Archive for ‘Water Shortage’

Water map shows billions at risk of ‘water insecurity’ – BBC News

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

About 80% of the world’s population lives in areas where the fresh water supply is not secure, according to a new global analysis.

Researchers compiled a composite index of “water threats” that includes issues such as scarcity and pollution.

The most severe threat category encompasses 3.4 billion people.

Writing in the journal Nature, they say that in western countries, conserving water for people through reservoirs and dams works for people, but not nature.

They urge developing countries not to follow the same path.

Instead, they say governments should to invest in water management strategies that combine infrastructure with “natural” options such as safeguarding watersheds, wetlands and flood plains.


Water well upgrades offer solution for Syria’s drought-hit northeast

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

An innovative approach to water resource management in Syria is estimated to be helping 18,000 people hit by a three-year long drought.

UNDP and its partners are upgrading a network of ancient water sources under the barren terrain of the country’s northeast, where water shortages have led to large-scale population displacement in recent years.

More than one million people, have been affected by the drought which has driven tens of thousands of families to urban settlements such as Aleppo, Damascus and Deir ez Zour.

Beginning in 2009, the Government of Syria, Spanish Development Agency and UNDP began rehabilitation of Roman- and Arab-built wells that were constructed some 2000 years ago.

Well rehabilitation involves cleaning and pumping out stagnant water, widening and deepening wells to increase water capacity, analyzing water quality, and finally handing over to local authorities and communities. The upgraded wells provide access to safe drinking water and undoubtedly improve quality of life.

These wells also contribute to sustainable and environmentally-friendly local development, protect traditional ways of life and reduce pressure on rural residents to migrate to urban centres, a move that can have devastating social and economic impacts.

Water scarcity is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today, particularly in the Middle East where populations are expanding and fresh water supplies are diminishing fast.

Source: Water well upgrades offer solution for Syria’s drought-hit northeast – Reliefweb

Date: 08 July 2010

Drought Hastens Rural Emigration

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

As extreme drought conditions stress agriculture in many areas of Bolivia, rural farming families are having to choose between the prospect of starvation or relocation to urban areas.

According to Simón Pisaya Mamani, a farmer from Ingavi province in the state of La Paz,

“[They] say the drought this year will be stronger than before, which worries us because already we don´t have food. It´s a shame, my sons told me that if we´re going to continue in the same situation they´re going to emigrate to the city.”

Rufino Mamani, a farmer in nearby Tacaca, recalled that last year as a consequence of drought, two of his sons moved to Cochabamba in search of work.

The mayor of Jesús de Machaca, Moisés Quiso (MAS) said,

“We’ve sent information to the municipal experts to calculate exactly what percentage of animals and planted fields are in danger. The dry season has only just begun and we´re worried that all the production will be for nothing.”

In the municipality of Laja, in the Los Andes province, farmers´ wells have run dry and the only reliable water source is the Pallina River which is contaminated by run-off from El Alto.

Many farmers report that their meager potato harvests will only be good enough for making chuño, freeze-dried potatoes. Unfortunately the winter frosts haven´t been very consistent and without the nightly frosts needed to make chuño, farmers fear the potatoes will only be good for feeding pigs. Other parts of Bolivia are also hurting in the dry season, including areas in Santa Cruz and Potosí. The drought is hitting other economic sectors in addition to agriculture. The Laguna Colorada, a major tourist draw near the Salar de Uyuni, has dropped several centimeters this season and lost much of its characteristic red color.

Source: Drought Hastens Rural Emigration - boliviaweekly

Date: 04 July 2010

Starvation, thirst kill many antelope in Jodhpur

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

The antelope, including chinkaras and black bucks, continue to die at regular intervals in the arid region of Jodhpur and Barmer. This has been primarily attributed to starvation and thirst, say sources On Saturday, the members of the Bishnoi Tiger Vanya Evam Paryavaran Sanstha, brought the carcasses of 25 chinkaras from Dhawa village at the office of deputy forest conservator (wildlife).

According to the general secretary of the organization, Ram NiwasBudhnagar, some 60-70 antelope, the major portion of which are theblack bucks, have died in the past 5-6 days due to acute shortage of water and fodder. He claimed they kept drinking the brackish water due to which their stomach got swollen as they could not digest their food and died a slow and painful death.

He blamed the forest department for this situation for it had “brazenly relied upon the monsoon rains.”

Budhnagar said, “We have demanded the present DFO be removed from office for failing to bring relief to the antelope.”

All these antelope were found dead in such villages like Bhawanda, Dhawa, Satlana, Dhundhara and Bhacharan etc. A medical team had visited a village and conducted post-mortem of six black bucks which confirmed their death from starvation and thirst.

According to experts, these animals are very shy in nature and due to the presence of stray dogs in the vicinity of water holes they fear to go there and prefer to remain thirsty, which lead to death.

Source: Starvation, thirst kill many antelope in Jodhpur - timesofindia.indiatimes

Date: 04 July 2010

Zimbabwe: Food Shortages to Worsen in Drought-Prone Areas

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

The southern parts of the country are expected to suffer acute grain shortages, with more people expected to rely on food aid.

The United States-funded Famine Early Warning System (Fewsnet) reported that the availability of grain was likely to deteriorate through September until the end of the farming season in March next year.

The food security situation in the southern, western and some eastern parts of the country is likely to deteriorate through September and food assistance will be required for the vulnerable households both in rural and urban areas,” reads the report.

The report by Fewsnet is likely to put the government in a spot of bother.

A number of Zanu PF ministers announced earlier that Zimbabwe would not accept food aid as this was being used as a tool for regime change.

Earlier this year, Agriculture and Mechanisation and Irrigation Development minister, Joseph Made announced that the government had banned donor agencies from dolling out free food. Matabeleland South governor, Angeline Masuku also said her province, which is drought prone and is among the hardest hit, would reject any food aid.

Early this year Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai conducted a tour of farming areas describing the farming season as catastrophic.

He said at least US$500 million was needed to offset the food deficit, but so far his appeals had not achieved much.

The farming season runs between October and March with food insecurity in rural areas peaking around January and February.

The most affected areas are the southern districts, Binga, Kariba, Mudzi and the southern parts of Manicaland.

Fewsnet noted that the supply of grain had remained favourable throughout the country, though the cost of living had remained high.

“The cost of living for the majority of poor urban households is likely to remain high, making it difficult for these households to meet their basic food and non-food requirements.”

Already there is a food deficit of 416 000 metric tonnes of grain, due to poor imports and unimpressive harvests and this is set to worsen in October, when the traditional “hunger” season sets in, continued the report.

The northern parts of the country have 10 months of food supply, while most of the country only harvested food to last them untill the end of this May.

Fewsnet noted that there were pockets of moderately food insecure households who failed to produce anything from the 2009/2010 agricultural season and these would need food assistance at the beginning of October.

Initial reports indicated that about 2,2 million people were in need of food aid.

Zimbabwe has had to rely on food aid since President Robert Mugabe embarked on a chaotic and ill advised land reform programme a decade ago.

Thousands of white commercial farmers were pushed off their land, since then the country has experienced successive grain deficits.

Source: Zimbabwe: Food Shortages to Worsen in Drought-Prone Areas – allafrica

Date: 03 July 2010

Central Vietnam dries up

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

The outlines of the MARD report were briefed on July 1. Members of a MARD mission just returned from Vietnam’s central region confirmed that nearly 200,000 hectares of rice and vegetables are withering. Half of the area suffers from serious drought. At least 15,000 hectares of rice will be a dead loss.

Drought is also drying up also daily water supply. At least 40,000 households in nine districts of Binh Dinh province, on Quang Ngai’s Ly Son Island, and along the lower reaches of the Thu Bon river (Quang Nam) are living without adequate supplies of clean water.

At a meeting chaired by First Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Bui Ba Bong on July 1, Pham Hong Quang, head of the mission to the central region, said that drought most serious in the north central region – the coastal provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh.

Quang said that of more than 250,000 hectares of summer-autumn rice, 62,000 are seriously short of water, including 55,000 hectares in the aforementioned provinces. Another 70,000 hectares of ricefields have been left fallow because of drought.

On the central coast, 25,000 hectares of rice and 23,000 hectares of vegetables are reported to lack water. The worst hit provinces are Binh Dinh (6000 hectares), Quang Nam (5000 hectares), Khanh Hoa (5000 hectares), Phu Yen (2000 hectares) and Da Nang (700 hectares).

Quang forecast that if baking sun continues for another five to seven days, losses will rise considerably. Specifically, the north-central region would have to write off another 12,000 hectares rice while losses on the central coast will double to reach 45,000 hectares.

The hot dry weather has persisted for more than two months, drying up rivers, reservoirs and streams in the region.

Major rivers like the Tra Khuc (Quang Ngai), Vu Gia and Thu Bon (both Quang Nam) are all dry. The level of water in reservoir at Quang Ngai’s Thach Nham dam is one meter below the spillway.

“I’ve never seen such a serious drought in my life. Trees can’t live in scorching sun and water shortage like this. Several years ago, the sun was fierce but we still had water,” senior farmer Nguyen Thanh Hung from Dien Ban district (Quang Nam) told VietNamNet.

“God is too cruel! How can we survive in this weather!” lamented senior farmer Le Than.

Most estuaries in the central region have been infiltrated by sea water. As a result, pumping stations are idle.

To save over 500 hectares of rice, Tam Ky city, Quang Nam province, spent over 800 million dong ($42,000) to build a dam against salt water intrusion.

On Ly Son island, twenty kilometers off the coast of Quang Ngai province, 110 families have built tanks to collect rain-water when wells became unreliable. However, their tanks are now bone-dry because there has been no rain since mid-March.

The island’s 20,000 residents must purchase water brought from the mainland on boats. They are being charged as much as 190,000 dong ($10) per cubic meter.

The MARD mission confirmed that central provinces have established steering boards to combat the drought and ordered drastic measures but the situation is not improved. Average temperatures in May and June were nearly 2°C higher than average.

MARD’s Cultivation Department and the General Department of Irrigation have recommended that drought-stricken provinces reconsider where the selection of crops should be changed to cope with drought, dredge canals, redouble efforts to manage irrigation effectively and dig more wells.

MARD will ask the government to mobilize anti-drought assistance urgently for the central provinces.

Source: Central Vietnam dries up –

Date: 03 July 2010

Drought Hits over 41,000 Bolivian Families

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Bolivian Rural Development Minister Nemesia Achacollo termed critical the environmental and economic situation resulting from the water shortage affecting over 41,000 families in El Chaco (Tarija, Chuquisaca and Santa Cruz).

Minister Achacollo talked of 24,764 hectares of crops, namely maize, sunflowers, peanuts, potato and tomato, while 6,300 bovines are also at risk, hence the urge to municipal and state authorities to support the government efforts.

The announcement follows delivery by President Evo Morales of drills to bore 600m deep water holes, plus three water tankers, trucks and lab facilities, among other logistics purchased to China at $6M, to try and ease the crisis.

Source: Drought Hits over 41,000 Bolivian Families - plenglish

Date: 02 July 2010

Using the rays of the sun to convert sea- to drinking water

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Fraunhofer ISE intends to contribute to the development of solar-powered water desalination plants such as the one shown here, in Gran Canaria. (© Fraunhofer ISE)

Many of the world’s remote areas with water shortages also have three things in abundance: Sun, wind and sea. How renewable energies can be harnessed more effectively in the future to transform salty seawater and brackish water into drinking water is the subject of a current study issued by an EU initiative dubbed “ProDes”.

Worldwide, more and more people are obtaining their drinking water either from the sea or from increasingly salty inland sources. Analysts at Global Water Intelligence, an industry service, estimate that in 2008, desalination facilities around the world produced nearly 52 million cubic meters (12 billion gallons) of water each day – the equivalent of four or five times the daily production of water in Germany.

When it comes to desalination plants run on renewable energies, the spectrum ranges from simple solar distillation plants with a capacity of a few liters a day to wind-powered reverse-osmosis plants capable of desalinating up to nearly 2,000 cubic meters (half a million gallons).

“The more remote the location, the more worthwhile and profitable it is to use plant systems run on renewable energy and to set up a water treatment operation that is not dependent on an external energy supply”, Wieghaus observes.

“ProDes” was launched in October 2008 as an “Intelligent Energy” project of the EU Commission.

Source: Using the rays of the sun to convert sea- to drinking water – physorg

Date: 01 July 2010

Why a hosepipe ban in England’s wettest region?

Friday, June 25th, 2010
UK reservoir capacity vs rainfall - Aug 2009 to May 2010

UK reservoir capacity vs rainfall - Aug 2009 to May 2010

Six months ago parts of north-west England flooded and residents waded knee-deep in muddy water. Now, heading into high summer, a hosepipe ban looms. So why is it suddenly so dry?

Measures of rainfall, soil moisture, river flows and reservoir stocks all show north-west England is low on water.

UK reservoirs

This week United Utilities, the water company that provides water to the region’s seven million people, applied for a drought permit. A look at reservoir stocks across England and Wales shows only the Colliford reservoir on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, has above average stocks.

In the past six months the North West has had much less rain than normal, with certain areas having less than 60% of the long term average. In the past five months, the North West has had its lowest rainfall since 1929, says the Environment Agency.

As rainfall has dropped, so has the water level of its reservoirs. This is because the region is unusual in that it lacks large underground aquifers that can soak up and store rainwater, and so is far more reliant on regular rainfall to keep its supplies topped up.

“Despite receiving record-breaking levels of rainfall in November 2009 in Cumbria, our drinking water relies on water from rivers, lakes and reservoirs,” says an Environment Agency spokesperson. “These are sensitive to changes in the weather, responding quickly to heavy rainfall or dry periods.”

Source: Why a hosepipe ban in England’s wettest region? – BBC

Date: 25 June 2010

Billions spent to protect world water: study

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Billions of dollars — mainly from China — are being poured into a fast-growing global system of rewards for people who protect endangered water resources, according to a study released Wednesday.

The programmes, implemented by governments as well as the private sector and community groups,

“could help avert a looming global water quality crisis,” according to the report by Ecosystem Marketplace, a project of US-based non-profit organisation Forest Trends.

It said the “emerging marketplace” of watershed payments and trading in pollution reduction credits was still dwarfed by the system of carbon trading aimed at limiting damaging greenhouse gases, but was expected to rise.

The study focused on two main instruments, Payments for Watershed Services (PWS), in which farmers and forest communities are compensated for maintaining water quality, and Water Quality Trading (WQT) where industry buys and sells pollution reduction “credits”.

Transactions support a range of activities including adjusting land management practices, technical assistance, and improving water quality, according to the report funded by the United States and The Netherlands.

The report conservatively estimated the total transaction value of active PWS and WQT initiatives at 9.3 billion dollars worldwide in 2008.

This included about 7.8 billion dollars, all of it in PWS schemes, from China where the central government has called for development of “eco-compensation mechanisms”.

Much of these Chinese payments — which compare with a figure of just over one billion dollars in 2000 — go to farmers to reduce their pollution around forested areas, the report added.

“The number and variety of PWS schemes in China have escalated in recent years, from around eight in 1999 to more than 47 in 2008… impacting some 290 million hectares (716 million acres),” it said.

“The picture in the rest of Asia is much less robust,” it added.

In the United States, PWS payments doubled to 1.35 billion dollars in 2008 from 629 million dollars in 2002, said Ecosystem Marketplace.

After China, Latin America had the largest number of active PWS programmes in 2008, with 36, it said.

Water Quality Trading is found mostly in the United States, and accounted for less than 11 million dollars globally in 2008, it added.

Among the threats to global water supply are years of unchecked fertilizer runoff that have led to oxygen-starved “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico, the researchers said in a statement.

Source: Billions spent to protect world water: study - france24

Date: 23 June 2010

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