Hi Anybody out there?
- Severe water shortages affecting at least 400 million people today will affect 4 billion people by 2050. Southwestern states such as Arizona will face other severe freshwater shortages by 2025.
- Adequate sanitation facilities are lacking for 2.4 billion people, about 40% of humankind.
- Half of all coastal regions, where 1 billion people live, have degraded through overdevelopment or pollution.
- Coral reefs, mangrove forests and sea grass beds, important grounds for young fish and for environmental needs, face threats from overfishing, development and pollution.
- Oxygen-depleted seas, caused by industrial and agricultural runoff, could lead to fishery collapses and "dead zones" in such places as the Gulf of Mexico.
- Wild-fish catches are leveling off worldwide. With 75% of fish stocks fully exploited, fleets have turned to fish lower on ocean food chains. Ecologists worry that entire fisheries will collapse as these "junk fish" are used up. Increased demand for fish is being made up through aquaculture, which brings other environmental concerns.
Been away from beliefnet for quite a while. I had met some very nice people here especially in the Beyond Blue group.
Ive found I had more than one profile up. So Ive chose this one to use.
Deleting a profile is different on this site basically changing privacy settings and not using that account is the thing to do. (deleting material also) anyway .
I hope I find some new and old friends again.
Well I finally found my email and password to this account, I had forgotten about. So now I need to delete the newest one and I think there is one more. So I'm glad to come back to this site but I need to simplify things. Made myself a little confused here.
Across the world, 884 million people do not have access to clean water and 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation.
Dirty water and a lack of basic sanitation are undermining efforts to end extreme poverty and disease in the world's poorest countries. 4,100 children die every day from severe diarrhea, which is caused by poor sanitation and hygiene. Women and girls in developing countries spend most of their days gathering water for their families, walking 3.5 miles on average each day to collect water. Girls often drop out of primary school because their schools lack separate toilets and easy access to safe water.
Access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation facilities could transform the lives of millions in the world's poorest countries. Universal access to water and sanitation could prevent thousands of child deaths and free up hours each day for women and children to go to work or school. This is especially true for girls -- studies show that girls are 12% more likely to go to school if water is available within a 15-minute walk rather than a one hour's walk.
Investing in water and sanitation is also smart economically. Every $1 spent on water and sanitation generates the equivalent of $8 in saved time, increased productivity and reduced health care costs. Meeting the water and sanitation targets set out through the Millennium Development Goals could save sub-Saharan Africa $22 billion each year.
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Clean Water Saves Lives
Water is life. Yet one billion people do not have access to safe water, and 2.6 billion people live without proper sanitation. Water-borne illness is the second highest cause of childhood death in the world. When water is unsafe and sanitation non-existent, water can kill.
UNICEF is committed to providing safe water and sanitation to the millions of affected children and their families. We distribute oral rehydration salts wherever children are suffering from illness and deadly dehydration caused by unsafe water. After a natural disaster, we train teachers to educate children about safe water and proper sanitation. And we distribute hygiene kits during a crisis to help children and their families adapt to their new circumstances and keep diseases like cholera at bay.
The Water-Education Link
Access to clean water does more than just save lives, it can turn lives around. When children no longer struggle with recurring illness, they can go to school and get an education. Their parents can tend to their fields and earn an income. Girls, especially, often miss out on school because they spend hours every day fetching water from distant sources. We help build pipelines to bring water to remote communities and we supply families with wells and water pumps so that girls, too, can get an education.
All children have the right to safe water and sanitation. Clean water helps break the cycle of poverty and saves children's lives. UNICEF works all over the world to make sure children have access to the most basic, lifesaving element-water.
Latest News and Reports from the Field
September 14, 2009
Burkina Faso and its capital city, Ouagadougou, were among the regions most affected by severe flooding that raged across West Africa earlier this month. Unprecedented rainfall destroyed more than 24,600 houses in Ouagadougou and surrounding areas. "There are at least 130,000 people displaced who are temporarily sheltered in schools, churches, mosques in some 93 sites," Prime Minister Tertius Zongo said, adding that there would be an immediate need for relief funds.
September 10, 2009
UNICEF announced some startlingly good news today-the number of children dying from preventable causes has markedly dropped. Just three years ago, 25,500 children under the age of five were dying each day-from curable illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea. Now that number has been reduced to 24,000. That's 1,500 more children alive every single day.
August 4, 2009
Many of us take clean water for granted, but worldwide an estimated one billion people don't have access to it. Young children are the first to get sick and die from waterborne illnesses, including diarrheal dehydration. But UNICEF has pioneered a simple, low-cost treatment that is saving 1 million children every year.
Whatever it takes to save a child
Everything that UNICEF does is for one purpose: to help children survive. Almost 10 million children die needlessly every year. We believe that every child has the right to survive, and we will do whatever it takes to save a child.
UNICEF is on the ground
Every moment of every day, UNICEF is on the ground providing lifesaving help for children in need. We provide families with clean water and sanitation, we vaccinate against childhood illness, and we help protect children against malaria. We provide nourishment to fight malnutrition, and we care for children affected by AIDS. We protect children from abuse, and we give them an education. We are here to make sure that all children lead a healthy, humane, and dignified life.
Sixty years of results
UNICEF has been helping children for over 60 years and has saved more children's lives than any other organization in the world. We have the history and the experience to overcome obstacles like politics and poverty-even war-which can stand in the way of helping a child survive. While we could never do it alone, we are often the ones who reach children in need after everyone else has given up.
We invite you to join us in our efforts to save the world's children.
|Not all wet
As we in water-rich countries take our daily showers, water the lawn or laze about in the pool, it's easy to forget that fresh water is a life-or-death issue in many parts of the world.
Of a population of roughly 6.1 billion, more than 1 billion lack access to potable water. The World Health Organization says that at any time, up to half of humanity has one of the six main diseases -- diarrhea, schistosomiasis, or trachoma, or infestation with ascaris, guinea worm, or hookworm -- associated with poor drinking water and inadequate sanitation. About 5 million people die each year from poor drinking water, poor sanitation, or a dirty home environment -- often resulting from water shortage (see "Tackling the Big Three" in the bibliography).
China, with 1.26 billion people, is "the one area worrying most people most of the time," says Marq de Villiers, author of the recently published "Water " (see bibliography). In dry Northern China, he says, "the water table is dropping one meter per year due to overpumping, and the Chinese admit that 300 cities are running short. They are diverting water from agriculture and farmers are going out of business." Some Chinese rivers are so polluted with heavy metals that they can't be used for irrigation, he adds.
"They're disgraceful, unusable, industrial sewers," says de Villiers. As farmers go out of business, China will have to import more food.
In India, home to 1.002 billion people, key aquifers are being overpumped, and the soil is growing saltier through contamination with irrigation water. Irrigation was a key to increasing food production in India during the green revolution, and as the population surges toward a projected 1.363 billion in 2025, its crops will continue to depend on clean water and clean soil.
Israel (population 6.2 million), invented many water-conserving technologies, but water withdrawals still exceed resupply. Overpumping of aquifers along the coast is allowing seawater to pollute drinking water. Like neighboring Jordan, Israel is largely dependent on the Jordan River for fresh water.
"The Nile is one I worry about," says Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project. Egypt, she says, is militarily powerful but vulnerable. "The hydropolitics might favor some military action, because Egypt is so heavily dependent on the Nile, it's already virtually tapping out the supply, and Ethiopia is now getting interested in developing the headwaters."
When a World Bank official suggested several years ago that water wars are not far off, he might have had Egypt on his mind -- or Turkey, Syria and Iraq, another trio of Middle-Eastern states that are locked in an uncomfortable embrace over water.
The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers both rise in Turkey and flow unimpeded to Syria and Iraq, where they provide the bulk of irrigation water needed in the arid climate. Turkey has proposed a series of dams that would reduce river flow. That causes alarm downstream.
A working river
The Colorado may be completely allocated, but the Southwest continues booming. According to one estimate, five of the 10 fastest-growing U.S. states are in the river's drainage. The water the newcomers drink is likely to come from farmers who now receive subsidized river water.
The rivers we've mentioned are some of the 200 and 300 major lakes and rivers that transcend national boundaries. The list includes such major items as the Nile, the Amur River between Russia and parched northern China, the Niger in Africa, and the Mekong, Indus and Ganges in Asia.
Can't anyone get along?
Water shortages will leave world in dire straits By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY
More than half of humanity will be living with water shortages, depleted fisheries and polluted coastlines within 50 years because of a worldwide water crisis, warns a United Nations report out Monday.
Waste and inadequate management of water are the main culprits behind growing problems, particularly in poverty-ridden regions, says the study, the most comprehensive of its kind. The United Nations Environment Programme, working with more than 200 water resource experts worldwide, produced the report.
"Tens of millions of people don't have access to safe water. It is indeed a crisis," says Halifa Drammeh, who coordinates UNEP's water policies. The wide-ranging report, part of the UN's designation of 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater, also documents problems such as steep drops in the size of Asia's Aral Sea, Africa's Lake Chad and Iraq's Marshlands; the deterioration of coral reefs; and the rise of coastal waters because of climate changes. Some developing nations could face water shortages, crop failures and conflict over shrinking lakes and rivers if nothing is done to prevent wasteful irrigation and slow evaporation from reservoirs, and drinking-water systems are not repaired.
Based on data from NASA, the World Health Organization and other agencies, the report finds:
"The basic problem is poverty, not water," says water resources economist Chuck Howe of the University of Colorado in Boulder. About 90% of the severe problems are in developing nations, he says, where solutions to wasting water lie in better irrigation and water supply practices.
In developed nations such as Japan, the USA and in Europe, most water shortfalls arise from politically popular but inefficient subsidies and protections of agriculture, which accounts for 85% of freshwater consumption worldwide.
Along with drinking-water concerns, the report looks at global problems of oceans and seas:
Drammeh hopes the report helps mobilize support for international organizations brokering water and fishery agreements that encourage better water management among nations. Developing regions don't need more dam-building projects, he says, but need more people trained to manage water systems.
This article is from World Watch regarding China's Water Shortage.
An unexpectedly abrupt decline in the supply of water for China's
farmers poses a rising threat to world food security. China depends on
irrigated land to produce 70 percent of the grain for its huge
population of 1.2 billion people, but it is drawing more and more of
that water to supply the needs of its fast-growing cities and
industries. As rivers run dry and aquifers are depleted, the emerging
water shortages could sharply raise the country's demand for grain
imports, pushing the world's total import needs beyond exportable
Any major threat to China's food self-sufficiency, if not addressed by
strong new measures, would likely push up world grain prices, creating
social and political instabilities in Third World cities-as previous
WORLD WATCH articles have pointed out (see commentary). New information
on the deteriorating water situation has confirmed the imminence of this
possibility. The challenge now facing the Chinese government is how to
meet the soaring water needs of its swelling urban and industrial
sectors without undermining both its own agriculture and the world's
The decline in China's capacity to irrigate its crops-signs of which
include the drying-up of rivers and wells all over the northern region
of the country-is coming at a time when depleted world grain stocks are
near an all-time low. With its booming economy and huge trade surpluses,
China can survive its water shortages by simply importing more of its
food, because it can afford to pay more for grain. But low-income
countries with growing grain deficits may not be able to pay these
higher prices. For the 1.3 billion of the world's people who live on $1
a day or less, higher grain prices could quickly become life
threatening. The problem is now so clearly linked to global security
that the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC) the umbrella over all
U.S. intelligence agencies, has begun to monitor the situation with the
kind of attention it once focused on Soviet military maneuvers.
This deepening concern led the NIC to sponsor a major interdisciplinary
assessment of China's food prospect. Headed by Michael McElroy, chairman
of Harvard University's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, the
study used information from intelligence satellites to refine cropland
area estimates, and commissioned computer modeling by the Sandia
National Laboratory to assess the extent of future water shortages in
each of China's river basins. The recently released study concluded that
China will need massive grain imports in the decades ahead-a conclusion
that meshes with earlier projections published by WORLD WATCH.
Signs of Stress
SINCE MID-CENTURY, the population of China has grown by nearly 700
million-an increase almost equivalent to adding the whole population of
the world at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Most of that
population has concentrated in the region through which several great
rivers, including the Yellow and the Yangtze, flow. Those rivers provide
the irrigation water needed to grow much of the food for China, as well
as the water for its burgeoning cities and industries.
This dependence has placed a growing burden on the region's land and
water resources, because the Chinese population has not been able to
expand into new land the way the Americans once did with their westward
expansion into the Great Plains and California. In China, the western
half of the country is mostly desert or mountains. The resulting
concentration of Chinese population, industry, and agriculture has been
roughly equivalent to squeezing the entire U.S. population into the
region east of the Mississippi, then multiplying it by five.
A quarter-century ago, with more and more of its water being pumped out
for the country's multiplying needs, the Yellow River began to falter.
In 1972, the water level fell so low that for the first time in China's
long history it dried up before reaching the sea. It failed on 15 days
that year, and intermittently over the next decade or so. Since 1985, it
has run dry each year, with the dry period becoming progressively
longer. In 1996, it was dry for 133 days. In 1997, a year exacerbated by
drought, it failed to reach the sea for 226 days. For long stretches, it
did not even reach Shandong Province, the last province it flows through
en route to the sea. Shandong, the source of one-fifth of China's corn
and one-seventh of its wheat, depends on the Yellow River for half of
its irrigation water.
Although it is perhaps the most visible manifestation of water scarcity
in China, the drying-up of the Yellow River is only one of many such
signs. The Huai, a smaller river situated between the Yellow and
Yangtze, was also drained dry in 1997, and failed to reach the sea for
90 days. Satellite photographs show hundreds of lakes disappearing and
local streams going dry in recent years, as water tables fall and
springs cease to flow. As water tables have fallen, millions of Chinese
farmers are finding their wells pumped dry.
In the geography of water, there are two Chinas. The humid south
includes the vast Yangtze River and a population of 700 million. The
arid north includes the Yellow, Liao, Hai, and Huai Rivers, and has 550
million. While four-fifths of the water is in the south, two-thirds of
the cropland is in the north. As a result, the water per hectare of
cropland in the north is only one-eighth that in the south.
Although comprehensive hydrological data are not always available, key
pieces of the water puzzle are beginning to emerge from various sources.
A recent Chinese survey reported by Professor Liu Yonggong of China
Agricultural University in Beijing indicated that the water table
beneath much of the North China Plain, a region that produces some 40
percent of China's grain, has fallen an average of 1.5 meters (roughly 5
feet) per year over the last five years. A joint Sino-Japanese analysis
of China's agricultural prospect reports that water tables are falling
almost everywhere in China that the land is flat.
In the late summer of 1997, many of the irrigation wells in Shandong
Province, which was experiencing its worst drought in 25 years, were not
pumping. Chinese water analysts report frenzied well-drilling in some
provinces as farmers chased the falling water table downward.
Of course, those farmers' ability to provide food enough for their
nation is constrained by a range of factors in addition to water-by the
construction of roads over once-productive farmland, by erosion of soil,
by the diminishing benefits of fertilizer, and by a shrinking backlog of
the technology used to raise land productivity. But it is the swelling
diversion of irrigation water, combined with heavy losses to aquifer
depletion, that has emerged as the most imminent threat to China's food
Projected Demand for Water
EVEN AS THE YELLOW RIVER, aquifers, and wells get drier, the amount of
water needed continues to swell. Between now and 2030, UN demographers
project that China's population will increase from 1.2 billion to 1.5
billion, an increase that exceeds the entire population of the United
States. Even if there were no changes in water consumption per person,
this would boost the demand for water by one fourth above current
levels-but per-person consumption, too, is growing. It is expected to
grow in all three of the end use sectors-agricultural, residential, and
In the agricultural sector, demand for irrigation water, now roughly 400
billion cubic meters or tons per year, is expected to reach 665 billion
tons in 2030. As incomes rise, people are consuming more pork, poultry,
beef, and eggs, and feedgrain use is growing. For example, to produce
one kilogram of pork it takes four kilograms of grain, and one kilogram
of chicken takes two kilograms of grain. More grain means more water
(see Figure 1). Between 1990 and 1997, consumption of pork climbed by a
phenomenal 9 percent per year. Consumption of both beef and poultry,
starting from a much smaller base, has climbed at over 20 percent per
year. The brewing of beer, which is also made from grain, is growing at
7 percent annually.
In the residential sector, a similar compounding is occurring. At
present, some 85 percent of all water withdrawals are for irrigation,
but the residential share is increasing as China's population urbanizes
and hundreds of millions turn from the village well to indoor plumbing
with showers and flush toilets. Combined with projected increases in
population, rising individual water use will boost residential water use
from 31 billion tons in 1995 to 134 billion tons in 2030, a gain of more
The demand for water by industry is growing even faster. Assuming an
economic growth of 5 percent a year from 1995 until 2030 (actual growth
in the past decade has been more than twice that rate), industrial water
use would increase from 52 billion tons to 269 billion tons (see table).
The increase in residential and industrial water use together would
total 320 billion tons of water during this 25-year span. If this water
were used for irrigation, at 1,000 tons of water required per ton of
grain produced, it would yield 320 million tons of grain, an amount
approaching China's 1997 grain harvest of 380 million tons.
In other words, non-agricultural uses that are now straining the system
by drawing only 15-percent of the supply would multiply nearly five
times, while the agricultural needs now taking 85 percent would have
increased as well. Obviously, that can't happen. Because consumption
can't exceed the sustainable supply for long, China is facing
fundamental changes in the way it distributes and uses its water.
Diversion, Depletion, and Pollution
THOUGH 70-PERCENT OF THE GRAIN produced in China comes from irrigated
land, the country is seeing its irrigation supply depleted on three
fronts: the diversion of water from rivers and reservoirs to cities; the
depletion of underground supplies in aquifers; and the increasing
pollution caused by rapid industrialization. Politically, it is
difficult for any government to deny people water for their showers and
toilets, if they can afford to buy it-and China's urbanizing population
increasingly can. And economically, farms can't compete with factories
for water. As competition among farms, homes, and industries
intensifies, farms inevitably lose out.
Of China's 617 cities, 300 are already facing water shortages. In those
areas of north China where all available water is being used, these
shortfalls can be filled only by diverting water from agriculture. In
the spring of 1994, farmers in the region surrounding Beijing were
denied access to reservoirs, their traditional source of irrigation
water, because all the water was needed to satisfy the city's burgeoning
demand. That established a pattern for water-stressed cities all over
the north North China Plain
As for the demand from industry, agriculture simply cannot compete in
China or anywhere else. A thousand tons of water produces one ton of
wheat, which has a market value of $200, whereas the same amount of
water used in industry yields an estimated $14,000 of output-70 times as
much. Moreover, that economic advantage is reinforced by a political
one: the need to provide jobs for some 14 million new entrants into the
labor force each year. And, as China's old state-run corporations are
cut back, massive layoffs are leaving millions of people unemployed. As
it happens, water used in industry can also create a disproportionately
large number of jobs. Since incomes are much higher in industry than in
agriculture, the number of jobs a given amount of water can bring to
industry versus agriculture is somewhat less than the 70 to 1 just
mentioned, but the bottom line still is that shifting irrigation water
to industry creates many more jobs.
While farmers are losing out to cities and industries politically, they
are also losing ground hydrologically. As the demand for underground
water increases over time, the pumping eventually surpasses the natural
recharge of the aquifer, which comes from precipitation in the upstream
portion of the watershed. After this "sustainable yield threshold" is
passed, the water table starts to fall. If demand continues to climb,
the excess of pumping over the sustainable yield of the aquifer widens
each year. As a result, the distance the water table falls increases
Once the aquifer is depleted, the amount of water pumped is limited to
the rate of recharge. It cannot be otherwise. If the pumping has been
taking place at double the recharge when depletion occurs, then the
pumping will be cut by half. If pumping has been five times the
recharge, it will be cut by four fifths. Under the North China Plain, if
the water table is falling 1.5 meters per year, then the pumping could
easily be occurring at double the recharge rate. And if it is, the time
will come when the amount of water pumped in this wheat and corn belt
will be necessarily cut by half.
When farmers lose irrigation water, they either revert to rainfed
farming if rainfall is sufficient or they abandon the land if it is not.
For China, most of the land will simply revert to rainfed agriculture.
The yield will then decline by about one-half to two-thirds.
Unfortunately, even this stark arithmetic fails to fully convey the
extent to which China's grainland irrigation water is being lost,
because it doesn't account for losses to pollution. There are 50,000
kilometers of major rivers in China, and, according to the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization, 80 percent of them are so degraded they no
longer support fish. As a result of toxic discharge from cities and
upstream enterprises, which include such highly polluting industries as
paper mills, tanneries, oil-refineries and chemical plants, the Yellow
River water is now loaded with heavy metals and other toxins that make
it unfit even for irrigation, much less for human consumption, along
much of its route.
Water pollution horror stories abound throughout China as farmers-for
want of a cleaner source-irrigate with heavily polluted water. In Shanxi
province, in the Yellow River watershed, rice has been found to contain
excessive levels of chromium and lead, and the cabbage is laced with
cadmium. Along the length of the Yellow River, abnormally high rates of
mental retardation, stunting and developmental diseases are linked to
elevated concentrations of arsenic and lead in the water and food.
As industrialization outpaces pollution control, more and more river
water is rendered unsuitable for irrigation. In the heavily
industrialized, heavily populated Yangtze valley, it may not be the
diversion of water to industry that most threatens agriculture, but the
pollution of water by industry, which renders it unsuitable for
irrigation to begin with.
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