The most valuable commodity in the world today, is not oil, not natural gas, not even some type of renewable energy. It’s water—clean, safe, fresh water and it is being privatized for short-term profit.
A gift of nature, or a valuable commodity? A human right, or a luxury for the privileged few? Will the agricultural sector or industrial sector be the main consumer of this precious resource? Whatever the answers to these and many more questions, one thing is clear:
That water will be one of the defining issues of the coming decade, not the internet, not the current conflicts, not poverty or Inequality, nor climate change, or the far of distant stars.
SAVE THE PLANET, WHEN WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO SAVE OURSELVES.
Some estimates say that 768 million people still have no access to fresh water.
Water isn’t traded on commodity exchanges yet but you would wrong to think that the most valuable commodity more valuable than oil will remain so.
These days we hear that sustainable development is the only way forward. There will be no sustainable development while the water issues remain unsolved.
It is our responsibility that fresh water does not become a commodity to be exploited for short-term profit to pump out billions in profit.
The Oil Industry wastes 2 million gallons each day in California Fracking.
Across the world Nestlé is pushing to privatize and control water resources. In 2000 at the world Water Forum Nestlé successfully lobbied to stop water being declared a universal right. Profits over people and corporate rights over human rights.
There is now a hunting season on local water resources by multinational corporations looking to control them. This means billions in profits with us paying 2000 times more for drinking water because it comes in a plastic bottle.
Safe water will become a privilege only affordable for the wealthy.
What are our Out of Date World Organisations doing to safeguard the human right to water other than more verbal diarrhea. (They are discussing the goals)
The World Water Forum which is described as a mouthpiece for transnational companies and the World Bank are falsely claiming to head the global governance of water. (See Below)
Water is essential for human survival and well-being and important to many sectors of the economy. However, resources are irregularly distributed in space and time, and they are under pressure due to human activity. Today, freshwater is used unsustainable in the majority of the regions of the world.
Everyone is demanding more of everything, more houses, more cars and more water. And we are talking of a world where temperatures are forecasted to rise by two to three degrees Celsius, maybe more. The situation is already dire.
China’s energy needs alone will grow by 100 percent by 2050. Since 1990, half the rivers in China have disappeared.
Globally, water pollution is increasing. Around 60 percent of the worlds nation’s groundwater resources are already polluted. In developing countries, an estimated 90% of waste water is discharged directly into rivers and streams without treatment.
At present, most water policy is still driven by short-term economic and political concerns that do not take into account science and good stewardship. State-of-the-art solutions and more funding, along with more data on water resources, are needed especially in developing nations.
Here are some hard facts.
Fragmentation of river systems due to dams is the single greatest threat to freshwater ecosystems’ health.
There are an estimated 800,000 dams worldwide, including around 45,000 large dams (over 15 metres high) and 1,000 mega-dams over 100 meters high. Over 60% of the world’s 227 largest rivers have been fragmented by dams, diversions and canals . An estimated 60 to 80 million people have been displaced by dams and nearly 500 million people have had their lives and livelihoods negatively affected.
Some 20 percent of the world’s aquifers are facing over-exploitation, and degradation of wetlands is affecting the capacity of ecosystems to purify water supplies.
People use 54% of the planet’s “blue water” (water that flows through rivers, lakes, and groundwater). Estimates suggest that this may increase to 70% by 2025.
2.3 billion people live in river basins which are under water stress, where less than 1,700 cubic meters of water is available for each person per year. If current consumption patterns continue, at least 3.5 billion people will live in water-stressed river basins in 2025 – half the world’s projected population.
Our Freshwater Living Planet Index (which tracks changes in populations of 714 species of fish, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians found in temperate and tropical lakes, rivers and wetlands) showed populations of freshwater species fell by 35% between 1970 and 2007 – a larger decline than in marine and land ecosystems. In tropical regions the decline was almost 70%.
Around 10,000 of the world’s 25,000 known fish species live in fresh water. An average of 300 new freshwater fish species are discovered every year.
Wetlands around the world provide goods and services to people worth an estimated US$70 billion a year.
Climate change is predicted to have a whole range of impacts on water resources. Variation in temperature and rainfall may affect water availability, increase the frequency and severity of floods and droughts, and disrupt ecosystems that maintain water quality.
Over the last 50 years, the frequency of severe flooding and the damage it causes have increased, in part due to the degradation of freshwater ecosystems.
In parts of the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, over half of wetlands were destroyed in the 20th century, and many more were degraded across the rest of the world.
Freshwater is a highly valuable resource for a large number of competing demands, including drinking water, irrigation, hydroelectricity, waste disposal, industrial processes, transport and recreation, as well as ecosystem functions and services.
There is only one direction for water prices at the moment, and that’s up.
The United Nations estimates that by 2050 more than two billion people in 48 countries will lack sufficient water.
Approximately 97 percent to 98 percent of the water on planet Earth is saltwater (the estimates vary slightly depending on the source). Much of the remaining freshwater is frozen in glaciers or the polar ice caps. Lakes, rivers and groundwater account for about 1 percent of the world’s potentially usable freshwater.
95 percent of the world’s cities continue to dump raw sewage into rivers and other freshwater supplies, making them unsafe for human consumption.
Agriculture is responsible for 87 % of the total water used globally. Fresh water is crucial to human society – not just for drinking, but also for farming, washing and many other activities. It is expected to become increasingly scarce in the future, and this is partly due to climate change. Approximately 98% of our water is salty and only 2% is fresh. Of that 2%, almost 70% is snow and ice, 30% is groundwater, less than 0.5% is surface water (lakes, rivers, etc) and less than 0.05% is in the atmosphere.
Climate change will have several effects on these proportions on a global scale. The main one is that warming causes polar ice to melt into the sea, which turns fresh water into sea water, although this has little direct effect on water supply.
The direct impact of climate change is not the only reason.
The increasing global population means more demand for agriculture, greater use of water for irrigation and more water pollution. Rising affluence in some countries means a larger number of people living water-intensive lifestyles, including watering of gardens, cleaning cars and using washing machines and dishwashers.
Rapidly developing economies also result in more industry and in many cases this comes without modern technology for water saving and pollution control. Therefore concerns about climate change must be viewed alongside management of pollution and demand for water.
If we allow poverty related to water to exist in other countries, then we can expect jealousies between nations to rise, and we can expect acts of vengeance from those who are jealous. It is already a source of conflict in some parts of the world such as the Indus River, which runs between India and Pakistan. Another one would be, in fact, in Iraq, where the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, rising in Turkey, flow into Syria, then into Iraq. And, in fact, much of Iraq’s water supply is from Turkey.
Fresh Water is why Palestinian must strive for a one nation-state solution with Israel. It is why we must stop oil exploration in the Arctic.
By the middle of the 21st century, 2 billion to 7 billion people will be severely short of water. The WHO estimates that more than 5 million people die each year from diseases caused by unsafe drinking water. By 2030, global demand for water will outstrip supply by 40 percent, a surefire recipe for war.
It takes some 5000 liters of water to produce 1 kg of rice.
General Electric Chairman Jeffrey Immelt said the scarcity of clean water around the world will more than double GE’s revenue from water purification and treatment by 2010—to a total of $5 billion.
Saudi Arabia is expected to invest more than $80 billion in desalinization plants and sewer facilities by 2025 to meet the needs of its growing population.
While China is home to 20 percent of the world’s people, only 7 percent of the planet’s freshwater supply is located there. Asian countries will have severe water problems by the year 2025. (demand is increasing)(supply is decreasing)
In France agricultural production is exempt from the Polluter – pays -principle and that it continues to deteriorate the quality of groundwater with impunity.
The state of the world’s fresh water warns that decreasing water supplies could lead to epidemics and international conflict. Over the next 20 years, the average global supply of water per person is expected to drop by one-third.
What does the future hold?
How can water resources be managed sustainable while meeting an ever-increasing demand?
We always have the same amount of water.
The six billion people of Planet Earth use nearly 30% of the world’s total accessible renewal supply of water. By 2025, that value may reach 70%. Yet billions of people lack basic water services, and millions die each year from water-related diseases.
And you Wonder why we have terrorism.
Water is a basis of international conflict.
Basic human needs for water should be fully acknowledged as a top international priority. Education and research will be essential to providing the knowledge, skills and technology needed to combat fresh water scarcity in the future.
The World Water Forum is a large-scale international conference that is held every three years since 1997 in cooperation with the public, private sectors, academia, and industries.
It was first launched in an effort to facilitate international discussions on global water challenges.
The last Forum attracted more than 35,000 participants in Marseille 2012.
This Council is made up of.
- 15 heads of State, of governments and European Commissioners.
- 145 represented countries.
- 112 Ministers, Vice-Ministers and Secretaries of State.
- 176 national delegations and international organisations taking part in the Ministerial Declaration.
- More than 750 elected officials among which 250 mayors and 250 parliamentarians.
- More than 500 sponsored persons.
- 3,500 NGOs and civil society representatives.
- More than 2,600 children and youth.
Like all our Unfunded World Organisations it is an other gossip shop that lacks financial clout to make a differences.
There is only one way we can guard our Fresh Water we must Buy It.
Which can be achieved by Placing a World Aid Commission on all High Frequency Trading, on all Foreign Exchange transactions ( over $20,000) and on all Sovereign Wealth Funds Acquisition.
We than can create Drought Banks, that give Farmers an allocation of water. He must then decide what is the best return he can get from that amount of water on his property. It might be a big wheat crop or a small cotton crop. It doesn’t matter. The water is the fixed in the equation, not the type of crop.
Just in case you think that all of this is Hog Wash:
Here are over 80 organizations (community, academic, governmental, funding, and more) working on water and sanitation issues in multiple countries around the world.
Technologies are actually available but most of them are too expensive or far to time consuming to implement simultaneously with ongoing progress and changes.
Even within the European Union an estimated 20 to 30 million people do not have access to safe sanitation, and little action has so far been undertaken to address this problem.
The question is not whether we can afford it but can we afford not to do it?
For example, what is the cost of no action? Water is already under severe pressure and this will only increase with climate change. We cannot afford to lose the services and benefits that a healthy aquatic ecosystem provides. We need clean water in sufficient quantities for our living and for economic activities. In order to keep that, we need a determined action to protect water resources.
The global population is likely to reach 9.1 billion in 2050, if not sooner. While this alone has potentially dire consequences in terms of pressures on natural resources, especially water, Climate change sets its own agenda,
The world is changing faster than ever and becoming more and more complex.
Uncertainties about water availability and demand are increasing, as are the associated risks to development and well-being of people, societies and the environment. Unless we can generate the awareness and political will to react now, the crises we are experiencing now are likely to escalate and the odds of meeting our developmental goals will degenerate. This is why the most recent economic crisis could be seen as an opportunity; it provides an occasion for reflecting on a desired collective future.
For once we might act as one to the benefit of all. The future of the planet and the human race both depend on it.
Water is a common heritage of humanity and of future generations and must be protected as a public trust in law and practice. Water belongs to the Earth and other species. Water might teach us how to live together. How to tread more lightly on the earth — in peace and respect with one another.
Just in case you want the whole picture.
Click to access WWDR4%20Volume%201-Managing%20Water%20under%20Uncertainty%20and%20Risk.pdf