The Irish Times reports that cities are running out of water.
(emphasis mine) [my comment]
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Cities are running out of water, says expert
DEVELOPED CITIES and regions around the world are beginning to run out of water in advance of the effects of climate change, a seminar in Dublin was told yesterday.
The Institute of International and European Affairs was told that increasing drought was no longer "an image associated with third world charity", but now affected cities and regions such as San Francisco, Mexico, Raleigh North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia among others in North America, as well as Barcelona in Spain, parts of southern Europe, Turkey and Egypt and large parts of Australia.
A second tier of cities — including Dublin — are likely to face severe water demand over the next 20 years, while international bankers had already begun to see a market in "water rights" in relation to ownership of rivers and lakes and access to water in the ground.
Dominic Waughray, a senior director and head of environmental initiatives with the World Economic Forum in Geneva, said that by 2030, some 60 per cent of the world's population would live in cities with a hugely increased demand for food, industrial development and power generation, all of which require additional water.
Increasing demands for energy and industrial development have already led to near crisis in many cities in the US which have come within 100 days of running dry — and that is in advance of any effects that climate change might bring, he said.
Mr Waughray said 44 per cent of the world's population, some 2.8 billion people already live in water poverty. Some 1.1 billion people already have no clean supply of daily water and a further 2.6 billion had no toilet. Some 5,000 children a day died because of the absence of clean water — more than HIV/Aids.
He said 70 of the world's major rivers were close to running dry. These included the Colorado river in the US; the Ganges in India; the Nile in Africa, the Yellow river in China and the Murray-Darling in Australia.
Water shortages lead to an annual loss to global economic growth of about 3.6 per cent. He said the cost of water issues in California was already 2 per cent of state budget and he warned that dealing with global water rights and water shortages may be even more difficult than dealing with carbon emissions. [Absolutely. It will take amazing diplomacy to prevent wars between Pakistan, India, and China over water from the Himalayas.]
Already, he said water-related food shortages had led to the "breaking down" of the world's wheat market in 2008, which in turn had led to some states, particularly in the Persian Gulf, taking long leases on land in other countries, such as the Middle East in which to grow food to feed their own people. By 2030 he said 55 per cent of the world's population would be dependent on food imports.
This could see new strategic alliances between countries, based on the need for water, which bring about changes in geo-political balances [Agreed]. Global warming would also have a significant impact and Mr Waughray pointed out that retreating Himalayan glaciers provided seven of the world's greatest rivers with water for more than 2 billion people. [As water scarcity increases, control of and rights to water from the Himalayas will become a huge international issue.]
Governments and industry would have to find a water-neutral energy source, alongside the carbon-neutral energy sources they were already looking for, he concluded.
My reaction: For years, people have been worried about peak oil and global warming. Ironically, seems like peak water came first and is becoming a more pressing issue than controlling carbon emissions.
1) Developed cities and regions around the world are beginning to run out of water. (Affected cities and regions include: San Francisco, Mexico, Raleigh North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia among others in North America, Barcelona in Spain, parts of southern Europe, Turkey and Egypt and large parts of Australia.)
2) Increasing water demands have already led to near crisis in many US cities which have come within 100 days of running dry.
3) international bankers now see a market in "water rights" in relation to ownership of rivers/lakes and access to water in the ground.
4) 44 per cent of the world's population (2.8 billion people) already live in water poverty.
5) By 2030, 55 per cent of the world's population will be dependent on food imports.
6) 70 of the world's major rivers were close to running dry. These rivers include
A) The Colorado river in the US
B) The Ganges in India
C) The Nile in Africa
D) The Yellow river in China
E) The Murray-Darling in Australia.
7) Dealing with global water rights and water shortages will be even more difficult than dealing with carbon emissions.
8) Himalayan glaciers are an international political time bomb, as they provide seven of the world's greatest rivers with water for more than 2 billion people.
Conclusion: The reason I am focusing on water and food shortages right now is because they are very relevant to the immediate future. The next phase of this economic crisis will be most likely be out of control food prices. These rising food prices will cause nations around the world (like China and India) to sell of their US reserves to bring domestic food prices. As the dollar falls, the manipulation of gold prices will fall apart in the face of soaring demand. When the manipulation of gold is exposed to the world, the sinking dollar will go into a freefall, and a panic to escape the currency will begin.
The food commodities will begin to rise within two months, as the world realizes how poor the 2009 harvest has been.