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Climate Change and Its Effects on Water Quality and Quantity:


Climate Change and Its Effects on Water Quality and Quantity: The Escalating Need for Conflict Management Introduction There is a growing likelihood that the number ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Climate Change and Its Effects on Water Quality and Quantity:

Climate Change and Its Effects onWater Quality
and Quantity  The Escalating Need for Conflict
  • There is a growing likelihood that the number and
    frequency of trans-national conflicts over shared
    water resources will increase in the near future.
  • This likelihood may be exacerbated by the impacts
    of global climate change.

Global Water Shortages
  • To understand the nature of the crisis, it is
    essential to understand that very little of the
    earths water is available for use by all of the
    species that inhabit the planet.
  • 70 of the earths surface is covered by water.
  • However, 97 of the worlds water is saline.
  • Of the remaining 3, 75 locked-up in glaciers
    and ice.
  • 25 may be available.

  • Of the 25 that is available
  • 0.03 is in rivers
  • 0.06 is in soils
  • 0.3 is in lakes
  • 11 is in shallow groundwater (lt 2500 foot
  • 14 is in deep groundwater (gt 2500 foot depth)

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  • Two primary reasons for the pending global water
    shortage Growth of demand and reduction of
  • Growth of demand 

  • Population growth Since 1950, renewable water
    supplies per capita have fallen 50 due entirely
    to population growth.
  • Increasing per capita demand, especially in
    urbanizing areas.
  • Per capita consumption
  • US 1,700 meters3/year (1,230 gallons/day )
  • Domestic water use in US approximately 176
  • Canada higher at 209 gallons/day

  • Per capita consumption (continued)
  • Europe 1,300 meters3/year (940 gallons/day)
  • Africa 250 meters3/year
  • Domestic water use
  • Mozambique 3 gallons/day
  • Ghana 9 gallons/day
  • Since 1940, per capita consumption in Africa has
    increased faster than population.

  • Increasing industrial use - need for economic
  • Increasing irrigated agriculture, especially in
    parts of world where water supplies may already
    be inadequate.
  • Reduction of Supplies
  • Contamination of existing supplies (especially
    ground water)
  • Mining of ground water (utilization of fossil
    ground water)

  • Reduction of Supplies (continued)
  • Climate change - present global warming models
    indicate likelihood of
  • Significant reduction of water supplies in areas
    which have had abundant supplies
  • Less rainfall, need for more intensive
    irrigation, potential for conflicts between users

  • Future shortages
  • By 2025, 48 countries expected to face water
    supply shortages
  • 19 will be water stressed annual water supplies
    of between 1,700 and 1,000 meters3/person
  • 29 will be water scarce annual water supplies of
    less than 1,000 meters3/person
  • Total population total of 2.8 billion people (35
    of projected world population) will live under
    water short conditions.

  • World Bank study
  • Child born in 1960 in North Africa - available
    water supply approximately 3,430 meters3/person
  • When child reaches 65 years old in 2025 -
    available water supply will be approximately 667
  • Reduction of approximately 80

  • By 2050
  • 54 countries expected to face water shortages
  • Total population of 4 billion people (40 of
    projected world population) will live under water
    short conditions

  • From Postel Wolf, Dehydrating Conflict, Foreign
    Policy, October/November (2001).

Strategic Implications
  • 1998 Johns Hopkins study A water-short world
    is an inherently unstable world.
  • Potential for conflict National
  • Situation chronic water shortages in different
    areas of a single country
  • China chronic water shortages throughout the
    northern part of the country
  • India 19 major Indian cities face chronic water

  • Potential for conflict National (continued)
  • Trigger Reduced supplies to downstream areas of
    over-utilized rivers
  • July 2000 police and farmers clashed in Chinese
    province of Shandong over plans to reallocate
    irrigation supplies
  • Lower Indus conflict between Punjab and Sind
    provinces over water has been ongoing

  • Potential for conflict National (continued)
  • Areas where conflict potential greatest
  • Asia (60 of world population, 36 of renewable
    supplies of freshwater, heavily dependent on
    irrigation, future municipal supplies likely to
    come from irrigation water supplies)
  • China, India, Iran and Pakistan (increasing
    depletion of groundwater, reduced or increasingly
    variable surface water flows, buildup of salts in
    soils, zero-sum game in water management)

  • Potential for conflict International
  • Situation Nearly 100 countries share just 13
    major rivers and lakes
  • In Africa alone there are some 50 rivers that are
    shared by two or more countries
  • Some 261 rivers cross international boundaries
  • These shared watersheds contain 60 of the
    worlds renewable supplies of freshwater
  • These watersheds also contain approximately 40
    of the global population

  • Potential for conflict International
  • Triggers
  • unilateral action to change the hydrology of a
    trans-national water resources
  • existing international institutions unable to
    respond to the change
  • conflict potential is greatest if both are
  • greater the size of the unilateral action,
    greater the potential for conflict

  • Potential for conflict International
  • Postel and Wolf A unilateral action affecting
    other countries is highly destabilizing to a
    region, often spurring decades of hostility
    before cooperation is pursued.
  • During the 20th century, there were 37 recorded
    incidents regarding water supplies where dams
    have been destroyed, shots have been fired or
    there has been some other form of military action.

  • Potential for conflict International
  • Proposed diversions from the headwaters of the
    Jordan River resulted in armed clashes between
    Syria and Israel between March of 1965 and July
    of 1966
  • Indias rechanneling of the Ganges resulted in
    reduced flows in Bangladesh and 20 years of
    intermittent hostility (also included increased
    immigration from Bangladesh to India)

  • Potential for conflict International
  • Potential for conflict is greatest wherever there
    are shared water resources, such as the Salween
  • Arises in China, flows into Myanmar, then into
  • Each country has water development plans
  • Plans are not mutually compatible
  • No institutional capacity to resolve the conflict
  • Postel and Wolf 51 countries sharing 17 river
    basins on 5 continents are spiraling toward
    water disputes

  • From Postel Wolf, Dehydrating Conflict, Foreign
    Policy, October/November (2001).

The Escalating Need for Conflict Management
  • At both the national and the international
    levels, there will be increasing conflict among
    different water users.
  • Such conflicts are never resolved.
  • The need is for conflict management.
  • Four key components 

  • Four key components (continued)
  • 1. Reduction of demand
  • More efficient use of water resources (improved
    irrigation systems, municipal and industrial
    systems designed to minimize water requirements)
  • Population stabilization

  • Four key components (continued)
  • 2. Increase of supply
  • Potential for desalinization (but must consider
    energy costs and waste disposal issues)
  • Climate change may make additional water supplies
    available in some parts of the world

  • Four key components (continued)
  • 3. Recognition and control of the
  • destabilizing impacts of unilateral actions.
  • World Bank funding policies (also regional
    development banks)
  • Dialogue among stakeholders (sustainable water
    management and best practices, Switzerland, April
  • Political pressure and economic incentives
  • Economic development initiatives

  • Four key components (continued)
  • 4. Development of new multilateral
  • institutions
  • 1997 Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigable
    Uses of International Watercourses
  • Incorporated concept of equitable utilization
    of shared water resources
  • Based in part on the equitable apportionment
    decisions of the United States Supreme court

  • Development of new multilateral institutions
  • (continued)

  • Four key components (continued)
  • 4. Development of new multilateral
  • institutions
  • Utton Center at the University of New Mexico
    (October 2002 conference to begin the process of
    drafting a model ground water agreement)
  • Similar American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Neutral Corner at the University of Dundee
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