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, December 26, 2011

EU launches €1.5m project to improve water availability in West Bank

JERUSALEM, December 14, 2011 (WAFA) - The European Union (EU) launched a €1.5 million project to improve the livelihoods and food security levels of poor rural families through improving the availability and management of water for agricultural purposes, an EU press release said Wednesday.

The project is implemented by Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and is expected to be finalized at the end of 2012. 

Availability of and access to water is one of the biggest problems Palestinian farmers and herders face, said the statement.

Since 2007, the region has suffered from severe weather conditions and rainwater scarcity affecting agricultural productivity. In addition, constraints in accessing land and restrictions imposed on Palestinians for establishing or rehabilitating water wells have severely impaired farmers from realizing their potential.

The project will construct and rehabilitate 450 rain feed water cisterns, which will secure access to water for irrigation of crops, home gardens and livestock to 450 farming families in the West Bank and will offer them a feasible and affordable way to improve their livelihood.

'There is an unquestionable need for a comprehensive response to water scarcity and difficulties in accessing water for Palestinian farmers. This project comes in addition to the EU food security program which has focused exactly on improving the management of water and wastewater in rural areas of the occupied territories to tackle these problems,' said the acting EU representative, John Gatt-Rutter. More

This initiative needs to also incorporate stopping of illegal extraction of water from Palestinian aquifers. Editor 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What if India and China Collaborate?

1. The Melting Water towers:

Yellow River
The Himalayas, home and birth place of Ganga, Indus and Brahmaputra
For China, it is the mother of Mekong, Yellow 
and Yangtze rivers. Amazingly these high altitude glaciers take care of nearly 3 billion people or half of world's population. The Earth Policy Institute has declared that the melting of these glaciers would be a massive threat to food security. China and India are co-victims of a life-threatening ecological crisis. "In 2050 we will have 9 billion people and average income will be four times what it is today," he said. "India and China have been able to feed their populations because they use water in an unsustainable way. That is no longer possible," according to Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN's Millennium Project. Since Asia's agricultural revolution, the amount of land under irrigation has tripled. But many parts of the continent have reached the limits of water supplies. "The Ganges [in India] and the Yellow river [in China] no longer flow. There is so much silting up and water extraction upstream they are pretty stagnant," as quoted by The Guardian. So will they co-operate to solve the problem, or go to war over food and water? More

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

For Peru's Rio Santa, Has "Peak Water" Already Passed?

The peaks of Peru's Cordillera Blanca are home to the densest array of tropical glaciers in the world.
Runoff from that ice feeds the Rio Santa, providing most of the river's flow during the annual summer dry season -- water that is used for drinking, irrigating fields and generating power along a broad swath of Peru's Pacific coast.
It's a bounty that scientists and government officials have long expected to decrease as climate change shrinks the region's mountain glaciers. But a new study suggests that is already happening -- that decades earlier than anyone expected, the glacial runoff that feeds into the Rio Santa has passed "peak water." 
"Two years ago, I had a discussion with the head of the glaciology office at Huaraz," said the study's lead author, McGill University doctoral student Michel Baraer. "We talked about the consequences of melting glaciers and water resource management. ... He said, 'We are before the peak, and we have only 20-30 years to adapt to these changes before we really see a negative trend.' What we have discovered now is that these 20-30 years do not exist. The peak is already past."
Baraer is part of an international team of researchers who used historical stream gauge records and satellite data to assess the state of the Cordillera Blancato's glaciers and their runoff into the system of tributaries that feeds the Rio Santa.
Their work, published in the January issue of the Journal of Glaciology, reveals that runoff from those glaciers has peaked and is now declining. Although the rate at which the glaciers are melting continues to increase, Baraer said, there is so little ice left that its melt will produce less and less runoff as time goes on. More