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GGL #4

DROUGHT.... To Create A Border-Free Water Distribution Program.

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About GGL #4

Water Babies or Dust Babies?

An estimated four billion people will be affected by water shortages by 2050 ... a forecast which is increasing tensions over the management and allocation of humankind's most basic need.

Within just a few years of the start this third millennium, the United Nations issued a warning that world water resources are diminishing, leaving 1/6 of humanity without clean running supplies.
(From Looking-Glass Global News)

The free gift for life for every creature born on Earth is water. Or so it should be. No one has the right to own it.

Species of the animal kingdom might well create territorial boundaries, but they all share the same water supply. In the natural world there are no boundaries when it comes to water, the most important nectar of life itself. If water is short, wild animals congregate around watering holes to drink, tolerating each others presence when normally they might be stalking one another other for food. Instead, they know they have no choice when it comes to a water shortage, they either drink or die of thirst.

Humans, on the other hand, claim to be the hierarchy of life on earth, but in fact we do exactly the same as animals; create boundaries or territories (which we call nations or countries).
However the difference between us and the animals is that we, in our questionable wisdom, "border" our water supply. So one country upstream of a cross-continental river often has the monopoly of plentiful water supplies compared to another country downstream. A water controlled border can modulate the quality of life across an entire country - for better or worse; and as the drought situation worsens the control of water will play an even more offensive role in a country's quest for power.

Die or be Damned ...

Dams are a major cause of this imbalance, both for humanitarian and environmental reasons. If a country desires, it can dam a major river to irrigate (often deforested) land for livestock and crops, and harness its power to generate electricity. The effects on countries downstream can be catastrophic. Even without dams, excessive diversions of rivers to irrigate land for mass farming can destroy vast areas of our planet such as the Aral Sea and the Dead Sea, leaving environmental and humanitarian destruction in its wake. (See Aral Sea article at LGVN)
Even in the USA, the overpowering, industrialized control of the Colorado means that freshwater flow from the once mighty river doesn't even each its once huge delta - the ecology of vast regions around the Colorado have hence suffered beyond recognition. Without such devoured tampering of nature, resource-hogging cities like Las Vegas wouldn't exist today. Good or bad thing? You decide.

Water as a Weapon - Water as a Poison

Half a planet away from the vulgar kerching! of Las Vegas slot machines, the Third World's shortage of natural resources in are still far from being resolved. First World governments traditionally argue which should come first ... democracy or aid (often depending on self-interests). But this argument should be raised alongside the focus on ethical standards in the Third World, which differ dramatically from one country to another. Barbaric acts, endorsed by disharmonious or corrupt governments, are common place in many underdeveloped regions; those which sacrifice the basic needs of their own impoverished population in favour of plundering its resources into border offensives. Water provision is often used as a bartering tool in these cases and malnutrition from lack of water can also be caused by factions of governments simply not providing it to areas which most need it.

In fast-developing nations water pollution has hit a crisis level. China's industrial pollution affects almost every natural water course, mostly in the north of its vast country. Lakes and rivers have become toxic soups, and things appear to be getting steadily worse. China faces water shortages on various levels, and the country's gross misuse of it is also leaving neighbouring countries without sufficient quotas. China and surrounding countries are also victims of severe flooding due to growing adverse weather conditions, displacing millions when these events occur. Reports suggest that China is now building its own water placement system to transfer more plentiful water from the south to the problematic north. This purpose behind China's water placement programme should not be confused with the "international water distribution coalition" suggested below. The use of cross-continent manmade distribution systems should only apply to otherwise irreparable areas, incapable of regenerating destroyed land due to lack of rainfall and not by diverting river water from environmentally sensitive habitats such as the Yangtze river. In fact, in 2007 the water dolphin, once thriving in the Yangtze river was declared extinct; a catastrophic event directly caused by human interference. The demise of the river dolphin is an appalling but significant moment in history that clearly illustrates how our direct, thoughtless actions are killing this planet - not in generations to come but right now.
Educating people about the use and management of their environment and hence water is an underestimated priority. China, for example illustrates that it is often not "drought" which causes water shortage but the misuse of it. In fact, describing the situation regarding China's lethal environmental effects and misuse of its resources - similarly to Brazil - demands a separate GGL discussion of its own.

As usual, powers and politics grey the issues into a muddle of buck-passing regarding who is to blame. But blame becomes irrelevant when reflecting on the global picture of such man made chaos. By removing water boundaries, the droughts in East Africa become the responsibility of the whole planet ... because paradoxically, water belongs to no one - and everyone ... or at least that should be the case.

Deforestation, overfarming, the control of water, our effect on the weather ... all subtexts of global warming

In fact, you don't usually hear the "control of water" as part of the global warming argument.
It's obvious to most by now that humanity, through our ignorance and our displaced powers, is destroying the natural environment of this planet. However, we need to understand the far deeper interconnection of these words; humanity, environment, nature - which includes animals. Our control of water is the main element which correlates all these aspects of global degradation. Through a combination of environmental wounds we have deeply inflicted across our planet, we have created ecological imbalances on a global scale; causing drought conditions, where societies struggle to reside in once fertile areas, and severe flooding in other parts. But also the human dependency on an industrialized control of water is a disaster in the making. Vast areas of countries in the west now being flooded by abnormal weather conditions can have their water treatment plants knocked out instantly, leaving millions of people without access to fresh water. This overnight change, albeit for just for a few weeks until chaos and treatment plants are restored, shows the very delicate relationship humanity has with water. But it's a relationship we simply don't respect when things are running "normally". If water became suddenly scarce for everyone, money and possessions would seem less important just as quickly. Water is probably the most powerful, yet most underestimated commodity controlled by the First World. But wherever humanity resides, it controls all the water it possibly can, and in poorer countries water does indeed still command more respect as a commodity of life. The problem everywhere though is that the control of water means continual degrading effects on the environment. If water can be harnessed to prosper from, then it will be. This initially means the destruction of forests or even the draining of marshland (and the decimation of wildlife), to be replaced by land irrigated for farming. This can be for crops and animals for food. Supplies needed for livestock watering is increasing all the time. Water used to maintain billions livestock is less effective in its purpose than water provided for vegetation. With all these water control systems in place across the planet, the earth's atmospheric behaviour changes abnormally; with this activity happening everywhere, the culmination of altered environments where there may have once been naturally flourishing self-sustaining ecosystems, reaches a critical point where the infrastructure collapses on both seen levels and unseen levels. The seen levels are often obvious: salinated land, mudslides during heavy rain, topsoil erosion, and dried rivers. The weather systems are altered and it's now, in tandem with the effects of CO2 emissions (also caused by methane emitted from millions of animals reared for meat on deforested, irrigated land), that we are witnessing the dire consequences.

Global Shifting

Our quest to control water indefinitely has surmounted to a world-wide alteration of earth's natural course - and not in a good way. We now "mis-administer" this most fundamental element, which originally gave the planet a method to self-sustain - and to harness all life.
If the weather was able to run through its cyclic events based on natural progression - in tune with earth's natural evolution - then you could say that water doesn't choose its victims. But the "rules of nature" simply don't apply anymore, because humankind has taken over those rules. Placement or displacement of water is ruled by the weather, but now enhanced conversely by the meddlings of humanity, which displaces the mechanics of weather through environmental meddling. This now means that the weather has become detached from its natural evolution. If the natural evolvement of weather was still in situ, we would certainly not be witnessing the ever-growing dramatic effects of it as we do now. We have become responsible for water causing so many victims across a human-adjusted global environment.
NOTE: Although a separate GGL issue,
deforestation - most notably in Brazil, then West Central Africa and Indonesia - plus salination in many parts of the world, have contributed enormously to environmental effects around the globe. Droughts in some areas, floods in others, culminating in over 25 years of famine in some countries.

The Answer?

The damage is done ... as with many other environmental recovery progammes we now have no choice but to plan an extremely careful recovery programme which may eventually allow us to live with our water in a far more passive and environmentally friendly way.
Humans must now revert their destructive power to constructive power and mechanically correct and repair the damaged environment.

The GGL suggests an International Water Distribution Coalition. A program to create a carefully sourced aqueduct system to cover all drought inflicted areas of the planet.

Building such a system of aqueducts would surmount to a massive engineering task. The project would be funded by fertile countries, generally from western temperate regions and built using the labour of drought afflicted countries themselves (a democratic flow may achieved by this arrangement). A governing body made up from all participating countries would oversee the project to regulate water distribution and to monitor and combat salination problems. The source of the water would be carefully researched. Preferably from high rainfall capture areas, and not by diverting low flow rivers (see United Oceans GGL). At present times, excessive rainfall in many regions of the world are causing catastrophic floods as rivers burst their banks. It is flood risk areas such as these which could be considered as source regions able to supply water for the aqueducts, and without any detrimental effects on such local environments.

The source of water, as mentioned, would be from all high rainfall countries who can spare it, and that means most of them. The mismanagement of water in fertile high rainfall countries is appalling. The abundance of rain creates complacency. When there is too much of it people complain, when there is a dry spell people complain because an insufficient reservoir system can't supply the demand. And it is reported that in some countries up to 70% of treated water supply is lost through underground leakage before it ever reaches the consumer. Over a year that amount of leakage could have saved the lives of thousands in drought affected countries. Repairing the system for their own consumption and sharing the free commodity across borders is of no threat or consequence to anybody in high rainfall areas. If countries blessed with clean running water have to pay for its use because of treatment costs, then so be it, but there should be no "fat-cat" profits. All extra profits should become part of a world-wide fund to build the aforementioned aqueduct. This should take priority over other supplies and developments in these countries like high tech communications. Water first, then education with focus, via technology, on how to manage these resources...
...there is no use for the Internet on a barren dust filled landscape littered with the bones of dead children.

So now has to be the turning point ... if nothing is done, the next quarter century will see a massive instability between human versus environment, as destroyed, barren lands themselves become the cause for social unrest. No doubt, the cosy classes and governments of the western temperate regions will soon feel distant dusty winds blowing the scent of those dead children all the way up the paths of their freshly watered gardens. It will no longer be just a TV image from a far away place.

Footnote: Perhaps research has never yet covered the environmental effects of piping water to drought areas. But could it be that the subsequent use of water in these areas on agriculture and reforesting would mean evaporation, hence cloud formation replenishing a natural rain cycle?

What you are voting for...

The GGL suggests an International Water Distribution Coalition. A program to create a carefully sourced aqueduct system to cover all drought inflicted areas of the planet.

Your voting options

Vote Here for GGL#4

Read more about the Global Green Laws concept here

Copyright John O'Donnell (VeggieGlobal and Looking-Glass)
Unauthorized copying or distributing of this document is prohibited
and will be subject to prosecution.

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