Sunday, June 11, 2023

"Countries worldwide tackle water stresses"

From Asia Times, June 10:

While the situation appears dire, cooperation initiatives show some signs of relief  

In May, the Arizona Department of Water Resources imposed restrictions on the construction of new housing in the Phoenix area, citing a lack of groundwater. The decision aims to slow population growth in one of the fastest-growing regions in the US and underlines the dwindling water resources in the country’s drought-stricken southwest.

As water levels in the Colorado River have declined, the states dependent on it (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming) are increasingly at odds over how to distribute the declining supply.

The US is not alone in contentious domestic debate over water supplies. Australian states have constantly quarreled over water rights across the Murray-Darling Basin. Disruptions to water supply or perceived misuse can cause immediate social unrest, and Iran and France have seen violent protests regarding water recently.

Constant and affordable access to fresh water is recognized as a basic human right by the United Nations. And in addition to providing a foundation for life, fresh water is crucial for industry and manufacturingenergy productionagriculture, sanitation, and other essential societal functions.

But around the world, its availability is threatened. Desertification, climate change, man-made water diversion, dam building, pollution, and overuse have seen rivers, lakes and aquifers dry up. Since 2000, the world has added almost 2 billion people, putting further strain on global water infrastructure and supplies.

Causes of water stress

Poor water management and infrastructure also play a major role in water scarcity around the world. In Iraq, up to 14.5% of the country’s water is lost to evaporation and two-thirds of its treated water is lost because of leaks and poor infrastructure. Up to 25-30% of South Africa’s water is lost to leaks, while even in many industrialized countries, up to 15-20% of water supply is lost.

Inequality can also exacerbate water stress. Amid Cape Town’s water shortages in recent years, 14% of the population has been found to be responsible for more than half of the freshwater use in the city. Across Africa, one in three people already faces water scarcity, where “the availability of natural hygienic water falls below 1,000 cubic meters per person per year.”

On top of government control of water supply and infrastructure, multinational companies such as Nestlé SA, PepsiCo Inc, the Coca-Cola Company, and the Wonderful Company LLC play a huge role in the global water industry.

In 2013, former Nestlé chief executive officer Peter Brabeck-Letmathe was forced to backtrack after a 2005 interview resurfaced where he stated it was “extreme” that water was considered a human right....


Where things get really difficult is when you have cross-border claims such as those we're seeing right now between Iran and Afghanistan. A couple weeks ago they were shooting at each other.

Another potentially huge problem is the mighty Mekong:

Iran, Iraq and Syria: "As neighbours build dams, Iraqis watch twin rivers dry up

Iran and Israel: "Caught Red-Handed? Why Israel is Allegedly 'Stealing' Clouds From Iran" and many, many others.