Friday, June 13, 2008

A World Without Water Documentary

The world is running out of its most precious resource. True Vision's timely film tells of the personal tragedies behind the mounting privatisation of water supplies. More than a billion people across the globe don’t have access to safe water. Every day 3900 children die as a result of insufficient or unclean water supplies. The situation can only get worse as water gets evermore scarce.

For much of the world, atlases no longer tell the truth. Today, dozens of the planet's greatest rivers run dry long before they reach the sea. They include the Nile in Egypt; the Yellow River in China; the Indus in Pakistan; the Rio Grande and Colorado in the US; the ancient Oxus that once poured into the Aral Sea in Central Asia; the Murray in Australia and the Jordan in the Middle East, which is emptied before it can even reach the country that bears its name.

The dire state of such rivers is the most visible sign of a profound crisis in how the world uses its water - a crisis that reflects water's new place as one of the most important and threatened commodities.

It's a situation that could herald a world in which wars are fought over water.

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1 comment:

cinndave said...

Video gone. Good riddance.

In spite of the water dispute and the seething enmity over Zionism, Jordan and Israel are still getting along just fine, just like they have for 40 years.

I'm sick of these. Scaremongering futurists have been saying for over a decade how "We're fighting wars for oil now, but in the future, we'll be fighting wars for water! And you can't live without water, Noooooooo!" The planet has the same amount of H20 as ever. It's just a matter of cleaning it and bringing it to where it's needed. And that takes energy. Which comes from oil. We'll keep fighting over that instead.

Socialist countries like Bolivia can have a tragedy of the commons. Capitalist countries on the other hand are extremely dynamic, and can shift to cope with scarcity in many ways. OH NO! THE EVIL BECHTEL CAPITALISTS TRIPLED THE PRICE OF WATER! It never should have been that low in the first place. Using government subsidies to keep the prices artificially low just discourages new investment in the water works there. Now Bolivia is sinking deeper into debt every day since they kicked Bechtel out. Public utilities are woefully under-equipped. But at least the masses are placated. Careful what you wish for, Bolivians.

Don't let all that stock footage of poor peasants hand pumping village wells fool you. Personal use only takes up 20% of humans' water consumption. 2/3 of it is agriculture. Cutting back on agricultural use through new efficiencies can free up more for personal use. Here are just some ways to adapt:

*Switch to crops that use less water.

*When the price of water gets high enough, it becomes viable to invest in new irrigation methods and technology, such as underground seep pipes that leak water straight to the roots, cutting water usage by 50% since none of it evaporates on the surface.

*Irrigate with water pipes instead of open ditches that lose water along the way. Help the 3rd world farmers afford this via microlending, and the investment will pay for itself.

*Invest in desalinization, or other more efficient ways to make water potable.

*Water the crops with partly treated sewage instead of drinkable water. that saves work at the water treatment plant so they can make more clean water for the people.

*If all else fails, give up farming completely, use the water for yourselves, and import your food from some other country that can grow it better. A global free market allocates goods to where they can be used most efficiently, including water usage. And international trade promotes world peace. The more nations trade, the more people stand to lose by going to war. With improved globalization, water wars won't even be worth the trouble.