Reporte Especial - Todos los hechos detrás de la crisis del agua

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Reporte Especial - Todos los hechos detrás de la crisis del agua

Mensaje  Dr. Doom el Dom Jun 27, 2010 6:15 pm

Normalmente no suelo copiar artículos completos para ponerlos en el foro, pero creo que este amerita una copia completa para tenerlo disponible aquí en el foro. Realmente vale la pena leerlo. )Desafortunadamente solo está en inglés.)

Reporte Especial - Todos los hechos detrás de la crisis del agua
Special Report- All The Facts Behind The World's Water Crisis
1. By 2025, more than 2.8 billion people will live in 48 countries facing water stress or water scarcity, a recently revised United Nations medium population projected. Of these 48 countries, 40 are either in the Near East and North Africa or in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the next two decades population increase alone—not to mention growing demand per capita—is projected to push all of the Near East into water scarcity. By 2050 the number of countries facing water stress or scarcity will rise to 54, and their combined population to 4 billion people—40% of the projected global population of 9.4 billion

2. The 20 countries of the Near East and North Africa face the worst prospects. The Near East is the most water-short region in the world. In fact, the entire Near East "ran out of water" in 1972, when the region's total population was 122 million, according to Tony Allan, a University of London expert on water resources. Since then, the region has withdrawn more water from its rivers and aquifers every year than is being replenished. Currently, for example, Jordan and Yemen withdraw 30% more water from groundwater aquifers every year than is replenished. Also, Israel's annual water use already exceeds its renewable supply by 15%.

3. Saudi Arabia presents one of the worst cases of unsustainable water use in the world. This extremely arid country now must mine fossil groundwater for three-quarters of its water needs. Fossil groundwater depletion in Saudi Arabia has been averaging around 5.2 billion cubic meters a year

4. Of 14 countries in the Near East, 11 are already facing water scarcity. In five of these countries the populations are projected to double within the next two decades. Water is one of the major political issues confronting the region's leaders. Since virtually all rivers in the Near East are shared by several nations, current tensions over water rights could escalate into outright conflicts, driven by population growth and rising demand for an increasingly scarce resource.

5. In many countries, the water problem is the primary reason people are unable to rise out of poverty. Women and children bear the burdens disproportionately, often spending six hours or more each day fetching water for their families and communities.

6. 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water, roughly one-sixth of the world's population.

7. 2.2 million people in developing countries, most of them children, die every year from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

8. Half of the world's hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related illnesses.

9. In the past 10 years, diarrhea has killed more children than all the people lost to armed conflict since World War II.

10. Despite the size of the problem, we have made little progress against it. There were only 181 million fewer people living without safe drinking water in rural settings in 2004 (899 million) vs. 1990 (1.08 billion)

11. 50 percent of people on earth lack adequate sanitation. Another way to look at it: Nearly half of the world's population fails to receive the level of water services available 2,000 years ago to the citizens of ancient Rome.

12. Some 6,000 children die every day from disease associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene - equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing every day.

13. The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is six kilometers.

14. Tens of millions of children cannot go to school as they must fetch water every day. Drop out rates for adolescent girls, who even make it that far, skyrocket once they hit puberty as there are no private sanitation facilities at their schools.

15. 80 percent of diseases in the developing world are caused by contaminated water

16. Waterborne diseases (the consequence of a combination of lack of clean water supply and inadequate sanitation) cost the Indian economy 73 million working days per year.

17. It is estimated that pneumonia, diarrhea, tuberculosis and malaria, which account for 20% of global disease burden, receive less than one percent of total public and private funds devoted to health research.

18. If we did nothing other than provide access to clean water, without any other medical intervention, we could save 2 million lives a year.

19. The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.

20. In China, India and Indonesia, twice as many people are dying from diarrheal diseases as from HIV/AIDS.

21. The average person in the developing world uses 2.64 gallons of water a day. The average person in theUnited Kingdom uses 35.66 gallons of water per day. The average person in the United States uses between 100 and 175 gallons every day at home.

22. More than 40 million hours are wasted each year in Africa alone from women and children gathering water.

23. In 1998, 308,000 people died from war in Africa, but more than two million (six times as many) died from diarrheal disease.

24. It is estimated that 5.3 billion people, two-thirds of the world’s population, will suffer from water shortages by 2025.

25. Water is a $400 billion dollar global industry; the third largest behind electricity and oil.

26. The UN estimates it would cost an additional $30 billion to provide access to safe water to the entire planet. That’s a third of what the world spends in a year on bottled water.

27. An estimated 25% of people from cities in developing countries purchase their water from vendors at a significantly higher price than piped water. In some cases, it costs more than a quarter of their household income.

28. The average American uses 100 to 175 gallons of water per day. The average African uses 5 gallons per day.

29. It takes 5 liters of water to make 1 liter of bottled water.

30. Almost 70 percent of the available fresh water gets used for irrigation in agriculture.

31. More than half of the water used for irrigation leaks, evaporates or runs off.

32. It takes 2,900 gallons of water to produce one quarter pound hamburger (just the meat)

33. Half of the world’s 500 major rivers are seriously depleted or polluted.

34. There are more than 300,000 contaminated groundwater sites in the United States.

35. The water we drink today is the same water the dinosaurs drank—there is no new water.

36. The daily per capita use of water in residential areas is:

a. 350 litres in North America and Japan

b. 200 litres in Europe

c. 10-20 litres in sub-Saharan Africa

37. Over 260 river basins are shared by two or more countries mostly without adequate legal or institutional arrangements.

38. The quantity of water needed to produce 1 kg of:

wheat: 1 000 L

rice: 1 400 L

beef: 13 000 L

39. While the world's population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources has grown six-fold.

40. Within the next fifty years, the world population will increase by another 40 to 50 %. This population growth - coupled with industrialization and urbanization - will result in an increasing demand for water and will have serious consequences on the environment.

41. Already there is more waste water generated and dispersed today than at any other time in the history of our planet: more than one out of six people lack access to safe drinking water, namely 1.1 billion people, and more than two out of six lack adequate sanitation, namely 2.6 billion people

42. Although food security has been significantly increased in the past thirty years, water withdrawals for irrigation represent 66 % of the total withdrawals and up to 90 % in arid regions, the other 34 % being used by domestic households (10 %), industry (20 %), or evaporated from reservoirs (4 %).

43. As the per capita use increases due to changes in lifestyle and as population increases as well, the proportion of water for human use is increasing. This, coupled with spatial and temporal variations in water availability, means that the water to produce food for human consumption, industrial processes and all the other uses is becoming scarce.

44. It is all the more critical that increased water use by humans does not only reduce the amount of water available for industrial and agricultural development but has a profound effect on aquatic ecosystems and their dependent species. Environmental balances are disturbed and cannot play their regulating role anymore.

45. Water stress results from an imbalance between water use and water resources. The water stress indicator in this map measures the proportion of water withdrawal with respect to total renewable resources. It is a criticality ratio, which implies that water stress depends on the variability of resources. Water stress causes deterioration of fresh water resources in terms of quantity (aquifer over-exploitation, dry rivers, etc.) and quality (eutrophication, organic matter pollution, saline intrusion, etc.) The value of this criticality ratio that indicates high water stress is based on expert judgment and experience. It ranges between 20 % for basins with highly variable runoff and 60 % for temperate zone basins. In this map, an overall value of 40 % was taken in order to indicate high water stress. We see that the situation is heterogeneous over the world.

46. As the resource is becoming scarce, tensions among different users may intensify, both at the national and international level. Over 260 river basins are shared by two or more countries. Changes within a basin can lead to transboundary tensions. Major projects can become a point of conflicts, heightening regional instability.

47. The Parana La Plata, the Aral Sea, the Jordan and the Danube serve as examples of tensions over water supply. Due to the pressure on the Aral Sea, half of its superficy has disappeared, representing 2/3 of its volume. 36 000 km2 of marin grounds are now recovered by salt.

49. There are many countries of the world that are severely impacted with regard to human health and inadequate drinking water. The following is a partial list of some of the countries with significant populations (numerical population of affected population listed) whose only consumption is of contaminated water :

 Sudan 12.3 million

 Venezuela 5.0 million

 Zimbabwe 2.7 million

 Tunisia 2.1 million

 Cuba 1.2 million

50. According to the California Department of Water Resources, if more supplies aren’t found by 2020, the region will face a shortfall nearly as great as the amount consumed today.
50. Los Angeles is a coastal desert able to support at most 1 million people on its own water; the Los Angeles basin now is the core of a megacity that spans 220 miles (350 km) from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. The region’s population is expected to reach 41 million by 2020, up from 28 million in 2009. The population of California continues to grow by more than two million a year and is expected to reach 75 million in 2030, up from 49 million in 2009. But water shortage is likely to surface well before then.

51. Water deficits, which are already spurring heavy grain imports in numerous smaller countries, may soon do the same in larger countries, such as China and India.

52. The water tables are falling in scores of countries (including Northern China, the US, and India) due to widespread over pumping using powerful diesel and electric pumps. Other countries affected include Pakistan, Iran, and Mexico. This will eventually lead to water scarcity and cutbacks in grain harvest.

53. Even with the over pumping of its aquifers, China is developing a grain deficit.

54. Most of the 3 billion people projected to be added worldwide by mid-century will be born in countries already experiencing water shortages. Unless population growth can be slowed quickly it is feared that there may not be a practical non-violent or humane solution to the emerging world water shortage.

55. After China and India, there is a second tier of smaller countries with large water deficits — Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, and Pakistan. Four of these already import a large share of their grain. Only Pakistan remains self-sufficient. But with a population expanding by 4 million a year, it will also likely soon turn to the world market for grain.

56. Approximately 2.4 billion people live in the drainage basin of the Himalayan rivers.[28]India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar could experience floods followed by droughts in coming decades. In India alone, the Ganges provides water for drinking and farming for more than 500 million people.

57. By far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid lands commonly known as the outback. In June 2008 it became known that an expert panel had warned of long term, possibly irreversible, severe ecological damage for the whole Murray-Darling basin if it does not receive sufficient water by October.

58. Water restrictions are currently in place in many regions and cities of Australia in response to chronic shortages resulting from drought.

59. The Australian of the year 2007, environmentalist Tim Flannery, predicted that unless it made drastic changes, Perth in Western Australia could become the world’s first ghost metropolis, an abandoned city with no more water to sustain its population.

60. Construction of wastewater treatment plants and reduction of groundwater over drafting appear to be obvious solutions to the worldwide problem; however, a deeper look reveals more fundamental issues in play. Wastewater treatment is highly capital intensive, restricting access to this technology in some regions; furthermore the rapid increase in population of many countries makes this a race that is difficult to win. As if those factors are not daunting enough, one must consider the enormous costs and skill sets involved to maintain wastewater treatment plants even if they are successfully developed.

61. Reduction in groundwater overdrafting is usually politically very unpopular and has major economic impacts to farmers; moreover, this strategy will necessarily reduce crop output, which is something the world can ill-afford, given the population level at present.

62. While an energy crisis is looming large on one side, a new study cautions that India's water demand will outstrip supply a few decades from now - if not sooner.

63. A study by T N Narasimhan, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, says the Indian government has "seriously overestimated" available and utilizable water resources. Narasimhan's study is in the June issue of the Journal of Earth Systems Science published by the Indian Academy of Sciences here. It says that optimistic projections made by India's Planning Commission as late as in 2007 are incorrect. He says these estimates were based on data provided by the water resources ministry in 1999 that "significantly underestimated" evapotranspiration (ET) - a term used to describe the amount of water lost due to evaporation of surface water and "transpiration" by plants and trees. According to the study, the use of more realistic value for ET would reduce the amount of water available for human use by at least 37 percent.

64. Last year N.K. Garg of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D) called for urgent action before water scarcity "becomes unmanageable". He said the government has overestimated utilizable water by as much as 68 percent and that India is unlikely to meet the annual demand of 897 billion cubic metres (BCM) projected for 2050 "even after full development of utilizable water resources".

65. The source of water for all uses in India is the 3,838 BCM of rainfall it receives annually. Part of it enters rivers and streams, another part recharges the groundwater, and the third part is lost due to ET. According to the Planning Commission's calculations, the surface flow and recharge components add up to 60 percent - or 2,301 BCM - of the total rainfall and this is available for human use. This implies that the remaining 40 percent is lost due to ET.

66. Due to engineering and environmental constraints, only about half of the available water in India - or 712 BCM - is actually "utilizable." If we compare this 712 BCM of utilizable water with the current use of 634 BCM, it is clear that India is already at the threshold of over-development of water resources. Thus, India has to be seriously concerned about shortage of water right now rather than a few decades from now.

67. Almost all the basins in India would become water-deficit, thereby raising a big question about the availability of water for inter-basin transfer.

68. ET for India has been estimated so far by indirect means - subtracting run off and ground recharge from total rainfall - which is not accurate. A rigorous assessment of ET has not been made partly because water resource data is restricted by the government.

69. An unexpectedly abrupt decline in the supply of water for China’s farmers poses a rising threat to world food security. China depends on irrigated land to produce 70 percent of the grain for its huge population of 1.2 billion people, but it is drawing more and more of that water to supply the needs of its cities and industries.

70. As rivers run dry and aquifers are depleted, the emerging water shortages could sharply raise China’s demand for grain imports.

71. The decline in China’s capacity to irrigate its crops is coming at a time when depleted world grain stocks are near an all time low.

72. Low income countries with growing grain deficits may not be able to pay higher prices. For the 1.3 billion of the world’s people who live on $1 a day or less, higher grain prices could quickly become life-threatening.

73. SINCE MID-CENTURY, the population of China has grown by nearly 700 million—an increase almost equivalent to adding the whole population of the world at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Most of that population has concentrated in the region through which several great rivers, including the Yellow and the Yangtze, flow. Those rivers provide the irrigation water needed to grow much of the food for China, as well as the water for its cities and industries.

74. The dependence of China on a few rivers has placed a growing burden on the region’s land and water resources, because the Chinese population has not been able to expand into new land the way the Americans once did with their westward expansion into the Great Plains and California. In China, the western half of the country is mostly desert or mountains.

75. The concentration of Chinese population, industry, and agriculture has been roughly equivalent to squeezing the entire U.S. population into the region east of the Mississippi, then multiplying it by five.

76. A quarter-century ago, with more and more of its water being pumped out for the country’s multiplying needs, the Yellow River began to falter. In 1972, the water level fell so low that for the first time in China’s long history it dried up before reaching the sea. It failed on 15 days that year, and intermittently over the next decade or so. Since 1985, it has run dry each year, with the dry period becoming progressively longer. In 1996, it was dry for 133 days. In 1997, a year exacerbated by drought, it failed to reach the sea for 226 days. For long stretches, it did not even reach Shandong Province, the last province it flows through a route to the sea.

77. Shandong, the source of one-fifth of China’s corn and one-seventh of its wheat, depends on the Yellow River for half of its irrigation water. Although it is perhaps the most visible manifestation of water scarcity in China, the drying-up of the Yellow River is only one of many such signs.

78. The Huai, a river situated between the Yellow and Yangtze, was drained dry in 1997, and failed to reach the sea for 90 days. Satellite photographs show hundreds of lakes disappearing and local streams going dry in recent years, as water tables fall and springs cease to flow.

79. The Fen river in China that runs through Taiyuan, the capital city of Shanxi province, no longer exists. The major river in the province, and the lifeline of Taiyuan, was emptied to fuel the city’s coal industry. Big industrial wells driven more than 300 feet, and sometimes as much as 2,500 feet into the ground, tap Taiyuan’s last remaining groundwater resources. This city of 2 million has come to the stage in which they either shift the population or divert water from the Yellow River, more than 200 milesaway.

80. As water tables have fallen, millions of Chinese farmers are finding their wells pumped dry.

81. In the geography of water, there are two Chinas. The humid South includes the vast Yangtze River and a population of 700 million. The arid North includes the Yellow, Liao, Hai, and Huai Rivers, and growing.

82. ALTHOUGH 70 PERCENT OF THE GRAIN produced in China comes from irrigated land, the country is seeing its irrigation supply depleted on three fronts: the diversion of water from rivers and reservoirs to cities; the depletion of underground supplies in aquifers; and the increasing pollution caused by rapid industrialization.

83. Politically, it is difficult for any government to deny people water for their showers and toilets, if they can afford to buy it.

84. Economically, farms can’t compete with factories for water. As competition among farms, homes, and industries intensifies, farms inevitably lose out.

85. Of China’s 617 largest cities, 300 are already facing water shortages. In those areas of North China where all available water is being used, these shortfalls can be filled only by diverting water from agriculture.

86. In the spring of 1994, farmers in the region surrounding Beijing were denied access to reservoirs, their traditional source of irrigation water, because all the water was needed to satisfy the city’s burgeoning demand. That established a pattern for water-stressed cities all over the North China Plain.

87. A thousand tons of water produces one ton of wheat, which has a market value of $400, whereas the same amount of water used in industry yields an estimated $14,000 of output—70 times as much.

88. While farmers are losing out to cities and industries politically, they are also losing ground hydrologically. As the demand for underground water increases over time, the pumping eventually surpasses the natural recharge of the aquifer, which comes from precipitation in the upstream portion of the watershed. After this “sustainable yield threshold” is passed, the water table starts to fall. If demand continues to climb, the excess of pumping over the sustainable yield of the aquifer widens each year. As a result, the distance the water table falls increases each year. Once the aquifer is depleted, the amount of water pumped is limited to the rate of recharge. It cannot be otherwise. If the pumping has been taking place at double the recharge when depletion occurs, then thepumping will be cut by half. If pumping has been five times the recharge, it will be cut by four fifths. Under the North China Plain, if the water table is falling 1.5 meters per year, then the pumping could easily be occurring at double the recharge rate. And if it is, the time will come when the amount of water pumped in this wheat and corn belt will be necessarily cut by half.

89. When farmers lose irrigation water, they either revert to dryland (rain-fed) farming if rainfall is sufficient or they abandon the land if it is not. For China, most of the land will simply revert to dryland agriculture. The yield will then decline by about one-half to two-thirds.

90. There are 50,000 kilometers of major rivers in China, and, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 80 percent of them are so degraded they no longer support fish. As a result of toxic discharge from cities and upstream enterprises, which include such highly polluting industries as paper mills, tanneries, oil-refineries and chemical plants, the Yellow River water is now loaded with heavy metals and other toxins that make it unfit even for irrigation, much less for human consumption, along much of its route.

91. Water pollution horror stories abound throughout China as farmers—for want of a cleaner source— irrigate with heavily polluted water. In Shanxi province, in the Yellow River watershed, rice has been found to contain excessive levels of chromium and lead, and cabbage is laced with cadmium. Along the length of the Yellow River, abnormally high rates of mental retardation, stunting, and developmental diseases are linked to elevated concentrations of arsenic and lead in the water and food.

92. As industrialization outpaces pollution control, more and more river water is rendered unsuitable for irrigation. In the heavily industrialized, heavily populated Yangtze valley, it may not be the diversion of water to industry that most threatens agriculture, but the pollution of water by industry, which renders it unsuitable for irrigation to begin with.

93. Water crisis in the Middle East is an ancient and a regional problem. More than 3000 years ago, the Old Testament highlights quarrels between Isaac and the Philistine shepherds about well rights. All ancient cultures were developed along the three major river systems — the Nile, the Euphrates, and the Tigris — and along the small rivers like the Jordan.

94. Center for Strategic and International Studies predicts that water, and not oil, will become a dominant subject of conflict in the middle east. Rapidly growing populations, ambitious development programs, and prolonged droughts have accelerated this transformation.

95. There are rich water sources in Turkey, and a number of other countries, in particular Syria and Iraq, are dependent on this water. This is the reason that large, regional-scale projects have been suggested, such as the ‘Peace Pipe’ that would aim to carry water from east Turkey to the western area of Saudi Arabia. It is also the reason that Israel is considering importing water from Turkey through the Mediterranean Sea.

96. Physical geography and average annual rainfall are certainly the major factors controlling the water resources of Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. The three major water bodies are the Dead Sea and the Lake of Galilee (Tiberias) in the Dead Sea Rift at the eastern boundary of Israel, and the Mediterranean Sea at the western boundary. The coastal area adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of central Israel, which are the major groundwater aquifers, are also shown, as well as both the desert areas and the rainy zones in Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. Low average precipitation indicates that a water crisis is almost inevitable, and the climatic zones indicate that the only way to live in the desert is to transfer water from north to south in Israel.

97. The scarcity of water in the Jordan River (annual discharge approximately 600 million cubic metres) and in the Yarmuk River(annual discharge approximately 500 million cubic metres) systems has made water supply a strategic issue for Israel, which led to the development of the Johnson Plan (1956), which followed the ‘Water War’ between Israel and Syria in the 1950s

98. A map of groundwater basins and groundwater recharge in Israel indicates that the importantaquifers are Kinneret, and the coastal and mountain aquifers. Fossil water is also common for most of the southern aquifers in Jordan, and a few minor ones in southern Israel. Since the rainy winter of 1992, the water level in the aquifers has dropped down even below the red lines, a fact that endangers water quality

99. The water crisis in Israel is being caused by a depletion of water reservoirs, associated with water-quality deterioration, which is endangering the water supply. According to an Israeli parliamentary investigation committee, the water crisis in Israel is a result of over 30 years of overpumping, and the management of the water resources without a clear, sustainable policy.

100. In September 2006, the water crisis in Jeddah, in Saudia Arabia reached a peak as many people, Saudis and expatriates, were obliged to welcome the holy month of Ramadan without water. Hundreds of people thronged the water distribution center in order to get coupons for tankers. The crisis created a black market in which water was sold at more than SR500 per tanker. Normally, the cost of a tanker is about SR115.

Última edición por Dr. Doom el Dom Jun 27, 2010 6:16 pm, editado 1 vez (Razón : agregar link)

Unless we change direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed
-Chinese Proverb

“The masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim”. Gustave Le Bon;”The Crowd”
Dr. Doom

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