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, October 30, 2011

Tucson shows the way in water management

As a crippling drought grips much of the Southern and Southwestern United States, the population continues to grow and water resources become scarcer. In Tucson residents will soon hand cash rebates to residents who install home rainwater-harvesting systems — a technique well-known to off-grid homeowners, which is now entering the mainstream.

The City Council approved $100,000 pilot program Tuesday that will be the precursor for a rebate system intended to go into effect next year.Rebates could be in the range of $850, said interim Water Director Andrew Quigley, which, in a far-sighted move, is the amount the city currently rebates for gray-water systems. Rainwater harvesting captures rainwater for use on a property, while gray-water harvesting reuses water from washing machines, sinks, showers and bathtubs for irrigation.

The rebates are not expected to begin until July 2012, because Tucson Water which spent $23,000 setting up a similar gray- water-harvesting rebate program, is now spending $100,000 to set up the rainwater program.

In the United States, a typical water-harvesting system can cost between $2,500 and $4,500, said Lincoln Perino, who installs them in Tucson for Technicians for Sustainability. More

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pakistan tackles water crisis with rainwater harvesting

MORRY-JE-WANDH, Pakistan (AlertNet) – Wearing colourful traditional dresses with silver jewellery and bangles on their arms, the women of Tharparkar district look festive. But the empty earthen pots they carry tell a different story.

“Walking for three miles and (hoisting) a … bucket filled with water through a wooden pulley from a 130-feet-deep well twice a day is toilsome work,” says Marvi Bheel, who lives in isolated Morry-je-  Wandh village in this arid district of Sindh province, some 450 km (280 miles) south-east of Karachi.
Increasing temperatures and lower rainfalls, believed to be associated with climate change, are creating intense water shortages in much of Pakistan, a situation which is likely to worsen if the country’s 170 million population doubles as projected in the next 25 years.
In response, non-governmental organizations are trying to improve water harvesting in rural areas. A pilot project in Morry-je-Wandh has seen the construction of a large covered pond with the capacity to supply the domestic and drinking water needs of 20 families (135 villagers) for more than eight months. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Water emergencies grip Tuvalu & Tokelau

As governments and aid agencies scramble to deliver desalination plants and bottled water to drought stricken Pacific Island nations of Tuvalu and Tokelau, other Pacific Island nations - Samoa and the Cook Islands - are preparing for a similar fate.
Is this band-aid approach to solving this problem going to be enough?

Redina Auina, spokeswoman for the Tuvalu Faith Based Youth network, who partner with 350.org, is in Tuvalu and describes the feelings of people as they face the reality of less than 5 days of drinkable water in the nations capital, Funafuti --
Experts say the past 12 months have been the second driest in Funafuti's 78 years of records. While we do not make any claims to it being solely a climate change related event, the reality is that the line between what is normal climatic variation and what might be extremes resulting from accelerated climate change is being blurred. This is particularly true for the hydrological cycle, which is sensitive to even subtle variations in the global climate and often results in either too much water, or in our case at the moment, too little. With an intense La Nina weather pattern over much of the Pacific, we’re not likely to see rain for months to come. It’s these kind of extremes that we are told will become our new reality for Tuvalu and the Pacific region as a whole. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Monday, October 10, 2011

Water security, green growth in limelight at forum

Policymakers, academics and private experts from around the world united to call for measures to address a looming water crisis and shore up sustainable growth at a forum last week.

Around 800 officials and researchers from some 20 countries and multinational agencies took part in the International Conference on River

Restoration for Green Growth hosted on Friday in Seoul by the Korean government and the state-run Korea Water Resources Corp.

Participants underlined the significance of green growth given increasing water shortages, which are poised to take a huge toll on many parts of global community and their economy.

“Water affects everything ― climate, diversity, pollution, ocean acidification, poverty and others,” said Anthony Cox, head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s environment and economy integration division.

“Water and green growth can go together to foster economy and deflate resource-based systemic risks. Water management can preserve ecosystem services, which saves tremendous costs.”

Water security has been catapulted into the foreground of global policy discussions as swift urbanization and desertification stoke demand for drinking water amid global warming. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

World Food Day, 16 October 2011

Food prices - from crisis to stability

Price swings, upswings in particular, represent a major threat to food security in developing countries. Hardest-hit are the poor. According to the

World Bank, in 2010-2011 rising food costs pushed nearly 70 million people into extreme poverty.

“FOOD PRICES – FROM CRISIS TO STABILITY” has been chosen as this year’s World Food Day theme to shed some light on this trend and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable.

On World Food Day 2011, let us look seriously at what causes swings in food prices, and do what needs to be done to reduce their impact on the weakest members of global society. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Film on Climate Refugees Strikes a Chord

During the shooting of his 2010 documentary “Climate Refugees,” the Irish-American filmmaker Michael Nash visited nearly 50 countries in about

18 months, interviewing politicians, scientists, health workers and victims of floods, cyclones, hurricanes and droughts.

Click here for film trailer

His conclusion was that short- and longer-term changes in climate are causing vast numbers of people to abandon their jobs, homes and countries to seek better lives elsewhere, or to simply survive. (Jeffrey Gettleman’s recent coverage of the Somali refugee crisis in The Times has offered some vivid and disturbing examples, although Somalia’s troubles are also inextricably linked to political turmoil.)

Mr. Nash poses a basic question: what will become of the millions of people whose lack of access to food and clean water leads them to take increasingly desperate measures? What type of strains will huge migration put on resources in more developed countries?

Will this dislocation eventually, as the retired Navy vice admiral Lee Gunn told Mr. Nash, pose a threat to Americans’ national security, too?

By focusing on the consequences of climate change rather than its scientific causes, some experts suggest that Mr. Nash succeeded in circumventing a divisive political debate over global warming and the extent to which human activity contributes to it. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands