Thursday, 23 May 2013
The impending crisis’s of the coming century
This may sound all a little depressing but it is a post I’ve wanted to do for a while now. It focus’s on the crisis’s that are not so spoken of that will play out in the future no doubt. These crisis which revolve mainly around vital resources to live including food and water will potentially lead to wars as resources become scarce in big over populated areas of the world. All this is in among the back drop of a global economic crisis which shows no sign of improving despite the reports of green shoots and slow growth and the like. This is the norm now for many now we will never see a return to the post 2008 so called boom years of consistent 3 or 4 percent annual growth with a rising wage economy. Not in my lifetime can I foresee this changing under this current capitalist system. Food and water shortages does sound utterly ridiculous to comprehend in the west today wit our glut of over production and far too much food produced and plenty going to waste yet millions if not billions still go hungry every year due to lack of profitability in selling food to the poorest on the planet. As with water the thought of us not having enough will soon absurd to many reading this that may live near water and certainly in the UK we are surrounded by it yet we are running out of clean, good quality drinking water for life to survive. The fact tat capitalism due to its short termist nature of producing for profit and not for need has resulted in a situation where our population has grown but our infrastructure has not kept pace with the ever growing demand. In fact in a recent Guardian article it is claimed The Yemen is already running out of water Sana'a risks becoming first capital in world to run out of viable water supply as Yemen's streams and natural aquifers run dry Despite plans to focus on rainwater harvesting and on water drilling, Yemen's political uncertainty has pushed sanitation and water access down the list of priorities. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA Under a staircase, clinging to a wall of Sana'a's Grand Mosque, groups of women and children lug plastic canisters to the leaky spigots of a public fountain. Some small children struggle with canisters nearly their size as they weave slowly between the fountain and the pushcarts used to wheel the water back home. Whether in cities or villages, this is how millions of Yemenis secure their day's supply of water. As few can afford to pay for water to be pumped to their building, public urban fountains, which are free, remain the only option for most. Umm Husein, a resident of the capital Sana'a, said she has tap water only once or twice a week. Trips to the communal fountain – taking time out of work or studies – involve her whole family. "The women, the children, every day we go to the fountain to get water," she said. Water and sanitation are chronic problems in Yemen, where, on average, each Yemeni has access to only 140 cubic metres of water per year for all uses – the Middle East average is about 1,000m³ a person annually. In recent years, the government of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh had taken strides to improve water access in Yemen, but the political turbulence that arose from last year's uprising has pushed water down the new government's list of priorities, according to aid workers and a government employee. Changing priorities Two years ago, Yemen's general rural water authority (GRWA) commissioned an assessment of existing water projects and coverage. The organisations that took part came to a collective decision to focus on rainwater harvesting in Yemen's highlands, and on water drilling in the coastal and desert areas. Yet the ensuing political chaos halted progress in implementing solutions, according to Abdulwali el-Shami, an engineer in the government's public works project (PWP) in Sana'a. Beset with crises, the new president, Abd Rabbu Mansoor Hadi, has put little energy towards resolving the water crisis threatening the majority of Yemenis. Ghassan Madieh, a water specialist for UN children's fund Unicef, said he did not "see any serious attention being given to the issue of water scarcity, or the low coverage in water and sanitation". Jerry Farrell, country director of Save the Children in Yemen, echoed this assessment: "[In June], the ministry of planning rolled out its plan for the next 20 months … and water was at the bottom of the list." Though solutions exist, the will and attention necessary to put them into practice remain absent, observers say. Farrell said that without a greater governmental commitment to water issues, international aid organisations dealing with water will not be able to work effectively in the country. The government must also provide water subsidies for the extremely poor while water infrastructure is developed, he added. The spectre of a country run dry looms over Yemen's nearly 25 million inhabitants. With its streams and natural aquifers shallower every day, Sana'a risks becoming the first capital in the world to run out of a viable water supply. The water table in the city has dropped far beyond sustainable levels, Shami said, because of an exploding population, lack of water resource management and, most of all, unregulated drilling. Where Sana'a's water table was 30 metres below the surface in the 1970s, he said, it has now dropped to 1,200 metres in some areas. The water supply in this largely arid country has been the source of decades-long ethnic conflicts, particularly among nomadic groups. In the northern governorate of al-Jawf, a blood feud between two prominent local groups has continued unabated for nearly three decades, largely a result of the contested placement of a well on their territorial border. Abdulwali el-Jilani, a water specialist in Sana'a with the Community Livelihood Project, a programme to improve water access funded by the US aid agency USAid, warned that as water supply diminishes, tensions will rise: "Water is and will be the reason for powerful conflicts in the future."