Exactly eight years ago I had a post on water shortages.
This is it below:
A number of times in the past I have mentioned that one of the developing serious issues in the world is that of water supply and distribution. In the
we may think
we do not have the problem but it would only take marginal shifts in several
related areas of supply and demand to create one. And it will be one with no easy or cheap
Quote from “The Ecologist” of 29 June 2010:
Report lists top ten countries at risk of water shortages.
Sub-Saharan African countries top list of those with most vulnerable water supplies as report warns of 'looming crisis' in both Asia and
Africa from pollution and
depletion of natural water resources.
Depleting water supplies are increasing the risk of both internal and cross-border conflict as competition between industry, agriculture and consumers increases, according to an assessment of world most vulnerable countries.
The report from the analysts Maplecroft, says that the ten countries most at risk are:
Somalia (1), Mauritania (2), Sudan
(3), Niger (4), Iraq (5), Uzbekistan
(6), Pakistan (7), Egypt (8), Turkmenistan
The ranking was based on an assessment of access to water, water demands and the reliance on external supplies with countries like
more than 90 per cent reliant on external water supplies. Niger
A separate report has highlighted the worsening problem of water scarcity in the Himalayan sub-region of
India, Bangladesh, China
and . Although none of these countries made
Maplecroft's top ten list, the Indian-based Strategic Foresight
Group (SFG) say they will have to cope with 275 billion cubic meters
less water within 20 years - more than the total amount of water currently
available in just one of the countries – Nepal. Nepal
It says that while global warming may take two centuries to seriously deplete the Himalayan glaciers, some impacts will be visible sooner. The Yellow River in
and the Ganges (with its tributaries) in are expected to become
seasonal rivers by the second half of this century. India
The high water demands of agriculture in both
India (where it
accounts for 90 per cent of water usage) and (where it accounts for 65 per
cent of water) will lead to a drop in wheat and rice yields of between 30-50
per cent by 2050, according to the report. It said both countries would be
forced to import 200-300 million tonnes of crops. China
In addition to natural depletion, the report also pointed out the increasing scarcity of water resources due to pollution. The Yellow River Conservancy Committee estimates 34 per cent of the river is unfit for drinking, aquaculture, and agriculture.
An estimated 30 per cent of the tributaries of Yangtze River are extremely polluted and in
50 per cent of the Yamuna River, the main tributary of the Ganges
is extremely polluted.
Data for rivers in
Bangladesh are not available, but a study
published recently in the Lancet medical journal
said up to 77 million people in
had been exposed to toxic levels of arsenic from naturally contaminated
groundwater supplies. Bangladesh
In total, SFG says that more than 30 per cent of the major Himalayan rivers are biologically dead and unfit for people or fish.
In the summer of 1976 a number of areas in the UK experienced shortages that caused substantial disruption. If an accident can happen, it will.