Saturday, April 12, 2008

Water availability: Water Wars

An Ethiopian pastoralist crouches down at the edge of a dry crater that was a large watering hole for his livestock. Drought and other issues are shrinking water availability, increasing tensions in communities across the globe (photo credit: Andrew Heavens)

While energy production and the lack of it is taking centerstage right now, I believe the water availability problem is just barely hanging out below the surface. When it bursts, it will be BIG.

As discussed in the Water Problem post, water availability is a MAJOR problem. With a growing population, increasing pollution, and climate change causing extreme weather conditions like droughts, communities around the world are clashing (sometimes violently) to stake out dwindling water reserves.

The New Scientist today posted an interesting article about Barcelona's attempts to buy boatloads of water from France. Here's a bit:
As Barcelona runs out of water, Spain has been forced to consider importing water from France by boat. It is the latest example of the growing struggle for water around the world – the "water wars". [...]

If you are interested in the topic of water wars, here are a few resources to get you started:

- Blue Gold, the book. Also here's a preview of the powerful documentary based on the book:

- Popular journalist Daljit Daliwal's piece on the subject, in ethiopia.

- HBO's film "H2O up for sale" gives more information on this:

- here's the link to Botswana's existing water wars. I can't embed, but you can watch 20 mins of the documentary by following this link.

- If you think that water wars aren't a part of the United States, think again. There is plenty of literature out there about California's and Michigan's water wars. Here Jim Lehrer does a piece on his Newshour program on PBS.

part 1: (4 mins)

part 2: (4 mins)

- Vandana Shiva's (2002) book Water Wars.

- The Global Policy Forum's collected links on previous water wars.

- Water Wars and International Conflict, a website put together by the Univ of Wisconsin in Eau-Claire

- World Water

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