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Blue Gold: A Looming Global Water Crisis? Dr. Julia Brown Department of Geography University of Portsmouth. Overview. 1. Fresh Water Resources. Fresh water as a important resource. Properties of water and different uses. 2. The World Water Crisis? Assess the evidence:
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A Looming Global Water Crisis?
Dr. Julia Brown
Department of Geography
University of Portsmouth.
1. Fresh Water Resources.
2. The World Water Crisis?
Assess the evidence:
3. Water as a Societal Lens.
Chair of the Global Water Partnership reminds us:
“Water is an integral part of the lives and livelihoods of all of us. Our health, our food, our energy security and our environments all depend on investments in water resources management”. (2009).
Lack of water can bring shame and loss of dignity.
Some people have to collect water.
Approximately 1385 million cubic kilometres of water are available on earth.
97% of the water is salt water that can be found mainly in oceans.
Only 2.6% is fresh water that can be used by plants, animals and humans. However, because it is centred in icecaps or nearly 90% of this freshwater is not readily available, in underground groundwater systems.
This leaves just0.014%of the total world’s water supply which can be used for drinking water production.
Water crosses political and international boundaries eg the R. Danube crosses through 17 countries.
3. Many rivers are international rivers.
Important for trade in many areas
In 1986, a fire at Sandoz chemical factory,
Switzerland, saw 30 tons toxic chemicals washed into the River Rhine….turning it red.
Waste: plastics, debris & human waste.
“One person’s consumption of resource units, such as water, fish, or trees, removes units from what is available to others”.
because not all the water will return back into the system, or in a similar state.
Particularly in non-western societies:
In classical mythology, water has been imbued with spiritual qualities - water is represented as a ‘minor’ deity: ‘naiades’ or ‘nymphs’ who inhabit rivers and streams.
Because it is vital for life, water has been imbued with spiritual qualities.
2000 - Mozambique.
UK floods summer 2007: many families in Hull are still in temporary accommodation.
“If you play with water, the water will win and you will come off worse”
“Naturally available water has limits” Agnew and Anderson, 1992.
“For much of the world, atlases no longer tell the truth. Today, dozens of the planet's greatest rivers run dry long before they reach the sea. They include:
R. Oxus once poured into the Aral Sea in Central Asia. Cotton production was very important, esp. in Uzbekistan, but cotton is a thirsty crop.
Now, boats are stranded bydrought in the Aral Sea.
Consumption(withdrawals minus return flows & evaporation).
Without irrigation, agriculture would not be possible in many parts of the world.
Cubic meters of water/kg (av)Beef (grain fed) 15 or moreFresh lamb 10Fresh poultry 3.5-6Cereals 0.6-2.0Soybeans 1-2Palm oil 2Pulses, roots 1
eg. Middle East – Lebanon, Israel and Hasbani River
- physical scarcity.
Around 40% of world’s population will experience water scarcity by 2025
36 countries today experience water scarcity, likely to be 46 by 2025.
Eg. Middle East, north and central Africa.
Eg. Middle East – Lebanon, Israel and Hasbani River
increases exceed supply.
(The Abolition of Man, 1947).
Robert. F. Kennedy Jr. “We are witnessing something unprecedented: Water no longer flows downhill. It flows towards money.”
Who controls water into LA – controls the city…..
Privatisation of water in the UK.
Multinationals in Latin America and Africa.
Varying levels of access & service
White South Africa
Black & coloured townships