Saturday, August 19, 2006

H2O - A disaster coming to a city near you soon.

This article predicts the return of cholera to London, the mass migration of Africans leading to civil unrest in Europe and a crash of the chinese economy as limited fresh water supplies become critical. All possibly in just 9 years time. Analysts for the corporations including Shell and Coca-Cola are worried that water demand will reach critical levels in the next 20 years.

Globally, water usage has increased by six times in the past 100 years and will double again by 2050, driven mainly by irrigation and demands of agriculture. Some countries have already run out of water to produce their own food. ....The corporations were yesterday joined by the conservation group WWF and the International Water Management Institute which said water scarcity was increasing faster than expected. In China, authorities had begun trucking in water to millions of people after wells and rivers ran dry in the east of the country..........

In a further paper, WWF said yesterday that water crises, long seen as a problem of only the poorest, are affecting the wealthiest nations. "In Europe, countries along the Atlantic are suffering recurring droughts, while water-intensive tourism and irrigated agriculture are endangering water resources in the Mediterranean. In Australia, salinity is a major threat to a large proportion of its key agricultural areas", said Jamie Pittock, director of WWF's freshwater programme......

By 2010, 22 megacities with populations larger than 10 million face major water and sewerage problems. The situation is gravest in China, where 550 of the country's 600 largest cities are running short. Growing demand for water by industry leads to serious over-exploitaion with less and less water available for consumers and farmers.... Waves of immigrants flood in to Europe from increasingly drought-torn Africa............

Water becomes a key symbol of protest around the world and is seen as the most serious social and political issue of the generation. By 2015, multinational companies are accused regularly of taking too much water in developing countries, cholera breaks out in London, and governments start to use water as a form of social control, subsidising some sectors and rationing it to others. Great floods follow each other in quick succession. Deforestation leads to massive mudslides in Asia and increasing flooding affects Europe, damaging industry."

Note how, whilst the article briefly describes droughts in Africa, the focus is on us poor unfortunates who live in the west. WE will have to cope with 'civil unrest' and 'mass migration' as well as shortage of the wet stuff for our manicured lawns and golf courses. The fact is that civil unrest is rampant throughout most of Africa and that boatloads of desperate refugees are already being intercepted in rickety vessels on their way to Spain. Yet we do not acknowledge this plight and portray it as a danger to us from these coloured alien masses, who would take away our standard of living. Cholera is a part of daily life in Africa and parts of Asia, yet it is only news when London is in danger. Europe, the mediterranean, the countries of the Atlantic ocean and Australia are the area's of concern, because thats where we rich and mostly white people live. Anything that concerns us or has consequences on our wealth has to be considered. Note that the deforestation leading to mudslides in Asia affects Europe too and 'damages industry'.

We have betrayed Africa and the third world for too long. Only now that the chickens are coming home to roost are we waking up and saying 'gosh this could be awful'. I question the motive of the corporations for producing this kind of report. Obviously they are considering their own medium/long term survival, but is it also a call to do something about the third world? One fears that in fact this is just a warning for the rich to grab as many water resources as they can by force and to develop their own fresh water desalination plants, before it is too late. What will they do about the predicted waves of mass migration? I suspect it will be business as before with border guards being more ruthless with these pesky invaders.


Anonymous Michael Hardiman said...

In Brazil we use water very freely, we have the biggest supply of it anywhere. However, even though the place where I live is one which gets 6 months of heavy rain per year we are seeing the effects of increased construction on the land where trees should grow and therefore hold water inside them and the soil.
I often think Brazil will be like Iraq in the future, getting attacked by superpowers who need our water to maintain their 'way of life'.
Maybe, faced with the need to keep their kids alive, even the good guys will support the wars.
Great blog too!

2:53 PM  
Blogger Kebz said...

Cheers Michael,
The deforestation is a big worry for me. The reckless destruction of our earth lungs must have consequences and these have already begun. Maybe there will be a bigger emphasis on technological solutions that limit the fresh water wars but as it always it will be too little and too late. Most governments think geostrategically to conquer resources as and when needed within the limits of their abilities. This is bound to lead to greater potential for conflicts. Ultimately it will be an even more dangerous and volatile world that our children will have to cope with. I just hope that enough of us can teach our kids the values that reject violence, warfare and greed.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous dan said...

Not sure about Brazil Michael, I have read about potential drying as a consequence of warming in South America.
Syndicated from the Independent.

Watchout Canada, that Southern border won't mean much when they want your lakes.

10:07 PM  

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