Saturday, November 22, 2008

Half The World Faces Water Shortage By 2080

Half The World Faces Water Shortage By 2080

Half the world's population could face a shortage of clean water by 2080 because of climate change, experts warned Tuesday.

Wong Poh Poh, a professor at the National University of Singapore, told a regional conference that global warming was disrupting water flow patterns and increasing the severity of floods, droughts and storms — all of which reduce the availability of drinking water.

Wong said the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that as many as 2 billion people won't have sufficient access to clean water by 2050. That figure is expected to rise to 3.2 billion by 2080 — nearly tripling the number who now do without it.

Reduced access to clean water — which refers to water that can be used for drinking, bathing or cooking — forces many villagers in poor countries to walk miles to reach supplies. Others, including those living in urban shanties, suffer from diseases caused by drinking from unclean sources.

At the beginning of the decade, the World Health Organization estimated that 1.1 billion people did not have sufficient access to clean water.

Asia, home to more than 4 billion people, is the most vulnerable region, especially India and China, where booming populations have placed tremendous stress on water sources, said Wong, a member of the U.N. panel.

"In Asia, water distribution is uneven and large areas are under water stress. Climate change is going to exacerbate this scarcity," he told the two-day Asia Pacific Regional Water Conference attended by policy makers, government officials, academics, businessmen and consumer group representatives.

Scientists have said global climate change takes many forms, causing droughts in some areas while increasing flooding and the severity of cyclones in others. Droughts reduce water supply, and floods destroy the quality of water. Rising sea levels, for instance, increase the salt content at the mouths of many rivers, from which many Asians draw their drinking water.

"As human civilization develops, the environment is increasingly affected in negative ways. Floods, drought, changing rainfall patterns and rising temperatures are signs of our misdeeds to nature," said Rozali Ismail, head of a state water association in Malaysia.
And that half world will be looking for clean water sources from those areas that may remain that have water. This is a recipe for disaster. How can humans see the impending disaster before their eyes and continue to not do enough to reverse it? What stops us from doing the morally right thing? Even though we know there is enough water in this world to stave off the thirst that kills, we will continue to allow multi national corporations to steal it and sell it for exhorbitant prices that the poor of this world cannot afford. We will continue to spew GHG pollution into the atmosphere at a rate of 70 million tons a day thus exacerbating drought, glacier melt, and erratic weather patterns.

We will continue to allow governments working in tandem with global organizations fix prices that are out of the realm of reality in order to exacerbate war and suffering because it keeps them profitable and in power. We will continue to allow mismanagement of funds on every level that could be used to fix and build infrastructure. We will continue to pollute and waste the very source of life we need to sustain us.

Or will we? Will it have to get this bad before we reach our epiphany as a species? Will we then see how much a part we are in the solutions to this crisis? We all have hands. We all have feet. We all have voices. We all have consciences. We need to use them all now to prove the title of this article wrong. I fear if we do not we are setting up the human species for its own extinction.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

World Toilet Day

From Water Partners International:

Yes! You CAN change someone’s life with a toilet

It is no joke. Today we celebrate World Toilet Day and the incredible value of the can. Call it what you will – the pot, the loo, the throne, the latrine, the water closet, the bog – it’s one of the most important inventions in history.

Why recognize World Toilet Day? Because the majority of illness in the world is caused by fecal matter. Because 2.5 billion people, 42 percent of the world’s population, don’t have access to proper sanitation. Because 1.2 billion people have no toilet, no hole in the ground, no pit latrine – nothing. And because 1.8 million children die each year from diarrhea alone – 4,900 deaths each day.

What would you do without a toilet? In the Kibera slum in Nairobi, people defecate in plastic bags, which they throw on the roof of moving trains, in order to keep the waste out of their community. In Atabaha, Bangladesh, people relieve themselves in fields – the same fields that grow their food. In Dasra, Ethiopia, community members use a nearby river, which also serves as their source of water.

“This is not only about public health, it is also about dignity,” said Gary White, executive director of WaterPartners. “Can you imagine not having a safe place to go to the bathroom each day? World Toilet Day is an opportunity for us to call attention to this vast, solvable crisis, and invite us to act.”

By donating only $30 to WaterPartners, you can fund a toilet for someone in need in a developing country. Together, we CAN end this crisis.

Toilet Facts
One-third of all Americans flush the toilet while they are still sitting on it.

An average person visits the toilet 2,500 times a year, about 6-8 times a day. This adds up to three years of your life.

40,000 Americans are injured by toilets each year.

The first toilet ever seen on television was on “Leave It To Beaver.”

Car steering wheels carry more than twice as many germs as a toilet seat.

Urine on the toilet seat - although disgusting, it is a nearly sterile liquid.

In Florida, a 7th grade student recently won a school science fair by proving there was more bacteria in ice machines at fast-food restaurants than in toilet bowl water in the United States.

Contrary to popular lore, Thomas Crapper didn’t invent the toilet. Seated toilets with drainage systems date back to 2500 B.C. The flush toilet was invented in 1596 by John Harrington.

See pictures taken by WaterPartners of toilets around the world.

About World Toilet Day

Lack of safe sanitation has been called a silent crisis, a scandal of human indignity, and the number one enemy of world health. This is why the international community recognizes World Toilet Day every Nov. 19, and the United Nations deemed 2008 the International Year of Sanitation. One of the Millennium Development Goal’s (MGD) set in 2002 is to halve the number of those without access to basic sanitation by 2015.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Farmers In California Feeling Effects Of Drought

Farmers In California Feeling Effects Of Drought

Water restrictions, higher prices, and wildfires that are more ferocious brought on by climate change are changing the landscape of California and the lives of those who have farmed there for decades.Is California another Australia in the making?

Rancho Water to me is wrong to charge what they are charging and taking advantage of the drought to make more money. But also, farmers then need to learn to conserve water and cut down on the crops they grow that use much water. Unfortunately, having to pay more for the water may eventually help them get to that point.

Conservation is the key.

From the article:

Farmers served by the Rancho California Water District will pay more for water. It's just a question of when.

A program that allowed farmers to get cheaper water in exchange for agreeing to cutbacks in supplies in drier times could be phased out by 2013. That means farmers used to getting discounted water for crops will pay the same as the district's household and industrial customers.

That, combined with higher fuel and fertilizer costs and cheaper foreign goods, is the last thing local farmers need, said Ben Drake, a district board member who runs a farm management company.

"I may not be able to farm in the next eight to 10 years," said Drake, who has been in the Temecula Valley since the 1970s.

"None of my clients are spending any extra money on anything."

For years, many Rancho Water farmers received discounted water through the Metropolitan Water District's Interim Agricultural Water Program. Metropolitan wholesales water to Rancho, and its program gave farmers a lower rate in exchange for being first on the chopping block for supply cuts.

The program relies on surplus water; right now, there is none and Metropolitan doesn't expect to have a surplus in the next few years, said Rancho spokeswoman Meggan Reed.

About 1,700 customers take part in the program. About 48 percent of the water sold by Rancho Water goes to agriculture.

With a long-term drought and a court decision cutting supplies from the Sacramento River Delta, Metropolitan, which supplies 70 percent of the Rancho district's water, announced last year a 30 percent cut in water supplied to program participants.

Rancho Water had little choice but to pass along the cuts to farmers. To take the sting out of the cutbacks, district staff worked with farmers to find more ways to conserve water. Now, with the program gone by 2013, the district is giving farmers a chance to opt out now and pay the same rate as regular customers.

Program participants pay 65 cents per hundred cubic feet or 88 cents per hundred cubic feet, depending on where they are. With the program's demise, those customers would pay either 72 cents per hundred cubic feet or $1.88 per hundred cubic feet.

Those who opt out -- the deadline is Jan. 1 to opt out for next year -- will not be subject to the 30 percent cutback, although they face much higher charges if they exceed their water allowance.

Gene Bianchi, of De Luz, said he's not sure whether he'll opt out of the program.

Bianchi has about 1,100 avocado trees on his 12-acre parcel. He says he is spending about $11,000 to $12,000 annually on water.

Also see:

Wildfires Ravage Southern California

Drought brings wildfires, and climate change along with human waste brings drought. It is a vicious cycle that can only be broken when humans see their hand in this.

Drought Monitor-California

The entire area of California currently experiencing these devastating fires is also experiencing moderate to severe drought which only adds to its ferocity.

Another World Water Day Gone

We see another World Water Day pass us by. The theme, Water For All, signifies that though some progress has been made we are woefully behin...