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

Monday, August 29, 2011

New UN Programme Aims to Tackle Water Scarcity in Jordan

Nairobi, 25 August 2011 - A new Joint Programme to strengthen to the impacts of climate change on scarce water resources and to improve food security and health in Jordan is the focus of a workshop at the World Water Week in Stockholm today.  
The Jordan Joint Programme - a collaborative effort between the Government of Jordan and several United Nations agencies and carried out under the Spain-funded Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F) - aims to improve access to drinking water, promote the sustainable use of water supply sources and strengthen resilience to climate change in a country that is faced with serious water supply challenges.
The UN Human Development Report for Jordan 2011 shows that the country ranks among those facing the greatest shortages in terms of water resources and availability worldwide.
Jordan's water supplies are indeed precarious. According to the report, it has a shortfall of one third of its requirements in drinking water and approximately 50% in irrigation needs. This has a direct bearing on the country's food security, human health and environmental sustainability.
In an attempt to meet the country's increasing demand for water, there has been extensive drilling for under-ground water sources. This in turn has resulted in rising levels of salinity in underground water reserves, as well as diminishing water levels and growing pumping costs.
Approximately two thirds of Jordan's water supplies go towards agriculture, even though agriculture is responsible for less than 4% of the country's GDP. More >>>

Friday, August 26, 2011

Irrigation and climate change

While attention has, appropriately, been focused on getting food and medicines to the victims of the famine in the Horn of Africa, many observers are asking about longer-term solutions, especially if droughts such as the current one become more frequent with climate change. One possibility is to expand irrigation.

Currently, only about 4 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s arable land is irrigated; the rest is rain-fed, meaning it is susceptible to droughts and floods. Yet, irrigated land can have yields that are up to five times those of rain-fed areas. It must be the case that the costs of irrigation—capital, recurrent, administrative, political—are sufficiently high to outweigh these benefits. But if you take into account the possibility of more frequent floods and droughts, which would make irrigated land relatively more attractive, does the benefit-cost calculation change?

The short answer is yes. In a calculation for the Zambezi basin, Aziz Bouzaher and I estimate that the costs of tripling the irrigated area are about equal to the benefits—if you ignore the effects of climate change. It is not surprising therefore that there has not been much investment in irrigation. But when you include as benefits of irrigation the avoided damage from increasingly frequent droughts (using fairly conservative assumptions), the overall benefits are double the costs. Recognizing that the effects of climate change will increasingly affect rain-fed agriculture may tip the scales in favor of more irrigation in Africa, and lead to higher yields for African farmers.

More information on the costs and benefits of irrigation in the Zambezi River Basin (PDF)

Location:Cayman Islands

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Rain water harvesting is a system by which, the rainwater that collects on the roofs and the area around the buildings is directed into open wells through a filter tank or into a percolation chamber, built specifically for this purpose.

Rainwater is collected directly or recharged into the ground to improve ground water storage. Water that is not extracted from ground during rainy days is the water saved.

Major parts of our country have been facing continuous failure of monsoon and consequent deficit of rainfall over the last few years. Also, due to ever increasing population of Sri Lanka, the use of ground water has increased drastically leading to constant depletion of ground water level causing the wells and tube wells to dry up. In some places, excessive heat waves during summer create a situation similar to drought. It is imperative to take adequate measures to meet the drinking water needs of the people in the country besides irrigation and domestic needs.

A typical rain water harvesting system has following components. Catchment is an area where rain is collected, gutters and pipes which used to collect and transport water to the storage tank, filters which are used to filter out the debris that comes with the rooftop water, storage tank and devices to draw water out.Rain water can be harvested for two purposes. They are storing rain water for ready to use in container above or below ground and charged into the soil for withdrawal later. In Urban areas rain water harvested through; Storage tank, Percolation pit, Recharge well, Recharge pit. In Rural areas these systems are used to harvest rain; Run offs tanks, Percolation tanks, Traditional water ponds. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Expanding Deserts, Falling Water Tables, and Toxic Pollutants Driving People from Their Homes

People do not normally leave their homes, their families, and their communities unless they have no other option.

Yet as environmental stresses mount, we can expect to see a growing number of environmental refugees. Rising seas and increasingly devastating storms grab headlines, but expanding deserts, falling water tables, and toxic waste and radiation are also forcing people from their homes.

Advancing deserts are now on the move almost everywhere. The Sahara desert, for example, is expanding in every direction. As it advances northward, it is squeezing the populations of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria against the Mediterranean coast. The Sahelian region of Africa—the vast swath of savannah that separates the southern Sahara desert from the tropical rainforests of central Africa—is shrinking as the desert moves southward. As the desert invades Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, from the north, farmers and herders are forced southward, squeezed into a shrinking area of productive land. A 2006 U.N. conference on desertification in Tunisia projected that by 2020 up to 60 million people could migrate from sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa and Europe.

In Iran, villages abandoned because of spreading deserts or a lack of water number in the thousands. In Brazil, some 250,000 square miles of land are affected by desertification, much of it concentrated in the country’s northeast. In Mexico, many of the migrants who leave rural communities in arid and semiarid regions of the country each year are doing so because of desertification. Some of these environmental refugees end up in Mexican cities, others cross the northern border into the United States. U.S. analysts estimate that Mexico is forced to abandon 400 square miles of farmland to desertification each year.

In China, desert expansion has accelerated in each successive decade since 1950. Desert scholar Wang Tao reports that over the last half-century or so some 24,000 villages in northern and western China have been abandoned either entirely or partly because of desert expansion. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Monday, August 22, 2011

Farming overhaul vital for food, water security: UN

Agricultural methods need to be radically overhauled to ensure food production rises to meet increasing demand but that water resources are not depleted further by doing so, research showed on Monday.

A radical overhaul of agriculture could create farms that enhance, rather than degrade, the world's ecosystems, said a report led by the United Nations' Environment Programme and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
"Managing water for food and ecosystems will bring great benefits, but there is no escaping the urgency of the situation," said David Molden, deputy director general for research at IWMI.
"We are heading for disaster if we don't change our practices from business as usual," he added.
Water limits are close to being "reached or being breached" in areas such as northern China, India's Punjab and western United States, said the report, entitled 'An Ecosystem Services Approach to Water and Food Security'. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Friday, August 19, 2011

International River Basins: Mapping Institutional Resilience to Change.

Institutions that manage river basins must assess their ability to deal with variable water supplies now, said Professor Aaron Wolf of Oregon State University at the July 28 ECSP event,  “International River Basins: Mapping Institutional Resilience to Change.” 

“A lot of the world currently can’t deal with the variability that they have today, and we see climate change as an exacerbation to an already bad situation.”

Wolf and his colleagues, Jim Duncan of the World Bank and Matt Zentner of the U.S. Department of Defense, discussed their efforts to map basins at risk for future tensions over water, as identified in their coauthored World Bank report, “Mapping the Resilience of International River Basins to Future Climate Change-Induced Water Variability.” More >>>

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jamaican Delegation Attends 4th Singapore International Water Week

Permanent Secretaryin the Ministry of Housing, Environment and Water, Genefa Hibbert, and Chairman of the Water Resources Authority of

Jamaica, Dr. Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr., recently attended the 4th
Singapore International Water Week, Water Convention and Water Leaders Summit.
The week-long event held in the South- East Asian city-state, was attended by over 2,500 delegates from around the world. Major issues, such as climate change, urbanization and water supply, as well as water security were discussed. High level meetings and discussions were also held with regional and global water ministers, as well as industry and academic leaders.

A session was also held with the Singaporean Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong on the policy and strategic direction for water affairs for the country, as well as providing leadership and sharing expertise with the rest of the world.

The Jamaican delegation met with senior members of Singapore’s Ministry of Environment and Water Resources including the Minister, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan; Junior Minister, Mrs. Grace Fu Hai Yien. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Monday, August 15, 2011

Seminar on Food / water Security at UN-Water World Water Day On the 24th of August

UN-Water World Water Day On the 24th of August will host a seminar
during the World Water Week in Stockholm. The seminar is intended to
draw the international attention on the relationships between water and
food security.

The World Water Day in 2012 is intended to draw the international attention on the relationships between water & food security. "Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life" and water is one of the fundamental input factor to the food production. Food security has been raising the international political agenda following the peak prices of 2008 and the financial crisis of 2009. Since then, the raising commodity price level continued volatility have destabilised food security in several countries. Future population growth, urbanisation, changing diets and development pressure on land and water (including resources allocated to biofuel production) and energy cost increase are all conducive to a progressive and severe water scarcity that will in turn undermine the food security. At the same time, climate changes are expected to impact the most food insecure populations first. More >>>

Friday, August 12, 2011

Call for reservoirs to store rainwater

Monsoon always have a great impact on local agriculture as good rains always increase production of both major and minor crops of Pakistan, which boosts the agriculture sector growth.

There is a need to establish water reservoirs to store this precious natural resource while promotion of rainwater harvesting technique is also a need of hour for Pakistani agriculture.

These views were expressed in the Jang Economic Session on ‘Monsoon-Impact on Agriculture and Economy’, here on Thursday. Participants in the moot included Meteorologist Riaz Khan, Monitoring Chief PMIU Irrigation and Power Department Punjab Habibullah Bodla, President Basmati Growers Association (BGA) Hamid Malhi, Director Farmer Associates of Pakistan (FAP) Rabia Sultan and Chairman AgriForum Pakistan Ibrahim Mughal. The moot was hosted by Sikindar Hameed Lodhi and Intikhab Tariq.

Riaz Khan said that water was the lifeline for agriculture and Pakistani agriculture mainly depended upon rainwater. He said winter rains and snowfall in northern areas irrigated Rabi crop. He said historically 70 mm rain on average had been recorded in winters, which filled 80 per cent of Mangla Dam. He said low and medium flood was very important for river channels as well as for improving ground water table while high floods created troubles due to non availability of water reservoirs infrastructure. Habibullah Bodla said rainwater was very useful for agriculture sector but its benefits were never exploited properly. He said in 2010, Pakistan wasted 1.2 million acre feet rainwater in flood while China save similar quantity out of its 2.1 million acre feet rainwater by storing in dams. He said it has never been thought to utilize the abundant monsoon rainwater by constructing dams. He said that this year so far good rainfall was recorded in rice, cotton and other crops growing zones. He criticized that due to poor forecast system rainwater was also wasted in Pakistan. More >>>


Thursday, August 11, 2011

International Permaculture Conference and Convergence, IPC10, will be held in Jordan across September 2011

The biennial International Permaculture Conference is the world's premier permaculture gathering.

The next International Permaculture Conference and Convergence, IPC10, will be held in Jordan across September 2011. The theme is "Plan Jordan ~ Water".

The 1-day IPC10 Conference (open to all) and 4-day IPC10 Convergence (open to Permaculture Design Certificate graduates only) will be held in Jordan (Amman and Wadi Rum, respectively) and will be coordinated by Nadia 'Abu Yahia' Lawton. Prior to the start of the Conference and subsequent Convergence, a two-week International Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course will be taught by a team of respected permaculture educators and pratitioners, and all three events will be followed by tours and permaculture site visits.

The theme of IPC10 is highly appropriate given the United Nations have just launched their Decades for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification. We have the solutions!

You are cordially invited to support this valuable initiative with your presence and involvement! We welcome submissions for appropriate articles to appear below! More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Managing Contraction, Redefining Progress

Only a crisis—actual or perceived—produces real change. When the crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend upon the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to
existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.
—Milton Friedman (economist)

Many analysts who focus on the problems of population growth, resource depletion, and climate change foresee gradually tightening constraints on world economic activity. In most cases the prognosis they offer is for worsening environmental problems, more expensive energy and materials, and slowing economic growth.

However, their analyses often fail to factor in the impacts to and from a financial system built on the expectation of further growth—a system that could come unhinged in a non-linear, catastrophic fashion as growth ends. Financial and monetary systems can crash suddenly and completely. This almost happened in September 2008 as the result of a combination of a decline in the housing market, reliance on overly complex and in many cases fraudulent financial instruments, and skyrocketing energy prices. Another sovereign debt crisis in Europe could bring the world to a similar precipice. Indeed, there is a line-up of actors waiting to take center stage in the years ahead, each capable of bringing the curtain down on the global banking system or one of the world’s major currencies. Each derives its destructive potency from its ability to strangle growth, thus setting off chain reactions of default, bankruptcy, and currency failure. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Better Desalination Technology Key to Solving World's Water Shortage

ScienceDaily (Aug. 5, 2011) — Over one-third of the world's population already lives in areas struggling to keep up with the demand for fresh water. By 2025, that number will nearly double.

Some countries have met the challenge by tapping into natural sources of fresh water, but as many examples -- such as the much-depleted Jordan River -- have demonstrated, many of these practices are far from sustainable.

A new Yale University study argues that seawater desalination should play an important role in helping combat worldwide fresh water shortages -- once conservation, reuse and other methods have been exhausted -- and provides insight into how desalination technology can be made more affordable and energy efficient.

"The globe's oceans are a virtually inexhaustible source of water, but the process of removing its salt is expensive and energy intensive," said Menachem Elimelech, a professor of chemical and environmental engineering at Yale and lead author of the study, which appears in the Aug. 5 issue of the journal Science.

Reverse osmosis -- forcing seawater through a membrane that filters out the salt -- is the leading method for seawater desalination in the world today. For years, scientists have focused on increasing the membrane's water flux using novel materials, such as carbon nanotubes, to reduce the amount of energy required to push water through it.

In the new study, Elimelech and William Phillip, now at the University of Notre Dame, demonstrate that reverse osmosis requires a minimum amount of energy that cannot be overcome, and that current technology is already starting to approach that limit. Instead of higher water flux membranes, Elimelech and Phillip suggest that the real gains in efficiency can be made during the pre- and post-treatment stages of desalination. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The World Needs a New Language

We know it is dangerous to cross a red light, so we wait until it turns green.

We do not go out sailing when the weather forecast promises a great storm. We accept it when a doctor tells us to take medicine to prevent hypertension.

We do not drink the water if there is sign saying that it is contaminated. We are constantly accepting different potential risks and manoeuvring to limit them.

But when it comes to climate change, our willingness to accept it as a potential great risk is missing - and so is our motivation to respond to it with our normal risk-behaviour.

97 percent of the climate scientists believe global warming is happening, that humans are largely responsible and that we need to take action now. From their perspective there is a mountain of evidence on the reality of climate change; the nearest thing to an open-and-shut case that scientist can produce. They are constantly trying to convince us -- the public -- of this fact.

But still the concern shared by almost every scientist is not concurrent with the general public opinion. 44 percent of Americans still believe that global warming is primarily caused by planetary trends, according to a poll from Rasmussen Reports conducted in April. And 36 percent do not believe climate change is a serious problem.

Thus we are currently witnessing an enormous reality gap between science and the public -- with very different perceptions of the risks posed by climate change.

If scientists could solve climate change on their own, the lacking public support wouldn't be a problem. But they can't. Without the endorsement from the general public, the fight against climate change does not stand much of a chance. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

UNGA Debate on Right to Water Highlights Impact of Climate Change

27 July 2011: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) held a debate on the human right to water and sanitation, during which a number of speakers highlighted that climate change constitutes an obstacle to the enjoyment of this right, stressing the particular situations of small island low-lying States.

The debate took place on 27 July 2011, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. In his opening address, Joseph Deiss, UNGA President, recalled that, in July 2010, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on the human right to water and sanitation, which he said was an important first step towards the explicit acknowledgment of that resource as a human right.

Egypt said States must take all necessary measures to extend human rights, including the right to clean water and sanitation. He added that Egypt’s efforts were challenged by funding, climate change, population growth and other factors, and indicated that his Government had adopted an integrated national plan to address these challenges. Senegal stressed the need to address climate change and drought in order to achieve the right to water, calling for increased assistance.

Cuba called for enhanced cooperation in the face of climate change, calling for the creation of mechanisms that are not dependant on the international financial institutions.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines expressed support for the UNGA resolution by which the Assembly had recognized the right to water and sanitation as a human right. He underlined that his country's achievements in terms of ensuring the realization of that right, considering its limited resources, illustrate the importance of political will. He emphasized the urgency of “looming threats” to achieving the right to water, namely climate change and desertification. He added that his country often resorts to transporting water by ship and said sea-level rise would have a disastrous effect. He concluded by calling for mainstreaming the issue in the global agenda.

Maldives explained that her country's main source of water is shallow groundwater, underscoring its extreme vulnerability to water scarcity. She called for considering the legally binding right to water in the context of sea-level rise, climate change, and other critical phenomena. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands