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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Land grabs leave Africa facing ‘hydrological suicide’ - report

LONDON (AlertNet) - A scramble for cheap African farmland by foreign investors threatens to leave millions of people without water and could ultimately drain the continent's rivers, a report warns.

"If these land grabs are allowed to continue, Africa is heading for a hydrological suicide," said the report’s co-author Henk Hobbelink, coordinator of GRAIN, an organisation supporting small farmers.

Foreign governments and wealthy individuals are snapping up millions of hectares of land on the continent for large-scale agriculture projects to grow food and biofuels for export.

But the report warns there is simply not enough water in Africa's rivers and water tables to irrigate all the newly acquired land.

In some cases communities are already being moved off land to make way for these mega-projects. In others, the plantations will divert water from rivers that local people depend on for their own farming and everyday needs.

"Millions of Africans are in danger of losing access to the water sources they rely on for their livelihoods and for the survival of their communities," Hobbelink said.

“The worst case scenario is indeed we end up with a situation where the entire continent’s river systems will dry out.”

Hobbelink said the land deals – many of them along the Nile and Niger rivers - were already creating tensions in some parts and could fuel conflict.

Countries leasing land include Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Zambia, Kenya Tanzania, Mali and Senegal.

The report, Squeezing Africa dry: behind every land grab is a water grab, said those acquiring farmland knew that the access to water they were automatically gaining – often without restriction - could well be worth more in the long term than the land deals themselves. More


Friday, June 8, 2012


The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), expert civil engineering body, called for prompt action to deal with the UK’s water security, which is expected to worsen if not considered.

In its State of the Nation: Water report ICE says the recent droughts have been a ‘wake up call’ for the UK but the urgency and severity of the UK’s water issues is still not properly understood. It rates our current water security as level 4 on a 1-10 scale.
To tackle the crisis ICE calls for the creation of a ‘UK Water Security Taskforce’ to deliver an integrated roadmap to water security by spring 2014, based on strategic plans from all Governments. It says that if the roadmap includes time-bound steps the UK could be out of danger, at water security level 8 or 9 by 2025.

To achieve this ICE makes several recommendations for change including the development of new water storage facilities across the country, the removal of regulatory barriers that discourage water sharing between neighbouring companies and collaborative investment in new infrastructure, and the phased introduction of universal metering, with social tariffs to protect the poorest in society.

Chair of the ICE Water Panel Michael Norton said there is no silver bullet solution. “We are a populous nation facing a growing gap between what we can supply and what our water users need. Sadly it’s only when hose-pipe bans are inflicted on us that the public has any glimpse of this reality. We have a valuable opportunity while water is in the forefront of the nation’s minds to impress on the public the real value of this resource and we mustn’t squander it. More