central Asia

July 12, 2011

The UN says more cooperation among Central Asian states sharing the shores of a key river could be the key to future peace and security in the region.  
In a fresh report, the UN Environmental Program, or UNEP, said the Amu Darya river is being taxed by big hydropower projects upstream and demand for irrigated agriculture downstream, leading to "major natural resource challenges" for Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The report notes the Aral Sea -- which relies in part from water from the Amu Darya -- has seen water levels drop by 26 meters and the shoreline recede by several hundred kilometers.

It also said pollution from mining, metals, petroleum and chemical activities along the river and air pollution in the form of dust and salt from dried out parts of the Aral Sea are challenges to human health.

"From a security perspective climate change, water, energy and agriculture constitute the main areas of interest for this report as they reveal the potential for increasing instability and even confrontation as more flows are impounded upstream reducing those water availability and quality downstream," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. more >>>

Monday, July 11, 2011

Political Sustainability and Human Security

Economic Revival Requires a Revival of our National Community

New York - As the nation's debt deadline approaches, and the political and media gamesmanship in our nation's capital increases in intensity, I find myself thinking more and more about community. The value with which we hold each other, and our relationship to those with whom we share our living space. The political parties blame each other for the stubborn persistence of unemployment, now over 9% officially and over 16% when we count those who have given up on the job market or are underemployed.

The Republicans blame the declining economy on over-taxation. The Democrats blame job loss on Republican resistance to additional stimulus. Twice this year the Republicans have been willing to "play chicken" with the President and the nation's well being: first over the budget by threatening a government shutdown, and now by holding the entire economy hostage while threatening to default on our debt. Ideology is dominating debates that should be settled by data, not wishful thinking. People in America need work. Our community has work that needs to be done. It's time to close that loop.

The creation of a global economy and communication network has placed the American economy and our society in uncharted territory. We do not really understand the complex economic, political, ecological, social and cultural forces that drive the world economy. We don't really know the answers to the problems we face. Like FDR during the New Deal we need to pragmatically experiment. We need to learn what works and what doesn't. What collective community responses are needed? What private entrepreneurial forces need to be unleashed? In March of 1933, as FDR assumed the Presidency in the depths of the Great Depression, some of his speeches and articles were collected in a book entitled Looking Forward. At the dawn of the New Deal, Roosevelt wrote:
"The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." Franklin D. Roosevelt, Looking Forward, chapter 2, p. 51 (1933). More >>>

Going forward into this century all states need to have all political parties work together for the benefit of their country and people. To deal with the perfect storm that we are faced with, climate change, sea level rise, energy shortages, and a rapidly rising population it is imperative that political stalemate becomes a thing of the past. Editor

Location: Cayman Islands

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Post-doctoral Fellowship in Socio-Hydrology

May be of interest to readers.

Post-doctoral Fellowship in Socio-Hydrology: Defining Water Security in the Saskatchewan River Basin



Phd Candidate
Water Policy and Governance Group
Department of Geography and Environmental Management
University of Waterloo


Location: Cayman Islands

Water security on top of Himalayan agenda

Climate Summit 4 July, 2011 - As a build up to the “Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas 2011,” scheduled for November in Bhutan this year, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal identified a host of issues related to water security for regional cooperation.

This was done at a two-day expert group regional consultative meeting in Bangladesh to develop a 10-year regional roadmap beginning 2012 on water security, which ended yesterday. Water is one of the four thematic issues of the climate summit among food, biodiversity, and energy.

The members identified areas of cooperation, divided into two broad headings - climate change and its impact on regional water resources, and sharing of knowledge and capacity building.

The countries agreed to assess the existing hydro-meteorological network and enhance the data collection process. They will review the climate modelling and select appropriate modelling tools to develop hydrological scenarios at different scales in the region.

The member countries also agreed to enhance ecosystem management practices to minimise the impacts of climate change-induced disasters. They will develop effective approaches and actions concerning disaster management.

Considering irreversible impacts of climate change, the countries agreed to build resilience through conservation of mountain, coastal and wetland ecosystems, while also emphasising the need to promote traditional water conservation techniques backstopped by modern methods to increase the efficiency of water use. Full Article >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Environment: Worlds Of Water

Why water security is one of the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century, and why water politics have just got more complicated.

Water is the most essential and most awkward of natural resources. It has no substitutes, but many uses - as drinking water, for sanitation purposes, in agriculture, in industrial processes, in electricity generation. Water's versatility makes it coveted by many different consumers, each with their own needs and political heft.

Sometimes water ends up not being water at all: it becomes an input to agricultural production or energy or, in the case of bio-fuels, both. In hydraulic fracturing, water is key to the extraction of natural gas. Elsewhere, it is needed to cool power stations. In southern Mongolia's bone-dry Gobi, water is needed for the region's huge mineral wealth to be developed.

Sometimes, the process works the other way, and huge amounts of energy and wealth are used to provide water. In California, it is the State Water Project, transporting water to southern California, that is the single largest user of electricity. In Saudi Arabia, up to 1.5 million barrels of oil per day are used to desalinate and pump the country's water.

Water's usability depends not only on sheer quantity, but also on quality and type. Water's most common form - ocean saltwater - is its least directly useful (though advocates of large-scale desalinisation and salt-water farming have long promised that could change).

The availability of water in both necessary quantity and quality depends, in part, on geography. Despite the overall global abundance of water, over one billion people live in water-scarce or water stressed parts of the world, a number expected to triple over the next few decades as groundwater depletion, climate change and accelerating demands on water extraction take their toll. Globally, the Water Resources Group has defined a forty percent gap between projected water requirements in 2030 and current accessible and reliable supply. In some places, the gap is much greater.
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Location:Cayman Islands