6GEO3 Unit 3 Contested Planet
Topic 2 Water Conflicts
What is this topic about?
• Water Conflicts is the
second of the ‘resources’
topics
• It examines the range of
conflicts associated with
the supply and demand
patterns of the
fundamental resource of
water.
• Water supplies and quality
vary globally, and actual
and potential conflicts
arise from the gap between
growing demands and
diminishing supplies.
• There are also growing
pressures resulting from
climate change
Mega technological fixes for mega problems
(Hoover Dam, USA) versus Low tech
solutions (Taanka storage of India)
CONTENTS
1.The geography of water supply
2. The risks of water insecurity
3. Water conflicts and the future
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2. The risks of water insecurity
• What are the potential implications of an increasingly ‘water
insecure’ world?
Water supply problems
Increasing water shortages
may be more important
than energy shortagesbecause there is no
alternative!
Water transfers
Of this precious resource by either
diverting the actual river, or using
canals . Long carried out at a small
scale but increasingly over larger
distances, and even transboundary
Water conflicts
Where demand exceeds supply
and no effective management
operates, then there will be
conflicts between the various
players involved
Water geopolitics
The conflicts between nation
states, despite the international
agreement called the Helsinki
Rules designed to create more
equitable use of water extending
across boundaries
1.The geography of water supply and demand
•River systems
transport this
water, often at
continental scale.
•Flows increase
downstream as
tributaries enter.
•Seasonal changes
in temperature can
create distinctive
river regimes.
•The relationship
between water
inputs and outputs
is water balance
Climate
•Climatic zones are critical in determining water
availability
•Equatorial / tropical areas have higher rainfall than
temperate / arctic areas.
•High altitude areas have snowpack water reserves
released in late spring.
•Monsoon areas have one main peak, equatorial areas two
peaks.
• Some tropical areas experience recurring drought
Geology
•Surface drainage occurs on
rocks which are impermeable
such as granite and clay.
•Permeable rocks like
limestone, chalk and some
sandstones store water, called
aquifers.
Physical
influences
on water supply
and scarcity
97.2%
Ocean &
saltwater
Human influences on water supply
and scarcity
• Humans affect the hydrological cycle at
many points of flows and storage:
Land use changes
affect interception +
infiltration + surface
storage;
Eg urbanisation,
deforestation
By Quantity
( adding to or
abstracting) or
Quality(pollution)
Disruption
of water
cycle
•
•
•



•
Flood management +
dam construction affect
channel flow + storage
Water abstraction
affects ground
water storage, and
can create
salinisation and salt
water incursion
•
Blue water flow is the visible part of
the hydrological system: surface flows
and then recharging aquifers
Green water flow is water intercepted,
stores and released by vegetation by
evaporation and transpiration
Grey water is polluted water
Supply can be from:
Surface sources
groundwater sources
In the UK 2/3 of supply is from surface
and 1/3 from groundwater, with
regional variations.
Freshwater is effectively a finite
resource since only about 1% of
freshwater is easily available for human
use.
The water footprint indicates how
much is required by consumers- and in
an increasingly globalised world, the
footprint of someone in a country like
the UK will not be just local as so many
products using water will have been
produced elsewhere!
Some key definitions
Water
shortage
low level of water
supply relative to basic
needs.
•
measured
by annual renewable flows (in cubic metres) per head of
population, or the number of people dependent on each unit of water
Water
stress
often taken as less than
1700m3 per person per
year
•growing conflict between users and competition for water
• declining standards of reliability and service
• harvest failures and food insecurity.
Water
scarcity
supply of water per
person falls below
1000m3/year
•an imbalance of supply
and demand
Domestic
•a high rate of use compared to available supply, especially if the
remaining supply is difficult or costly to tap.
Physical
water
scarcity
reached when 60% of
river flows are diverted
for agricultural,
industrial & municipal
purposes; globally over
75% is now used
Physical water scarcity is shown by:
• Severe environmental degradation
•Declining groundwater and water allocation which favours some groups
over others.
•Arid and semi-arid areas are most at risk
Economic
water
scarcity
when less than 25% of
rivers are used, and
there is abundant
supply potential: water
does not reach the
poorest people
This is often due to political reasons and conflict: easiest to solve by low
technology solutions: small dams, water harvesting from roof tops etc. It is
targeted by NGOs like Water Aid
Water scarcity hotspots
According to the International Water Management
Institute environmental research organisation global
water stress is increasing, and 1/3 rd of all people
face some sort of water scarcity. Agricultural uses
dominate in the growing need for food.
Aral Sea faces environmental
catastrophe, although recent attempts
to reduce impacts of river diversions for
especially cotton production
Egypt imports > 50% of its food because
of physical scarcity
Ogallala aquifer
provides 1/3 all US
irrigation water, but is
seriously depleted: the
water table is dropping
by about 1m/yr.
As a ‘fossil’ reserve,
formed probably from
past glacial meltwater
flows, it is effectively a
finite resource
Severe water scarcity N China,
leading to South North transfer
scheme-see later slide
R Ganges: physical stress from
pollution and over abstraction
Australia; diversion ¼
of all water away
from Murray Darling
Basin for agriculture
Much of sub Saharan Africa suffers
from economic scarcity from
especially poverty but also lack of
infrastructural development . Some
1 bn people involved1
Little/no water scarcity
Physical water scarcity- not necessarily dry areas but those where over 75% river flows are used by agriculture, industry or
domestic consumers
Economic water scarcity- less than 25% rivers used, and abundant supply potential but not reaching the poorest people .
Approaching physical water scarcity – More than 60% river flows allocated, and in the near future these river basins will have
physical scarcity
Water conflicts
Population growth
Consumer demand
Industrial growth
Agricultural demand
DEMANDS?
SUPPLY?
Rising
Diminishing
DIFFERENT
USERS?
Conflicting
demands
•International conflicts i.e. basin crosses
national boundaries
•Internal conflicts ie within a country
•Conservation versus exploitation
Reductions because of:
•Users abstracting/polluting
upstream
•Deteriorating quality
•Impact of climate change
PRESSURE POINT- ie
need for management.
This is shown spatially as
a ‘hotspot’ of conflict,
see map on next slide.
Pressure and hence
tension and conflict may
be over surface flow
and/or groundwater
supplies
Dams and diversions and
loss of wetlands are
particularly contested.
Present and potential water conflict hotspots
•
•
As water supply decreases, tensions will increase as different players try to access common water supplies
Many conflicts are transboundary in nature, either between states or countries
River basins currently in dispute
Tigris-Euphrates
Iraq + Syria concerns that
Turkey’s GAP project will divert
their water
Colorado: disputes
between the 7 US
states and Mexico it
flows through. The
river is so overused,
that it no longer
reaches the sea!.
90% abstracted
before reaches
Mexico
River basins at risk in the future
Large International drainage basins
Ob
Lake
Chad
Mekong
Ganges
Okavango
La Plata
Zambezi
Insert FigureOrange
2.11 page 47
Note: although there have been rising tensions
globally, many areas demonstrate effective
management to diffuse the situation and create
more equitable and sustainable demand-supply
balance, such as the Mekong River Committee,&
the Nile River Initiative
Nile hotly disputed
between Ethiopia and
Sudan ,who control its
headwaters, and Egypt .
The Aral Sea, an
inland drainage basin,
once the world’s 4th
largest inland lake has
shrunk sine the 1950s
after the 2 rivers
feeding it: the Amu
Dayra and Syr Darya
were diverted for
irrigation.
By 2007 the sea was
10% of original volume
and split into 2 lakes.
The ex soviet states
are in conflict:
Uzbekistan ,
Turkmenistan and
Kazakstan.
Hydropolitics and geopolitics
Political negotiations centred on conflicts over the shared use of
water sources
History of hydropolitics
in Nile Basin
•tensions due to the
dominance of Egypt
• civil wars in Sudan
Ethiopia
• tensions from Egypt’s
treaties dating back to the
1929 and 1959 Nile Water
Agreements.
• Upstream states
increasingly challenging
Egypt’s dominance.
•Ethiopia wants to use the
Nile River for HEP plants
and industrial development.
Tech Fix ;
The megaprojects of
dams like Aswan are
famous.
Latest high tech is the
1990sproject called
‘Tecconile’ a joint GIS
system to help monitor
and plan the basin
•The Nile is the world’s longest river , 6,500kms,
2.9km2 catchment,10% of Africa, running through
10 countries with 360 million people depending
on it for survival.
•Growing issues of desertification & salination and
increased evaporation linked to climate change
•About 85 % water originates from Eritrea and
Ethiopia, but 94 % is used by Sudan and Egypt.
Evidence of more effective co-operation
•
The Nile Basin Initiative, system of
cooperative management which started
late 1990s
•
All countries except Eritrea working with
The World Bank and bi-lateral aid donors .
•
Community level involvement .
•
Managers visited Colorado River recently to
see how effectively the 1922 River Water
Compact and its ‘law of the river’ works
•
•
1996 Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the
Waters of International Rivers - regulating
how transboundary rivers and groundwater
are managed
The Nile Basin is an example that ‘Water
Wars’ may be averted
Water transfers- a quick fix?
Receiving area
Source area
Less water
Ecosystem
changes
Pollution
• Leads to reduced use by
locals, may increase poverty
• Degradation/ destruction
• Less functioning
• Less productive
More water
Development
demands
• Solves existing demand
• leads to greater use
• Rising megacities and Industrial growth
• tourism especially golf courses
• Improved human health
• Encourages unsustainable irrigated farming by agribusiness
Agricultural
• Less dilution
• More concentration of
pollutants
• More silt
demands
Pollution
Examples of existing schemes
International
Lesotho to South Africa:
Lesotho Highlands Water
Project
Turkey to Israel by tanker
National:
Snowy Mountains-Australia
Melamchi Nepal
Tagus-Mercia Spain
• Pollution from nitrate eutrophication and salination
• Transfers pollution from original river to new location
• Ecosystem destruction
Proposed schemes
International
Turkey to Israel undersea
pipelines
Austrian Alps to Spain +
Greece by pipeline
National:
South-North transfer- China
Ebro -Spain
Ob to the Aral Sea
NAWAPA Alaska to California
Mega Tech Fixes: China’s South–North water transfer
Demand from industrial centres, high population density and intensive agriculture. Low
rainfall and over abstracted groundwater: physical scarcity
Externalities
•Industrial growth
along routeways
will exacerbate
existing pollution
problems
•Changes in water
balances: reduced
water in Yangtze
means less
dilution and more
pollution
• Displaced
people especially
from Dang Jiang
Kou dam ......
Western
Routes
Work starts
2010, at
high
altitude,
very difficult
500kms at 35000m
above sea
level
Central routes
1267 km diversion. May
have to use some water
from 3 Gorges reservoir
to help
Beijing
Tianjin
Eastern
Route
1,155km
long
diversion
Yellow
River
CHINA
Shanghai
Yangtze River
0 mls 250
Originally planned 1952, started 2002 ,due to finish 2050. Chief player:
Government sponsored ‘South to North Water Transfer Project Company,
with each province having a local water company. Involves huge civil
engineering works, 3 major canals, pipelines, tunnels, pumping stations
South China
Sea
One of the
largest
water
transfers
globally.
Aim: to divert
45bn m3/year
from the
water surplus
river basins of
the S and E
to the water
deficit areas
of the North,
especially
Beijing and
Tianjin
Water issues in the Middle East
In the Northern
region: Turkey is in
dispute with Syria
and Iraq over
damming more of the
Tigris and Euphrates
river
In the Western
Region: Israelis,
Syrians,
Jordanians and
Lebanese are all in
dispute over
shrinking water
supplies
A contributory factor
to the 1967 ArabIsraeli war
Water storage is in 3
huge aquifers under
the Israeli
mountains and
coastal strip and the
R Jordan
The Aral Sea, on the boundary of the Middle East
and Asia is suffering from over abstraction and
pollution
•
•
•
•
There are
significant
disputes over
access to water
already in this area
The combination
of a growing
population and low
seasonal rainfall
are the main
causes.
Is the energy
dependent
technological fix of
desalination the
answer?
Photo of a plant in
Dubai
3. Water conflicts and the future
What are the possible conflicts and solutions to increasing demands for water?
This section looks at 4 themes, and the table below summarises three scenarios for the future
1.
2.
3.
4.
Trends in water demand globally and locally
Water players
Responses to need to increasing water supply and the issues these strategies raise
The role of technology in water supply
Business as
usual
The cost of water will increase
Water consumption will increase resulting in declining stores
Food transfers will mitigate shortage of water in areas where agriculture declines
Water Crisis
Demand will outstrip supply
The proportion of the world’s population without access to clean water will
increase
Food insecurity and migration will increase
Conflicts of water supplies (intra and inter state) become more likely
Sustainable
Water
Agricultural and household water prices will double in the developed world and
triple in the developing world
Global water consumption will fall, although the gap between per capita use will
close
Green water flows will increase
Improvements in water harvesting and farming techniques allow food yields to
increase whilst water consumption declines
From: 2002 International Food Policy and Research Institute future models
World Water Days- trying to be more
sustainable?
•
•
•
•
The importance of water in managing global issues is
shown by the profile given to it by the UN:
It declared 2005 to 2015 as the International Decade for
Action, "Water for Life”.
Every year on March 22nd the UN gives a theme to
publicise current issues. 2010 World Water Day:
dedicated to the theme of water quality.
Such global action is rooted in the iconic Earth Summit
on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de
Janeiro in 1992, and the creation of Agenda21 (the
Blueprint for planet management at global scale)and
Local Agenda 21( global problems, local action)
Previous Themes for World Water
Days
•
2009 Transboundary water
•
2008 Sanitation
•
2007 Coping with water scarcity
•
2006 Water and Culture
•
2005 Water for Life
•
2004: Water and Disasters
•
2003: Water for the Future
•
2002: Water for Development
•
2001: Water and Health
UN MDG TARGET set in 2000: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without
sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
The world is ahead of schedule in meeting the 2015 drinking water target.
Yet a number of countries face an ‘uphill battle’: 884 million people still rely on unimproved
water sources for their drinking, cooking, bathing and other domestic activities.
Of these, almost 85 % (746 million people) live in rural areas.
1990 to 2006, 1.1 billion people in the developing world received access to toilets, latrines and
other forms of improved sanitation.
But this leaves 1.4 billion people still needing such facilities if the 2015 target is to be met.
Water Players and decision makers
•
•
•
Different players have conflicting views on water insecurity
One player may have quite complex views; most Governments will have departments
wanting conservation as opposed to development
You need to identify the ‘stakeholders’ in any particular case study, and then the role of
the ‘gatekeepers’ who wield power. The next slide shows a classification of players
Political: water is
a human need
•International
organisations e.g.
UN
•Government
•Regional & local
councils
•Lobbyists &
pressure groups
Economic
•International:
World Bank & IMF
•TNCs and
developers
•Businesses and
users
Photograph of Aral Sea
with grounded tanker
Social: water is a human right
•Individuals
•Residents
•Consumers land owners, health
officials, NGOs like Water Aid
Environmental
•Conservationists
•Scientists &
planners
Classifying the water players
Political
Global
Economic
Local
Individual
Environmental
World Bank funds megaprojects to improve supply. Has become more environmentally
conscious. This group also has businesses and TNCs
UN Millenium Development Goal called The Water Target:"Halve, by 2015, the proportion of
people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation "
World Health Organisation
G8 Summits : 2002 Evian action Plan, focus on
water, and 2009 L’Aquila summit increased aid to
poorer countries to help MDGs, + highlighted need
for more integrated management
National
Social
Government owned water
companies, eg China
TNCs (Viendi and
Suez RWE which
owns Thames
Water, American
Water Works
Companies
providing
technological fixes
The role of NGOs
such as Water Aid
or GLOWS has been
crucial in managing
water supplies
Countries such as
India, have
mounted successful
massive communityled campaigns on
things like
elimination of open
defecation
Government
Health Agencies
from national to
local scale
6.9 billion consumers
WWF and
Friends of the
Earth campaign for
full Environmental
Impact Assessments
of major projects
likely to damage
the environment
This group will
include many
scientists and
researchers
At a local scale
NIMBY groups will
campaign
Responses: Management strategies
•
•
•
Water conflicts can be managed in a range of different ways
There is a spectrum of different management strategies
Some are sustainable as they balance ecological and human needs
Strategies rely on technology?
What is
Sustainability?
Millennium
Ecosystem
Assessment
definition:
A characteristic or
state whereby the
needs of the present
and local population
can be met without
compromising the
ability of future
generations or
populations in other
locations to meet their
needs.
Present
policies
Driven by
short term
economic +
political
concerns
Often do not
include
science and
effective
technology
Obstacles to sustainable
management
•Climate change uncertainty and
effects
•Natural variability of water
•Pressures caused by human
activities and rapid growth of
transition economies towards a
consumerist society
•Increased water demands
•Gross inefficiencies in use
•Poor existing quality of supply
across huge areas of world
•Funding
•Access to appropriate technology
Future policies?
Longer term?
Need more
research,
information and
monitoring
especially on
aquifers in
developing
countries
More
partnerships?
More community
involvement?
More
accountable?
Low tech solutions to water :
a case study
•
•
•
•
•
Water
management
often focuses on
large scale,
technologically
advanced megaprojects
These often have
complex costs and
benefits
Water
conservation and
restoration of
supply have a role
Small scale,
bottom-up
schemes are likely
to be important in
the developing
world
However, unless
duplicated on
large scale may
be ineffective for
longer term
economic growth
The problem: The River WAKAL area of Rajasthan in NW India is one of
the driest and poorest areas in India. Subsistence agriculture dominates.
96% of rainfall is from the 3-4 month monsoon (late June through
September.) and the traditional methods of using groundwater and
conserving surface water are falling short of demands
A solution? Basic technology and
information is channelled through the NGO:
GLOWS( global water for sustainability
project) a partnership between World Vision
India and Florida International University.
Methods:
1. Increasing simple low tech appropriate
and intermediate solutions to increase
storage:
•Increased rainwater harvesting
•Improved storage system at a family scale:
Taankas: 3 m in diameter , 3-4 m deep,
most below land level with a side opening to
allow surface flow in. They store about
20,000litres, and once full provide water for
a family until next monsoon.
2. Using colourful drama performed by
trained locals to villagers to illustrate the
advantages of working cooperatively with
other families and villages to reduce
desertification and pollution of ground water
by since aquifers are shared-if an unseen
resource! (see photgraph)
Changes: Traditional low tech
methods of water conservation.:
stone dams, Persian water
wheels and tube wells- but
cannot cope with increased
demand and increased droughts
Hard and soft management
How to meet the challenge of the need for more water?
Traditional ‘hard’ engineering
•
Dams; currently 845000 of which 5000 classed as
megadams. The aim is to increase natural storage
capacity by artificial reservoirs. Rivers most at risk at
present: Yangtze, Amazon, Danube and many in the
Himalayas
• Channels, seen in most arid/semi arid countries
whatever their economic status, eg Jonglei Canal on
Nile
• Pipelines eg Australia and California Aqueduct and
snowy Mountains scheme Australia
• Desalination plants eg in Middle East
• Recharging schemes for depleted aquifers, eg North
London Artificial recharge Scheme and Long Island New
York hard technologies
Newer
•Tankers to transport water eg turkey to israel
•Osmosis membranes filtering salt from
brackish water eg Israel (the Ashkelon plant
produces 15% of domestic demand). Also in
California, Spain and China
•Fertigation: fertilser and water drip feeding of
crops, as in Israel
Softer more environmentally and
ethically responsible
approaches
•
•
•
•
Water conservation eg targeted drip
irrigation on plants in Ethiopia,
includes water harvesting
Water restoration eg Northern Aral
Sea, and on smaller scale river
Colne in UK
Integrated drainage basin
management , especially if bottom
up and community involved.
The 4 Rs: ie an attitudinal fix:
Reduce, Respect, Reuse, Renew.....
Specific Technologies seen as
appropriate /intermediate with less
negative externalities
•Water harvesting of grey water eg Belize
•Micro dams serving villages eg Nepal
•Water meters to reduce use eg UK
•Composting latrines – seen in National Trust
properties in UK to Mumbai slums!
Water Conflicts overview
Water Resources
•
•


•
•
•
•
Water like energy is a fundamental need but not
evenly distributed
Factors influencing geography of supply:
Physical-surface, groundwater, desalinisation
Human: demand, management, mismanagement
Increasing demand not matched by supply= WATER
GAP
Implications for human well being- which is why it
is named in the MDGs
Demand from various users
Water resources are often transboundary
Water Conflict
•
•
•
•
•
Potential conflicts=high both local & international
Resource use often exceeds recharge capacity
leading to long term degradation
Future is in doubt because of unsustainable use+
climate change
Vulnerable populations most at risk
Management strategies to ensure supply require
cooperation of many different players = changes in
way water is valued & used
Water Futures
Water stress and scarcity are projected to increase
because:
•Climate change will make some areas more arid and
rainfall more unreliable
•Glacial water sources will reduce due to climate
change
•Unsustainable use of some supplies will decrease
their quality and quantity
•Demand will rise due to population and economic
growth
•Water wars will lead to winners and losers in water
supply
Therefore, there are alternative futures –
It all depends on the decisions the players make....
and climate change, population trends, energy
security, superpower politics, bridging the
development gap etc…
22
Synopticity-Water-Energy
• Energy and Water: Solving Both Crises Together:
• Water and energy are the two most fundamental ingredients of modern
civilization
• We consume massive quantities of water to generate energy, and we
consume massive quantities of energy to deliver clean water
• Peak Oil is topical. Peak Water or ‘Blue Gold’ is less thought about.
There are tensions between the two:
water restrictions
are hampering
solutions for
generating more
energy
energy problems,
particularly rising
prices, are curtailing
efforts to supply
more clean water.
• An issue in energy rich states ,which are semi arid/arid: to sell cheap
oil or keep to power desalinisation plants
• Water is needed to generate energy. Energy is needed to deliver
water. Both resources are limiting the other—and both may be running
short. Is there a way out?
23
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Support and guidance - Unit 3, topic 2 : Water Conflicts