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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Water for all: The case for a one-state solution

 Kuwait City, Kuwait - In light of yet another round of negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israeli negotiators (which, it must be said, took place on the heels of an announcement to build more illegal homes in East Jerusalem), questioning the likelihood of negotiations ever resulting in an independent and fully sovereign Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders is as pressing as ever.

When Prime Minister Netanyahu, during his public scolding of President Obama, referred to the pre-1967 borders as"indefensible" for Israel, he was not expressing a fringe, radical point of view, but rather, frankly articulating what many in Israel's policymaking circles had implicitly recognised decades ago; that a completely sovereign Palestinian state within said borders, in complete control of the natural resources to which it would be entitled, is an unacceptable option.
Some, such as the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish populations that inhabit the illegal Jewish colonies in the West Bank, or the Christian evangelicals in the United States, endorse this view on a religious basis. However, much more strategic and practical considerations such as the issue of water also make the 1967 borders "indefensible". It is on this basis - the basis that Israel cannot accept a sovereign Palestinian state rightfully in control of its water resources - that I argue the need for a paradigm shift in mainstream Palestinian discourse from a two-state solution to a one-state solution. More

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hosting of water summit a testament to Abu Dhabi's commitment

 Never has water been a more critical resource for the UAE than it is today, as the country's population and growth swell further.

The announcement last week that Abu Dhabi would host an annual International Water Summit further testifies to this fact. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, even said recently that "water is more important than oil in the United Arab Emirates".
The UAE is among the world's most water-scarce nations, while being among the highest per capita water consumers in the world. Abu Dhabi's consumption of water resources is 24 times greater than its natural recharge capacity. To bridge the gap, the UAE has long relied on desalination - for about 90 per cent of its water, according to estimates. But this comes with a very high energy cost, which is tricky when the UAE is trying to cut carbon emissions.
It's time for the UAE to reduce the environmental footprint of its water treatment sector, which we hope to do in part through the establishment of a new Centre of Excellence for Water Technologies, being launched by the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Work on the facility begins next month. More

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Abu Dhabi to host water summit from next year

 ABU DHABI - In a move to promote water security in arid regions, General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Wednesday, announced the International Water Summit (IWS) to begin next year alongside the World Future Energy Summit in January 2013.

Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahd, Minister of Environment and Water; Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar; and Dr Glen Daigger, President of the International Water Association (IWA); were also present at a Press conference at the ongoing World Future Energy Summit (WFES) to announce the details of the summit.

The International Water Association (IWA) is a global network of water professionals, working everyday to provide water and sanitation services which create healthy living conditions, fuel the economy, protect the environment and enhance the living conditions.

During the Press briefing, the minister said as a result of the increased pressure on this valuable resource due to various factors including growing population, agricultural demands and economic growth and the unsustainable consumption patterns, various countries around the world are currently facing real problems with water resources.

Dr Fahad emphasised that the climate change has increased the pressure on the resources as well. Therefore, this launch — as a result of our visionary leadership’s drive towards achieving water security — helmed by the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will shed a real light on the subject.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said that the launch of the International Water Summit reflects the important role the UAE is playing in supporting the international efforts in answering the pressing challenges facing the world today.

Quoting General Shaikh Mohammed, Dr Al Jaber said that water is more important than oil in the UAE. This is a bold and clear signal that an economy based on oil is placing water at the topmost of its agenda. He also made a clear call to action that we need to enhance and increase the studies and research, create strategic action plans, and find solutions to preserving this invaluable resource for future generations. More


Monday, January 16, 2012

Energy and Water

 Australia's future growth is predicated on the expectation that China and India will continue to emerge as economic behemoths. But the explosion in energy use on which Australia's current boom is based is accelerating the water debt in both China and India.

The link between energy and water is rarely discussed, yet is of huge consequence. The problem was encapsulated in Steven Solomon's book, Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization (2010). He later updated the dilemma in the Journal of Energy Security:

''Pumping, conveying, and treating water is extremely energy-intensive. Water is very heavy - 20 per cent more than oil - and massive volumes are required to sustain modern society . . . each day every person living in an industrialised nation personally consumes about [US]1000 gallons [3785 litres] embedded in the food we eat . . . ''

Think of that cup of coffee and its 140 litres. Or a single steak, which requires almost 10,000 litres of water to produce.

Solomon continues: ''While the 13-fold increase in energy use in the 20th century is often heralded as the signature factor in the unprecedented prosperity of a world population that has quadrupled to over 6 billion, it has been accompanied and also leveraged by a nine-fold increase in freshwater use . . .

''The largest single water user in the industrialised world is the energy industry. Prodigious amounts are needed to produce nearly every type of electricity and transport fuel across the energy value chain . . .

''But scaling up alternative technologies on a sustainable, massive level faces serious water scarcity hurdles. Getting additional oil out of existing wells through enhanced oil recovery techniques uses 15 to 1000 times more water. Potentially game-changing new coal, gas, and oil shale-based unconventional fuels that are shaking up world oil and gas markets are almost all roughly three to five times more water intensive . . . '' More


Saturday, January 7, 2012

World Water: Get the facts

    Get the Facts
    • According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.7 billion people still lack access to clean water. 2.3 billion people suffer from water-borne diseases each year.
    • While the demand for water is on the rise, the supply is shrinking. Water-intensive agriculture, population growth, industrial pollution, breakneck development and other ecological threats are depleting freshwater supplies.
    • The World Bank and other dominant international financial institutions condition their loans on privatization and increased cost recovery – which often requires charging water fees from those who make less than $2 per day.
    • The result of privatization in numerous countries has been disastrous – less access to water for the poor, extremely high tariffs, and poor water quality.
    Food & Water Watch works with coalition partners in communities around the world that are facing the privatization of water. Our goal is to defend water as a public resource, to ensure access to safe and affordable water, to help to build a strong coalition against privatization, and to promote the recognition of the right to water internationally. More

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    First Net Zero School in Arizona Installs Underground Water Harvesting System

    The first of two 25,000 gallon tanks, (each 36’ long, 11’ in diameter?about the size of a UPS trucks) will be lowered 15 feet below ground with a massive crane.  

    The tank will harvest and store rainwater which will be used for landscape irrigation. Water harvesting (both collection and use) will be monitored by students and teachers at the NEW Colonel Smith Middle School, providing opportunities for children to learn the importance of the environment, eco-systems and water conservation.  Brief remarks will be made by School Superintendent Dr. Ronda Frueauff; Fort Huachuca garrison commander Col. Faulkner; and Program Manager Tony Wall with 3W Management.  
    Water harvesting tanks are part of Colonel Smith Middle School’s environmental and sustainability program. The net zero school will generate more energy than it consumes on an annual basis through its energy-efficient design, solar potable water heating, photovoltaic panels and wind turbines. The new Colonel Smith Middle School Complex will also be Arizona’s first net zero energy building and 12th in the nation.  Fort Huachuca, the Army’s premiere installation for training, development and testing of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), has been a leader in sustainability since its founding in 1877. With an instructional focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), planners re-thought the traditional design of educational buildings.  Facilities will support a project-based learning model with flexible common and collaboration spaces, and will facilitate learning both indoors and outdoors.  More