We need a mind shift this World Water Day; a transformation in how we think about and the approach we take to getting the message out to the world about water on this one day. And the shift is long overdue.
An estimated 10 million people are struggling with growing food shortages in Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, which have all declared emergencies and appealed for international assistance. Aid agencies and governments are now bracing to reach remote communities before the situation deteriorates into a famine.
By: Brett Walton, Writer Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2012
News headlines are often dominated by the big, unexpected events — BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, for example, or Japan’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear catastrophes in 2011 — but some events come with advance warning. Here is a preview of the water news to look for in 2012.
Adding pressure to already strained budgets, the price of food is expected to remain high and quite volatile on the heels of this year’s extreme floods and droughts. Though price increases are occurring globally, they are hitting hardest in the developing world.
The remarkable president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen for their work on women’s rights. This award is rightful recognition of the commitment and dedication of these women to strengthening the rights and dignity of women in Africa, and around the world.
Meteorologists are hopeful for future rainfall, though they say the current disaster was preventable. The lack of rain, which is also affecting neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, and political instability have tipped Somalia into a food crisis that could persist, even as drought conditions abate.
There is a long history of conflicts over water. The first known water war was nearly 5,000 years ago: a conflict over irrigation ditches between the cities of Umma and Lagash in ancient Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now Iraq.
Muammar Qaddafi’s great achievement of tapping desert aquifers and sending the water hundreds of kilometers to Tripoli, the capital, and other coastal cities is now the focal point for sabotage and siege. Aid agencies have begun humanitarian relief as rebel leaders try to gain control of water-producing regions.
As an energy boom, propelled by natural gas, continues to gather steam, mining and drilling companies square off with landowners around the globe over who has the right to resources that are located deep below ground.
The drought has gripped large regions of eastern Africa, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, and is likely to continue for much of the year, according to the United Nations.
When Nelson Mandela named South Africa’s first democratic Minister for Water Affairs and Forestry – a futile effort to keep his outspoken, irascible, chain-smoking friend out of trouble – Kader Asmal claimed ignorance about the rudimentary basics of his new portfolio.
Severe droughts have added stress to an ongoing dispute between two neighboring ethnic groups near Lake Turkana — the border between the two nations — which has culminated in a series of violent attacks.
In many cities, water travels far to reach the tap. Residents of the planet’s driest places rely on extensive waterways to deliver their supply. Click through the interactive infographic below to learn more about 10 cities that pipe water in from distant aquifers, plus additional plans to expand waterway networks even further.