Water Conflicts

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  • Created by: Rachel
  • Created on: 16-01-13 18:16

Where does our water come from? PART 1

Water is continuously recycled withing the hydrological cycle around the world. 

  • Percolation is the slow movement of mositure through soil.
  • Infiltration is the movement of moisture from the surface to the soil. 
  • Surface runoff if water travelling across the grounds surface.
  • Overland flow is water travelling over land. 
  • Groundwater flow is flows of water below the grounds surface. This includes Infiltration and percolation.
  • Transpiration is when plants evaporate moisture.
  • Evaporation is when water becomes watervapour.
  • Condensation is when water vapour becomes a liquid.
  • Interception is when trees, plants, leaves stops water from reaching the ground (most cases, the water is absorbed by the vegetation.

Too much evaporation can lead to droughts; can cause water stores to decrease.
Surface runoff can lead to the higher chance of flooding. Surfaces such as concrete can lead to high surface runoff and storms/amount of rainfall can effect the surface runoff.

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Where does our water come from? PART 2

  • Factors that Contrbute to the varying access to water:
    • Wealth; development, Amount of resources and technology.
    • Physical; weather conditions, farming.
    • (Topography/climate)
    • War/conflict
    • Political barriers, laws
    • Pollutions; industry/ development
    • Education.

Annual rainfall in some countries is inconsistent and therefore can be a problem. 

  • Drainage Basin: Is the area drained by a river and all of its tributaries.
    • Can build within a drainage basin but it would be at risk of flooding; flood plains.
    • Has a river running through the middle of the basin.
    • Water from rain that falls into a particular are would finally run/drain into that areas particular river. 
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Decreasing water quantity and quality

Physical water scarcity: when there is no water source (no rivers, lack of rainfall) to meet the demand.

Economic water scarcity: can not afford to provide water to meet the demand. The majority of areas who are economically unable to access water are in Africa; this means that something (by other countries) can be done to solve it.

Water scarcity: is when a country has less than 1000m3 per person per year.

Water Stress: when shortage of water leads to the demand for water exceeding the amount available during a certain period. Where a country's water consumption is more than 10% of its renewable water supply is under stress. 

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Control of Water Access

The water price in countries such as the USA and the UK is much lower compared to poorer countries in the world such as Ghana and Colombia. This is because water is much more valuable in poorer nations because the access to a clean water supply is poor. 

Millenium Development goals was established in 2000: aims to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water. 

WPI: Water Poverty Index shows the relationship between physical availablity of water, ease of abstraction abd level of welfare. It is a mechanism to prioritise water needs and for monitoring progress in the water sector. Designed to help improve the situation for the 1-2 billion people facing poor water endowments and adaptive capacity.

In Pakistan the cost of water is next to nothing compared to street vendors who charge 7.38US$/m3 compared to the 0.11 for domestic use. However, not all homes have water pumped into their home and so they have no choice but to go to a vendor who can afford to charge what they like.

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Water Facts

  • Canada has 2,892km3 of surface water available compared to Ethiopia which only has 110km3 of surface water. 
  • Eithopia's population is twice of Canada's:
    • Eithopia is 62.9 million.
    • Canada is 30 million.
  • Eithopia uses 93% of its water for agriculture: they are a low developed country. 
  • Canada has complete access to improved water. 
  • Eithopia only has 24% access to improved safe water. 
  • Canada is much more developed that Eithopia who completely depend on their water for agriculture, Canada is more industrial and has complete access to water yet they use very little of it. 
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The Key players in Water

  • World Trade Organisation and TNCs:
    • Many developing Countries benefit from international aid to improve their water provision. 
    • The WTO is now encouraging countries to open up their economies to private investement, in return for debt relief. 
    • Water supplies may be improved but the local consumers have to pay for it. Water riots could become a common sight as conflicts arise over the increasing price of water.
  • The United Nations:
    • The UN try to find peaceful solutions when conflicts arise. In 200 the UN Secretary warned that the national rivalries over water could lead to violence. 
    • Conflicts are on the rise over water insecurity. 
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Global scale production systems, allegiances and negotiations, including global governance and agreements. 

Hydropolitics: pressuring organisations, issues of water, organisations such as wateraid.

Helsinki rules: A 1966 legal agreement on the fair use of international waterways, such as rivers used by two countries. The Criteria for water use includes how the water is used by those at the top of the river and how it effects those lower downstream if the water becomes polluted. Other criterias are, Dependancy: Population size, etc. Social and economic needs, efficiency, proir use and natural factors.

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What are the potential implications of a water ins

  • What are the potential implications of a water insecure world?
    • Conflict over rights; access to water, pollution, inequality 
    • Diseases/waterborne
    • Deaths, famines. 
    • Food shortages: crop failure
    • Change in laws: limits on use
    • Recreational change, change in lifestyle: could effect holiday businesses
    • Development gap to increase
  • Water shortages have been predicted to rise by the 2050s especially in Africa and the Middle East who will experience a great shortage.
  • Impacts of management:
    • People become more selfish, potential of flooding homes due to reservoir building.
    • Loss of habitats due to building reservoirs and salt water incursion
    • Conflict between governments: who owns which water source. 
    • Price of water will increase: high costs of trying to conserve water. 
    • New technology developed to create methods of recycling dirty water.  
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China's Water Issues

  • The Yangtze River:
    • Is China's longest river: alimost 1/3 of China's population depends on the river.
    • The river is liable to flooding: in 1935 142,000 people were killed. 
    • The three gorges Dam has seemed to reduce the impact of the Yangtze river.
  • The Yellow River:
    • China's second longest river: its north China's main water source. 
    • However, excess sediment is a big problem: build up of silt causes river to rise. 
    • A rupture to the levees would have distasterous consequences.
    • Due to work over the past 30 years the river no longer reaches the sea and the Yellow river delta now dries up and creates huge dust storms.
    • Due to the overuse of water, the more fertile land does not get enough water.
  • Industrialisation and China's water:
    • Industrialisation has had a huge impact: toxic substances often end up in rivers.
    • Laws to treat waste are not enforced.
    • In Shanxi 80% of water isn't suitable for human use: its population is 33.5 million. 
    • Fishing in regions of China has been eradicated due to the severity of pollution. 
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The Colorado River

  • Colorado River Stakeholders:
    • California: were allocated the largest proportion of water due to large population and greater political power. Since been reduced by new developments and legal challenges.
    • Mexican people: only 10% of the rivers water reaches Mexico so water no longer reaches the sea; this is due to diversion and dams. Water that arrives can't be used for agriculture due to salinity.
    • Environmentalists and recreationalists: use of lakes for recreation increasing; causing concern for environmental groups e.g. heavy use of lake powell by tourists is threatening the lakeshore areas.
    • Indigenous groups: Native Americans have rights to water based on treaties to agreements made between tribes and government in 1880s.
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The Middle East

  • Already a Significant area of conflict
  • West: Israel fought Syria and Palestine for water from the river Jordon and its lakes and aquifers by diverting the water and destroying/bombing any attempts by Syria and Palestine to divert and store water elsewhere. Syria wants to reinstate its borders threatening 25% of Israels water supply. 
  • East: Turkey plans to build dams to store water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This is strongly opposed by Iraq and Syria because it would reduce water supplies and would threaten food production and hold back economic development.
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  • Spain suffers from water scarcity and over abstraction has lead to salt water incursion. Government planned to divert water from ebro to supply the parched southeast, new government cancelled project and replaced it with local and cheaper schemes e.g. desalination projects.
  • FOR: Marketed the southwest of spain as the 'new florida'. Vast tourist developments e.g. golf courses from Alicante to Almeria were to be supplied with ebro water. Ebro scheme seen as the new future for Almeria.
  • AGAINST: environmentalists in the north protested the scheme was a missuse of a scare resource and would drastically impact the ebros delta. The environment minister claimed desalination plants would provide the same amount of water sooner and more cheaply. 
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  • Three Gorges Dam project along the Yangtze river is the world's largest hydroelectric scheme.
  • FOR:
    • Could save 50 million tonnes of coal each year: LINK TO ENERGY SECURITY
    • Serves as flood control so could save lives and cut costs caused by flood damage.
    • Only provides 3% of China's electricity uses
    • Safety risks e.g. from earthquakes, heavy rain and terroism.
    • The dammed water will drown 100,000 hectares of arable land, 13 cities and displace 1.9 million people from their homes. 
    • Pollution: pink river dolphin have become endangered, toxic fumes have blinded monkeys.
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North China

  • North China needs water for agriculture so it is set to be diverted from the south which is rich in water resources.
  • Project involves building dams in 4 major rivers; this will take 50 years and cost $60 billion.
  • Significant ecological and environmental impacts along the water ways are a concern.
  • Pollution is worsening the water quality; Yangtze river pollution is already at alarming levels, Yellow river is also undrinkable, 80% can't be used at all. 
  • Resettlement issues, millions of people will have to be moved away from the sites of dams due to flooding.
  • Some experts fear an ecological disaster.
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