Water and Geography: Asia and Europe

By Julia C

Water is the world's most important resource. All living things need a constant supply of it. But the availability of water is becoming an issue for many people. This may be because they don't have access to clean water or there is no water near where they live. This paper will focus on how geography affects water availability, specifically in Asia and Europe.

More than 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered in water, but of that only 3 percent is useable to humans. The other 97% is mostly contained in the oceans and icecaps. But most of the fresh water useable by humans in trapped under the Earth or in the form of glaciers. There are two million cubic miles of groundwater underneath the Earth's surface and seven million cubic miles are in the glaciers and icecaps at the poles. Only 60,000 cubic miles of fresh water is in lakes, inland seas and rivers, easily accessible by humans. In fact, rivers, which are the most used water source by humans, only account for .0001 percent of the world's total water. These numbers show that where water is greatly affects how reachable it is to humans.

In order for a country or area to thrive, or even function, it needs a water source. There are millions of rivers and streams all over Asia and Europe supplying its people. Europe relies mostly on rivers for water; lakes only cover 2 percent of the total land area. In Western Europe some of the major rivers are the Rhine in Germany and the Seine and Rhone in France. In Central and Eastern Europe there are the Danube flowing through Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria and the Elbe in Germany and Czech Republic. These rivers are very large so the people near them have an adequate water supply. But these large rivers can become problems. Because many of Europe's rivers are near mountains they get a lot of run off during the spring thaw. This causes them to flood, which is a threat to nearby areas, even though dams have been built. Europe is also near other bodies of water like the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, Baltic Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, but all of these are salt water and desalinization is very expensive.

Asia also has several large sources of water. In Russia there are the Lena and Ob Rivers. Some of China's large rivers are the Yangtze, Yellow and the Huang Ho Rivers. And supplying Southwest Asia and the Middle East, are the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Asia also has several lakes; the biggest are the Caspian and Aral. There are also many smaller lakes at the base of mountains. Many of the rivers have been dammed for hydraulic power, for example the Three Gorges Dam. This is the biggest hydraulic dam project and the best example of a country, China, trying to change its geography. It is a dam across the Yangtze River. It will cost 24.65 billion US dollars and will produce 18.2 million kilowatts of power. But 1.13 million people have to be relocated to make room for the dam and the reservoir it will create. Its purpose is to prevent floods, create hydraulic power and to improve the navigation of the river. There are many people opposed to the building of the dam. Human rights activists argue against the forced relocation of people and environmentalist say the dam will disturb the environment. The dam will create a large reservoir.

In Asia there are subterranean water deposits, which are major water sources in arid regions. Other bodies of water like the Pacific Ocean, the East and South China Seas and the Red Sea also border Asia, but these are salt water. Asia probably has more water issues than Europe because it has several deserts, like the Gobi and Takla Makan. The Middle East is a very arid region.

The geography of a country influences the availability of water in that country. An illustration of this is Singapore, a tiny island nation off the coast of Southeast Asia. It has 19 reservoirs within the country, but they are all salt water. Singapore plans to use desalinization in five years, but until then they buy most of their water from Johor, a region of Malaysia. Pipes have been built between Singapore and Johor so the water can be transported. According to a Singapore embassy official the price of water is one United States cent for every 1,000 gallons of water. Many other countries need to buy water from other countries sometimes because there is a drought. Currently there is a drought in Taiwan so they are buying water from China. This was the first such contact between the two countries since the civil war in 1949. These examples show that a country is willing to take very expensive measures to ensure that its people have water.

Sometimes even though a country has water it doesn't reach some people in need of it. An example of this is China. It has made plans to divert billions of tons of water from the south to the drought-ridden north with a large pipe and canal plan that will be a link from Yangtse in the south to the north so that the north can get water. The pipes will transport 50 billion cubic meters of water to the north The estimated cost is 12 billion dollars. If it is successful it will help a lot of people. There are roughly 3.2 million people in Shandong, a region of North China, who are affected by the drought. It will be hard for the Chinese to maintain both this project and the Three Gorges Dam. Another pipeline may be built to link the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers north of it. Spain has also made a similar plan. It will create a pipeline network to transport water from the Ebro River in Northern Spain to areas near the Eastern Mediterranean coast. Spain is one of Europe's driest countries.

Geography affects the availability of water and, in turn, water affects the geography of a country. Water is a major contributing factor in erosion. Over time it can erode land or rocks, for example the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River cut through the land area, but then dried up; leaving the area it had eroded away. Rivers and streams carry away loose sediment and debris, eventually taking them to the ocean. Also rivers can cut through mountains and valleys, creating new paths for themselves. This is seen a lot in the Alps of Europe. The direction of rivers can also change over time. For example, the Rhine used to drain into the Mediterranean before its path was directed north. The absence of water can also change a country's geography. If an area gets a drought then the rivers and streams will become dry, making once fertile areas barren and killing plants and animals.
The climate where a body of water is can affect the level of the water. For example, some of the rivers near the Mediterranean dry up during the summer because of a hot climate. Water can also affect where people settle. When people move into an area they change the geography. People need to live where there is water so that is where they move. This can be shown by cities being built near water, like Pittsburgh.

In conclusion, water and geography greatly affect one another. Water can change the geography of an area through erosion or flooding. Geography limits water accessibility, for example, if water is trapped inside a glacier or miles beneath the Earth's surface. Also, a country's geography may not be able to support fresh water that can be used by humans. It may only have salt water, like Singapore, or it could have a desert, like China. Countries spend a lot of money and time to move water so everyone can have access to it. But even with all those efforts many people still don't have enough water. It will probably take much more time, money and careful planning before this problem is solved.


$12bn pipeline could ease China drought

"Asia" Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 Edition


"Europe" Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 Edition

Grand Canyon

How much water is there on (and in) the Earth

Spain moves to ease water shortage

Taiwan battles severe drought

Three Gorges Dam Project

Water supply

Where is Earth's water located?


Geography and Water

By Paulette C.

"Water, Water everywhere but not a drop to drink" (Coleridge, A Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner). In some cases this could be considered true. Earth is 70% water, however we cannot drink or use a lot of it. Glaciers store about 75% of Earth's fresh water. Because the water is stored in the glaciers, it is preventing us from using it. Water can be found in liquid, solid, and gas form. Humans are made up of 2/3 of water; this shows how essential water is to our existence. Because water is so vital to life on earth humans have formed around the fresh water area's and have even found ways to transport and direct the fresh water to where they need it, we have even started the process of desalinization. This shows how water and geography are directly related.

Although many of the early countries were formed around freshwater, now many cities, land area's, and even whole countries do not have the water supplies they need to survive. Humans don't just need water to drink they need it to make the food that they eat and live off of too. Mozambique (Africa) is going through a severe drought because of its location. It doesn't have a lot of freshwater around. Because of this farmers and families were relying on the rain to grow crops. This means that about 113,00 Mozambican families, 565,000 people, will be having serious food shortages in the next few months. However in Northern Africa it the exact opposite. The Nile provides a constant supply of freshwater and this causes the agricultural area around it to be vast, healthy, and produces an abundant amount of food.

Lake Nassar and Aswan High Dam are both examples of how humans have changed the geography of the area to open the way to agricultural expansion, to use for hydro-electricity, and for drinking. The Aswan High Dam blocks the Nile River near the town of Aswan in Upper Egypt. The Construction of this Dam created Lake Nassar, the second largest artificial lake in the world. Lake Nassar made the previously arid land into irrigated farming lands. These two man made constructions have both improved the land and helped the people in Africa. The Aswan High Dam and Lake Nassar are both proof of how geography and water are strongly connected.

Some freshwater lakes that supply humans with water for various reasons are not manmade. Lake Victoria is a lake like Lake Nassar, in the sense that it is made from the water of Nile; however, it is unlike Lake Nassar because it is not manmade. Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest freshwater lake in the world. It borders Kenya, and is in Uganda and Tanzania. Lake Victoria is vital to many lives in Africa, not only does it supply drinking water and water for growing plants, Lake Victoria has a dam at its only outlet, Jinja, which is used to generate hydroelectric power. Africa is a good example of all the ways that water and geography are related.

South America has many examples of the relationship between water supply/use and geography. One fifth of the world's freshwater flows down the Amazon River, which is the second longest river in the world. The Amazon River also supplies the Rainforest with water; the water from the Amazon created the rainforests, the rainforests created rain, which supplies the Amazon with water. This creates a big cycle and proves that water and geography are directly related. Lake Valencia in South America is the biggest natural freshwater lake in the central-north part of Venezuela, which happens to be the most densely populated. This shows how humans have formed their colonies, cities, and homes around the area, which will supply them with fresh and usable water.

Although Humans did start out building in areas where water was available for them, now we have to make the water available. One way we do this is by putting the natural resource with a manmade structure. In the past way before modern times, humans only needed the water to drink, bathe, and maybe a few other unknown or small things. Now a days humans need the water to do various things, from making electricity to swimming. The dams in North America are broken down into percentages of what they are used for, 9% recreation, 10% is for water supplies, 11% irrigation, 11% hydro, 13% flood control, 15% other, and 31% multi-purpose. This shows how much we rely on dams and the natural freshwater resource the dam was built for. This shows that man can alter geography to get the freshwater, but it also shows that the geography for us to use water was pretty good if it only takes building a wall to keep it there for all those uses.

The Hoover Dam is a North American structure that alters geography and helps the people of the United States. The Hoover Dam works with a natural resource of freshwater, the Colorado River. This river floods yearly, the Hoover Dam gets this water and stores it for year round use. Hydroelectric power is one of the many benefits of the dam.

The overall point is that water and geography are so closely related that it is said that water is geography. Water determines where things are, where we as humans will build, and where animals will live. Water has the power to cut out land. Water created the place where we live today and it is changing it all the time. Although water does have the power to do this on its own, humans change its natural course, take things out, and sometimes even transfer it. This shows that geography is constantly changing due to water.


Groliers Encyclopedia-1996







Water and Government

By Katy K.

People would think, that because water covers 70% of the Earth's surface, the problem of ever running out of it would never be mentioned. However, only about 3% of that water we are able to use in our everyday life. Running out of water isn't the only problem that governments face when it comes to having good water. There are also problems with flooding which need to be fixed, and problems with contamination which are some of the more vital problems governments have.

Flooding has always been a problem in lots of places. Just in the US and average of over 125 people are killed from flooding each year, and property damages from flooding are in the billions.

Floods are caused by several factors, one of the most dangerous being inland flooding. This is when torrential rains gather when a storm is "stalled". This makes it so when the storm does occur, downpours of rain will fall, even when they are hundreds of miles from the ocean. Flooding also occurs when a river floods from a lot of rain or snowmelt, and is one of the more common kinds of flooding there are. One more kind of flooding is coastal flooding. Coastal flooding will mostly occur during hurricanes, causing the sea level to rise more than usual, and flooding anything in its path.

The way governments usually take care of floods is, if floods are occurring in one place fairly often, they will build a dam. This restricts the amount of water flow in one place, keeping amount floods from occurring in a place to a minimum. By doing this, the government keeps people from losing their property from flood damages, and by saving some peoples' lives.

Water contamination is also a very big issue when it comes to water conservation. This is a huge threat, not only to the environment and aquatic life, which it can kill, but water contamination can also be a threat to people. And example of this is the gasoline additive called MTBE. Since MTBE was introduced 20 years ago, it has contaminated thousands of drinking supplies around the country. MTBE can get into the environment by leaking out of poor storage tanks and there being gasoline spills. These spills can be as small as those that occur at a service station. If MTBE does get into your water, this additive will give it a "turpentine-like taste and odor" and making it not usable.

The contamination of water by MTBE is one of the bigger contamination problems that the US has, and in the year 2000, the Federal Reformulated Fuels Act was approved by the US Senate and Environment and Public Works Committee, that banned the use of MTBE in gasoline.

This doesn't happen only in the US, but all over the world. Contamination isn't always causes by MTBE, but there are hundreds of other hurtful chemicals in the world that can seep into reservoirs and natural waterways.

There are also problems worldwide when a country doesn't have access to water locally. To help with this problem, countries will buy there water from near-by fresh water sources, import it to where ever they need it, then treat it there. When the water gets to where it needs to where it needs to be, it is stored in reservoirs and then treated. Even if countries just have too much salt water nearby and not enough fresh, they still use this plan because the desalinization process is extremely expensive. However, some countries plan to use desalinization as a backup plan in the near future, incase of problems by importing fresh water.

Fresh water is such an extremely precious commodity, and if people are already fighting over water in some dry countries, and the countries that do have water don't take care of how they use it, there will not be enough water for people to live in the near future.


More on Water & Government

By Becca H.

Water is our most valuable renewable resource. Water by definition means a clear, colorless, odorless, and tasteless liquid, essential for most plant and animal life, and the most widely used of all solvents(substances suitable for or employed in solution, or in dissolving something) Water is the appropriate solvent of most salts, alcohol of resins, ether [a class of organic compounds] of fats. The government is in part responsible for taking care of water related issues, from importing water to places that do not have enough water, to dealing with natural disasters.

In Jordan water supplies are very scarce, making Jordan the most water poor country in a region known for extreme water poor countries. The people of Jordan identify the lack of water as a critical development constraint. USAID has also found water to be of great concern in Jordan. The failure to manage water resources would undermine all other aspects of development in Jordan. Already Jordan's aquifers(underground beds or layers of earth, gravel or porous stone that yeilds water) are being depleted extremely quickly and water rationing is a fact of life for most Jordanians. The annual water demand in Jordan is thought to increase to 1.2 billion cubic meters, far aboce the current 750 cubic meters now available on a sustainable basis. Per capita fresh water in Jordan also lags far behind that available in other countries. For Jordan it is only 170 cubic meters annually, a third of that available in Israel and Syria, and a fortieth of that available in the United States. Despite this difficult situation, more than half the water entering their water system is unaccounted for, with half of this loss attributed to administrative losses and the other half due to leakage. Jordan has developed a 14 year $5 billion plan to guide water investments in coming years. The plan hinges on two main approaches to narrowing the gap between water supply and water demand. First it includes improved water supply management. Second, it involves increased water use efficiency. Both approaches aim at ensuring that scarce water supplies are stretched further. Both approaches also figure prominently in USAID's own water sector program. In addition, through its involvement in processing wastewater management, USAID is helping abate serious environmental degradation while augmenting water supplies from a source that would otherwise be wasted.

Strengthening water institutions in Jordan focused on improving data collection and analysis, and installing new information management systems for the Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI), the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) and the Jordan Valley Authority (JVA) and developing key water policies. USAID designed and began a new water policy implementation program focused on reducing groundwater depletion and optimizing the reuse of treated wastewater. USAID also initiated a new program to encourage private sector participation in the water sector and an activity to strengthen the government's capability to develop, contract, and manage major infrastructure projects. With USAID assistance, the MWI is planning a major wastewater project and a private sector management contract for the Wadi Mousa water and wastewater facility under construction. In the agriculture sector, USAID is providing a variety of technical assistance focused on restructuring irrigation tariffs and increasing cost recovery for JVA. In coordination with other donors, USAID is also engaged in a policy dialogue with the Government of Jordan (GOJ) on the need for significant structural reforms in the irrigated agriculture sector.

Increased efficiency in use of water resources is yet another project to improve Jordan's situation with water. Improving the use of existing water supplies will help stretch scarce water resources even further. This includes reducing lossed due to leaks, contamination, and poor irrigation practices. In response to a drinking water crisis in 1998, USAID provided emergency assistance to allow the Zai Water Treatment Plant, which serves 40% of Amman, to reopen after an instance of contamination. USAID subsequently funded longer term improvements to the Zai Plant. These improvements enabled the plant to effectively treat the raw water and operate at full capacity throughout the summer of 1999, a period of sever drought. Furthermore, to ensure that the quality of water supplied to consumers meets national standards, USAID is financing the upgrading of the environmental health laboratory of the Ministry of Health, including the purchase of analytical equipment and staff training. USAID is also funding a portion (18 or 43 zones) or a multi-donor program to rehabilitate and restructure the entire water network of Amman and it is also rehabilitating ten springs and wells throughout the country. Support of a pilot program to enable irrigation extension agents to work directly with farmers in the Jordan Valley to reduce irrigation water use and increase yields is also one of USAID's initiatives in Jordan. Finally a new water education and media program carried out by a U.S. NGO in a partnership with Jordanian NGOs will be initiated.

Improving the quality of wastewater is also a USAID priority. Four major projects are currently in the design or construction phase. Construction of a new wastewater treatment plant near Petra is now about two-thirds complete. Once in operation, the plant will provide modern wastewater facilities for four communities and help to reduce environmental degradation around the Petra National Park, a Work Heritage Site. There is a design is underway for wastewater conveyance and treatment facilities in the north Jordan Balley and for expansion of the wastewater facility in Aqaba. These two projects will help Jordan meet its commitments under the 1994 peace Treaty with Israel to reduce pollution in the Jordan River and the Gulf of Aqaba. USAID is also planning to support the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant to replace the current plant at AsSamre, which is greatly overloaded. This project is being designed as a BOT with a grant component from USAID. When complete in 2004, the plant will serve over 2 million residents of Greater Amman and Zarka. In conclusion, the government is very important to Jordan's water supply.


Water & History

By Julia H.

There is an abundance of water on the Earth, but only 3% of that water is fresh, and most of that fresh water is frozen. This leaves a very small fraction of a fraction of fresh water for all of the Earth's creatures. Due to this limited amount of fresh water, issues arise on how to keep the earth alive.
There are a lot of water issues in the Middle East. Although Israel gets most of the water in the Middle East, they still have problems. One problem is over-pumping which is the use of more water than is allowed by the natural recharge of rain. The result of over-pumping effects the amount of available fresh water, and the reservoirs and water sources become reduced. In Israel they are so desperate for water that they are using sewage water for agricultural purposes.

There have always been fights over water in the Middle East, not only because it is needed, but also because it is considered sacred by at least three major religions. This has caused unrest between the major religions in the Middle East. Many countries say that the only reason that they would go back to war was because of water issues.

Countries like Singapore, who don't have any natural water resources import water from other countries. Singapore gets their water from Malaysia. They order raw water (untreated), and then they treat it themselves. Even though Singapore has a fairly small population, they still import 260,000,000 gallons of water per day; and it costs a penny per thousand gallons. Over any amount of time this will add up to a lot of money, so it is expensive to have to import (and treat) water. They hope to start desalination, so they can treat their seawater, but it will be a while before that happens.

In some religions water is considered to be holy, but if water is such a precious commodity, then why do we pollute it? We build dams, which stop the flow of fresh water, and we pollute it, which makes it undrinkable.

In places like Canada, they use ground water for their source of fresh water, but because of pollution their ground water became undrinkable. Pollution causes water to lose the ability to clean and renew itself.

The law in the west of the United States are the Western Water Laws which say that the first person to use the water at that place is the owner, and if they do not use their water for a certain amount of time they risk losing their ownership. The increasing populations in the western states have effected the amount of natural water, which has gone down. The demands for water have increased greatly over the last decade, and have caused some competition, and legal problems, especially during droughts. The demands for water have exceeded supplies, which is beginning to threaten fish and wildlife. It has gotten to the point where water rationing has been initiated during droughts.

These problems are not as bad in the East where the law is that if you own land around the water source, then you own it but you must share your water in times of drought. This eastern law has not caused as many water issues in the East as there have been in the West.

In conclusion, the issue of water shortages and pollution is a worldwide one that needs a lot of attention. The world is getting to a point where water is a huge global issue that it is beginning to cause disputes between religions and countries, it is also hurting the wildlife. Left undealt with, these problems can only grow larger and cause more pressure.


Water pollution

Drinking water

Saving the great lakes

Water issues/water rights in the western United States.

Definition of Israel's water problems

Last Oasis

"Water: to the last drop". Discovery Channel video


More on History & Water

By Liz N.

Water seems like it comes in vast amounts that is always there for our use. Though this might seem like the reality to some of us, water is becoming more and more of a problem throughout the world. Many countries are having droughts and water shortages that are getting increasingly worse, even the United States. Aquifers, surface water, and ground water, are all sources of water that provide many countries throughout the world. Aquifers are natural underground formations that contain water. Surface water includes rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Ground water collect in natural springs and wells and then are pumped up to be used. There may seem to be and abundance of these sources, but there are some threats to all of them. Pollution is being put into the water almost ever day. The water can sometimes clean itself if there is just a small amount of pollution in it. However, if there is too much pollution than the water cannot renew and cleanse itself. The pollutants can get into the surface water and ground water easily and damage the water, from farm runoff, sewer runoff, acid rain, animal waste, construction sites and mines, and sediment. The pollution in the water decreases the amount of fresh, healthy water that is available for drinking. There are many factors to the scarcity of water, and each country has their own problem.

In the United States and Canada, there have been some issues over the water in the Great Lakes. The International Joint Commission (IJC), is an organization created by the United States and Canada that solves water problems. The IJC released a Final Report of the International Joint Commission to the governments of the United States and Canada concerning protection of the waters of the Great Lake. The United States and Canada were worried about the use of the Great Lakes and their water management plans. The Great Lakes serve as a water source for some surrounding cities, and it has been suggested that they serve as a secondary water source South West United States. However, this would be unsuitable because there would be many costs to get the water there and the people near the Great Lakes need the water. The report says that they want the United States and Canada to "adopt a precautionary attitude to their water management planning." (Michaels 2). The IJC wants the government to conserve and protect the water in the Great Lakes; this water is greatly needed.

Water is distributed in three different ways, and there have been some conflicts on the allocation of water in the United States. Each states usually has their own laws on how water is distributed. There is the Eastern Water Law, which is based on the riparian rights. The riparian rights doctrine says that landowners near the water source can use the water, but they have to use it reasonably. If there is a drought, these landowners have to share their water with whoever needs it. There is also the Western Water Law, which is based on prior approbation. The prior approbation doctrine says that whoever gets to the water first has right over it, even if they do not own any property around the water source. If that person stops using the water, then they risk losing their rights to it. There are also other states that use forms of both doctrines, including California, Oregon, and Washington. Some states have made priorities to the use of the water. During droughts and the increasing of population in the East, there has needed to be some alterations to the riparian rights. For example, some of the uses of the water has been controlled and sometimes permits are needed to use a large amount of water, amounts from certain sources, and for the movement and sale of water. There have been criticisms over the distribution of the water and there have been some conflicts.

There have been new demands for water in the West because of drought and increased population, but there isn't enough water to meet the demand. The population in California has grown vastly over the past decade and there has been a new need for water. Because there isn't enough water in the Western states, they have been going through a drought. Water distribution has been initiated during the time of drought. Droughts are beginning to threaten wildlife and aquatic life. Restrictions on residential and commercial development have been limited, and many new buildings can't be built unless they have a set water source first.

There are many African and Middle Eastern countries that have water problems, including Israel. Israel is having very serious water issues due to over pumping and water pollution. Over pumping is the "use of more water than is permitted by the natural recharge of rain." Results of over pumping are salt water intrusion, which reduces the amount of fresh water to the Israeli people, and the reduction of the water in reservoirs and aquifers. Water pollution in Israel is caused by over pumping, sewage and fuel leaks, industrial waste and spills, etc. Water pollution adds chlorine, nitrates, salts, soluble organic materials, and heavy metals to the water, which can be very harmful. If there was recycling of materials, using waste as energy, and handling waste, then there could be a great reduction in the amount of water pollution. Israel is also having water problems because their expertise is very lacking. The authorities are scattered among eight nations and none of these people have total power. There has never been a general water plan for all of Israel. The last Water Commissioner was very bad. He worked with only one professional engineer and he threatened staff by not letting them publish anything he didn't approve of. Over the last twenty -three years, the Water Commissioner has not had a professional education. The leadership of Israel is very poor, therefore all of this country has to suffer because they are inefficient.

The Middle East is having a lot of water problems near Jordan, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Water is very scarce around these areas and it is becoming more and more of a problem to find sources. The river Jordan is the water source that is used. The river used to be very large, but now it is only a small creek. During the summer in this region, it is very cloudless and warm, so surface water evaporates very quickly, making it harder to find water. The total precipitation in the year averages to about 16 1/2 million cubic meters. This might seem like a lot, but humans can consume it very fast. The region is now suffering from the worst drought in the century. The water situation in Israel is better than that of Jordan and the West Bank. The amount of available fresh water in that region is not enough for the population now, and there will be nearly none for the future population. The population in Jordan, Israel, the West bank, and Gaza Strip is now 14 million, and it is estimated to be 23 million in 2025. There will not be a sufficient amount of water in the future to meet the demands of the population. Already, people are consuming water faster than it can be "recharged." A way to help with the water problem is to reclaiming it. A dual water piping system. One would be for usable water and another would be for the reclaimed water. The government may also have to step in to save water. They could raise prices of water, have "stingier" water spouts in the shower, make rules about water lawns and gardens, and require restaurants to serve water to only the guests who ask for it. Another way to get more water for the region is to trap rain water and then use that as a source. Desalination can also increase the amount of fresh water in the area. The salt can be removed from the ocean and then used as a fresh water source. Israel already has desalination plants, and plans to build more. If Jordan and the West Bank were to build desalination then the water problem in the region would get progressively better.

Singapore is one of the very few countries who doesn't have serious water problems yet. Singapore is on the ocean, so it gets their fresh water by buying most of their water, from Johor and Malaysia. Singapore can't completely rely on their reservoirs because the population demands more water than the reservoirs can supply. Singapore buys raw water from Malaysia and Singapore treats it themselves. Singapore buys 260,000,000 gallons of raw water from Malaysia a day. Raw water costs about a penny (US currency) per thousand gallons to import. Singapore doesn't buy treated water because the cost would be extra. There are currently sixteen reservoirs in Singapore which provide some of their fresh water, and nine treatment plants. Singapore has a plumbing and pipe system just like the United States. Singapore doesn't currently use desalination, but they plan to start in about five years. According to Singapore Embassy Officials, Singapore is very organized and know where there water is coming from. Fortunately, they have no real problems, yet.

In conclusion, water is an increasing problem throughout the world. As the population of the world will grow, there will be a greater scarcity of water. Many countries in the world have no water, while some have a small amount, and others have an abundance. Whether you are the country with no water, or the country with a lot of water, everyone should start to preserve and protect the water that is available to them, because someday, maybe in the near future, there could be major shortage of water which could start awful water issues.


"Definition of Israel's Water Problems"

Drinking Water

Saving The Great Lakes

Water Issues

Water Pollution Facts Sheet

Middle East Water Problems

Water Issues in America

By Anya B.

To Americans, clean water is a basic necessity. Seventy percent of the earth is water that cycles the planet. Ninety-seven percent of that water is saltwater in oceans and seas. Much of the freshwater on the planet is trapped in glaciers and the polar ice caps. This does not leave much water for humans to use. It is an ever increasing problem for Americans who take the water supply in the United States for granted. Some 218 million Americans live within ten miles of polluted water. Forty percent of nation's assessed waters are unsafe for fishing swimming, or supporting aquatic life. Americans extremely overuse water everyday. For example, humans ship bottled water throughout the United States daily. It is a very expensive process and it is not essential.

With so many water issues that America deals with, it is very important to work towards solving our problems so that the need for water never gets to a point where it is completely unavailable. Democrats are enforcing clean air and water laws that will ensure polluters will pay. It is very significant that this is happening and hopefully it will stop some of the pollution that enters our water.

One of the main pollutants in a waterway are chemicals. Humans put chemicals in the water through several different ways including runoff from farms, fields, and forests. Chemicals in the water can affect aquatic life all over the waterway. If one animal eats something that has had chemicals, the toxins can be carried through to another animal if the first animal is eaten. This is become an ever increasing issue that can be stopped by preventing chemicals from getting in the water. States with water-bodies are obligated to identify waters in their borders that did not meet certain standards. The states must also have a requirement of pollutants allowed to enter the water. Regulators at the water-bodies must also keep control of how much waste is being deposited into the water.

Americans are also causing a problem with the water supply in the United States by destroying the wetlands. Wetlands provide a enormous source of water from trees that take in and store water through their root system. The trees give water to other plants in the wetlands, who give off oxygen to sustain human life. By destroying the wetlands, we are destroying our own supply of oxygen. This problem can be easily be solved by educating people to preserve our wetlands.

Other water issues that American's face are not human related are floods and droughts. There is no real way to prevent droughts. Floods can be stopped by building dams. Dams are used for irrigation and hydroelectric power. The dams built sometimes cause problems because they toil with water that flows into other countries such as Canada. This is a problem that has to be solved by negotiating and deciding how to build a dam so it does not affect the water supply of another country.

The Mississippi river is a large source of water in the United States. Therefore, it is very important that it is conserved and protected. The Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee is regulating pollution, sediment, flooding, "channelization," and public use on the river so it remains a clean place and can continue to be of use to Americans.

Although Americans do have many problems with water issues, we have a much better supply than Singapore. "Singapore does not have a main source of water." Said an official of the Singapore embassy. "This means that we have to ship all of our drinking water in from close-by regions, it is very expensive and has to be done daily," she said.

In conclusion, Americans are faced with big problems in the decreasing supply of water in the country because of many problems we create. These problems are working to be solved through many regulations and laws and hopefully they will be sometime soon.


"Water: to the last drop" (Discovery Channel video)

Clean Water/ Water quality

Upper Mississippi river conservation committee



Water Issues in America

By Jeralyn J.

There are numerous and varied water issues across the United States. They include flooding, drought, acid rain, water quality, beach erosion, wetlands, and water allocation. These issues affect and involve us at many levels such as water users, landowners, farmers, commercial and sports fisherman, urban water suppliers, navigational interests, hydropower customers, recreationists, and environmentalist. These issues compel us to find ways to augment local water supplies, maintain and improve navigation, and control and prevent floods and shoreline erosion. Some are naturally occurring and others are caused by humans.

Some problems that are naturally occurring include drought, flooding, and beach erosion. Drought is a normal recurrent feature of climate and can occur in all climatic zones of the country. Two types of drought that affect the United States are agricultural drought and hydrological drought. Agricultural drought involves top soil and sub soil moisture levels, and effects the susceptibility of crops during different stages of crop development from emergence to maturity. Hydrological drought is the affect of periods of precipitation short falls on surface or sub surface water supply such as stream flow, reservoir and lake levels, and ground water. Floods are common and costly natural disasters that cause damage to property and crops. The annual cost of flood damage in our country is more than $2 billion. About a hundred people lose their lives to floods each year. They can occur anywhere where a storm produces more runoff than the stream can carry and where a dam fails, ice jams or landslides block a channel, or when snow melts too fast in a river. High lake levels, high tides, or waves driven ashore by strong winds can flood dry lands. Flashfloods, very rapid increases in runoff, also occur, but mainly in small streams. The United States has roughly 80000 miles of coastline. The entire coastal area faces erosion problems. The East Coast erosion is more severe than on the West Coast, but both seriously affect property development. The whole northern coast of Alaska including oil drilling areas in Prudoe Bay and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge face severe erosion problems.

Some United States water issues that are factored by humans are acid rain, water quality, wetlands, and water allocation. Acid rain is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Though it originates in urban areas, it is often carried for hundreds of miles by winds into rural areas. Some fish, animals, and plants have trouble surviving in an acidic environment caused by acid rain. It also can eat away at some buildings. Many factors contribute to the water quality in the United States. Our water has been contaminated from industrial, domestic, and agricultural chemicals. It endangers plant and animal life, the quality of our drinking water, and the quality of water for recreational use. The value of wetlands as a resource has more recently been recognized. They used to be drained or altered because they were seen as having little value. Now it is known that alteration extends well beyond the immediate area because wetlands are usually part of a larger water system. Wetland values can include water purification, habitat for plants and animals, production of fish and shellfish, water storage (including mitigate the effects of floods and droughts), and timber production. Part of the problem is whether landowners have the right to develop as they see fit or whether the federal government should regulate their use to protect the environment. The way the water is allocated is a water issue. Each state has its own laws regarding the control and use of waters within the state. There are two different water law doctrines to handle water supply disputes. Eastern water law is largely based on "riparian rights," where landowners adjacent to a stream each have the right to make "reasonable" use of its waters. Riparian rights are not lost through disuse and all users share in times of drought. Western law is predominantly based on a system of "prior appropriation." The first water user to take water from a given stream usually has the priority for use of the water, regardless of whether the user owns streamside land or on what land the water is used. Right holders must continue using the water or risk losing the right. In a drought senior rights are fully met until the available water is exhausted.

The tremendous growth of our country's population has brought with it the growth of water problems and issues. Man continues to burden the environment with pollutants and excessive development. Nature does its share with droughts, beach erosion, and flooding. The U.S. has numerous water issues anywhere water is.


Acid Rain: Do you need to start wearing a rainhat?

Beach Erosion


Floods and Flood Plains

Understanding and Defining Drought

U.S. Government Activities

Water Allocation in the West

Water Quality

Wetlands Issues

Water and the Economy

By Alex M.

Many places in the world have a lack of water, which they need. These areas have many options to obtain the water. Desalinating ocean water, drawing water from underground springs, and importing water from other places through pipes are just a few ways to bring water to places that don't have enough. This essay will focus on the different ways that territories can get fresh water that can be used for the growing populations, and how these processes affect the economies of these areas.

Desalinization is the process of removing salt from ocean water so people can use it. It is a very complicated procedure that is very expensive, that is why a lot of places do not use desalinization. However, a lot of countries in the Middle East do use desalinization as their prime source of fresh water. Right now desalinization is becoming an option for many more areas, like the United States and Singapore.

Singapore imports most of their water from Johor, Malaysia. This arrangement started when Singapore was a colony of Britain, who arranged from them to receive water through a network of pipes from Johor. Singapore is planning to begin using desalinization in five years because they are in disagreement with Malaysia about the type of water that is brought through the pipes. Malaysia wants to sell Singapore treated water, water that is already been through the cleaning process, which is more expensive. Singapore doesn't want to buy treated water because there are nine treatment plants in Singapore, they do not want to spend more money on water they can treat themselves. Plus, people who worked in treatment plants would lose their jobs if Singapore imported treated water. This is why Singapore plans to begin using desalinization, although it is very costly Singapore is a rich country and it would not be their primary source of water. Right now Singapore gets its total water supply from nineteen natural reservoirs, nine treatment works, fifteen storage reservoirs, and a system of about 5150 kilometers of pipeline. Singapore plans to import water from a small Indonesian island instead of Malaysia but it is much farther away and the cost of putting in pipes would be very high. The cost of importing raw water is not very much, only about 3 sen per 1,000 gallons, which is about 780,000 sen ($2618.27) per day, and 286,700,000 sen ($955,666.66) per year. Singapore hopes to come to an agreement with Malaysia about importing water because it is so inexpensive, but they still plan to use desalinization for security reasons, just in case.

Another area that is in need of water is Florida. Central Florida has been going through drought conditions for the past several years. The cause of this drought is that rainfall is scarce and the water needs are growing. Freshwater wells have been drying up, lakes and ponds have been converted into swamps and grasslands. Florida has an underground aquifer, an underground bed or layer of earth, gravel, or porous stone that relinquishes water, that has retreated farther and farther away from the surface. Florida has a growing population, and less water; therefore, desalinization could be useful for Florida. It is a peninsula, so it is surrounded by salt water on three sides, and there is a growing need for water that Florida just does not have. This is the same exact situation that is occurring in Southern California, and many regions of the United States. A small, but important and growing, need for new sources of fresh water is emerging as a result of drought circumstances, high population increase, and decline of existing water supplies from contamination and overuse. Desalinization could be helpful to all these areas, but is being considered carefully because of the cost and complexity of the process.

In tropical nations hydrodynamicists are using a structure called the Hurricane Tower to simulate the natural process of hurricanes desalinization. The hurricane's spiral send the water up to a cold part of the atmosphere and then down again as fresh water; thus desalinating the sea water. Since hydrodynamicists can't control when hurricanes occur they built their own hurricane. The Hurricane Tower sends water through the exact same process as when an actual hurricane occurs, the only difference is that the hydrodynamicists can control the Hurricane Tower, and it's very high-priced. Right now hydrodynamicists are looking for money to fund their project.

Desalinization is a very useful process, but it is also very costly. This is why many nations are reluctant to begin using it. Although some areas are in desperate need of water, using desalinization could have a very negative affect of the economy. For many other areas, the need for water has not become a major problem, yet, and so they are waiting to use desalinization until they absolutely have to, which they hope they never will. They do not want to invest in a procedure that they never really needed, especially when it is so expensive. These areas, like Florida and Southern California, are hoping that a new, less expensive way, to get fresh water will be discovered before they have a major problem. Nations like Singapore though, are faced with a tougher decision. The need for water is immediate, that is why a lot of nations in the Middle East, like Singapore, have decided to use desalinization to get fresh water. Fortunately, most have not seen a negative affect on the economy from using this process. Desalinization is a high priced process that even though some nations don't want to use it yet, will probably be the best choice for most places in getting an adequate amount of fresh water to keep a growing population alive.








More on water & the economy

By Diana J.

Water has long been known as a limiting factor among population size, industry, agriculture, and the general economy. It has caused, and could cause in the future, conflict between countries, sending them to war to solve their water problems. People have long been trying to find alternative solutions to their water shortages besides conservation, not wanting to compromise their water. This has been one of the main reasons for water shortages, not including natural disasters, such as droughts.

Today many countries are trying to find an ultimate solution to their problems. For instance, Singapore, a city-state off the coast of Asia, has little natural resources of its own. It imports raw water from Johor, Malaysia, by pipeline, spending about 780,000 sen per day, and 286,700,000 sen per year. This is the equivalent of $2,618.27 US per day, and $955,666 US per year. Since Malaysia is not a completely reliable country in terms of water (there could be a drought), Singapore is trying to find a solution to their problem. Right now they buy up to 260 million gallons of water per day, and have sixteen reservoirs, and nine treatment plants. The Indonesian President Abdurrahaman Wahid wants to stop buying missiles and other army equipment, and to invest the billions saved on water desalinization plants. Though this would be more expensive than importing raw water from Malaysia, it would be a more reliable solution. Some government officials have even suggested the idea of using recycled water, if the public will comply. Also, to increase water conservation, the government is placing water conservation into its school curriculum, and has also put scary analogies into comic books, such as a wasted planet that has consumed all of its water.

Another country experiencing water difficulty is Cambodia. Their economy is based mostly on fishing, and because of water trouble, fish are becoming more and more scarce. Because of overfishing and development (including natural waste), Tonle Sap, one of the main lakes that Cambodia depends on, is dying. Illegal logging has made hills bare, causing silt to run off into the lake. Pesticides from neighboring farms are killing the fish, and other living organisms in the lake. Too many people are dependent on this lake, and Cambodia's population is expected to double again (it doubled once in 2000) in 2020. Another threat to the lake is the Cambodian firm Pheapimex, whose owner recently won a 300,000-hectare concession for a eucalyptus plantation in the Pursat province, on the southwest corner of Tonle Sap. The eucalyptus will drain water and nutrients from the soil, and lower the water table dramatically. It has been suggested to give local communities along the lake more control, which would ensure a fairer distribution of fishing areas. Environmentalists are working hard to convince the government that Cambodia's problems are real, and that they must do something about it.

Morocco is yet another country who is currently experiencing water problems. They have had an ongoing drought for the past two years, which is killing their economy. Morocco's economy depends largely on agriculture. It contributes an annual 20% to the country's GDP (gross domestic product), valued at 60 billion US dollars, and employs almost half of a 10 million workforce. Crops have died, and the animals that farmers raise are starving. According to statistics from the agricultural department, rainfall nationwide average stood at 25 millimeters from November to March. This year's rainfall is the lowest Morocco has ever recorded in the past decade. Since crops are getting sparse, prices are going up. The government is trying to help, and earmarked a 655 million US dollar budget, of which 65% will finance job-generating projects in rural areas, in order to help farmers keep their land. About 70% of Morocco's 5.3 million hectares of cultivatable land have been affected by the drought. Government officials have suggested that Morocco ensure a better management of water dams and resources. The government is trying desperately to come up with a quick solution, to keep Morocco's economy from falling because of their water shortage.

Another city that has been having recent water problems is Mexico City. They are struggling with problem of how to prevent residents from drowning in rainwater and their own waste, which is now overflowing out of the Grand Canal in their city. This has caused a water shortage, as well as the obvious sewage excess. City officials are considering the possibility of recycling rainwater into drinking water. In 1940, the metropolitan population was 2 million, and last year, it topped 18 million people. The city was generating 13,000 gallons of sewage per second, and it was all going into the Grand Canal. By the time the Grand Canal reaches its six-mile mark, the water contains methane and sulfuric acid. The government is now reopening old wells, encouraging conservation, and recycling some wastewater for industrial use. A million people in Mexico City still do not have a steady supply of water. Government officials are dreaming of making the waste pure, or "from toilet to tap".

Water affects the economy of all countries, directly (through shortages and having to import it from other countries) and indirectly (through droughts which effect crops and then the market, etc.). It is the once resource that all humans need, and cannot be done without. As mentioned before it is the limiting factor among all people and countries, and can cause immense problems. Many today are realizing that these problems are real, and that something must be done in order to save their country, people, and their economy.


Al-Aly, Nizar: Morocco: Drought Threatens Economy ­Newsdesk

Linden, Eugene: The Last Drops ­TIME

Meyer, Mahlon: Nor Any Drop to Drink ­Newsweek

Zarembo, Alan: The Canal From Hell ­Newsweek


Case Study: Water In Italy

By Chrissy L.

Italy is a country with many different water issues, some are good and some are not. In addition to being a peninsula, Italy has many rivers and lakes throughout its lands, which gives the country a lot of different waterways. Italy is a very big country with a large population of people needing water to live, but unfortunately, there is not enough for everyone. And the water that is available is being wasted by the people because they are polluting it. The people cannot just drink the water right out of the ocean because it's salt water. The water must be desalinated first, which is costly.

One particular city that is having problems with water is Turin, Italy. In October 2001, there were major floods in Turin that caused a lot of damage and forced people to flee their homes and head for higher ground. The flood reportedly killed at least 25 people and another 21 are still missing. Even as the floodwater decreased, the Italian Government declared a state of emergency in Turin, as well as in other cities including Val d' Aosta, Piedmont, and the port of Genoa. During the flood, the waters of the Po River, Italy's longest river, reached its highest levels ever reported. Damage estimates ran into the hundreds of millions dollars. The floods are also hampered the industry of Italy. Factories shut down because their products could not get delivered. The floods also closed many roads, more than 173, making travel and evacuation very difficult. Approximately 32,000 people had to be evacuated.

Another problem that Italy has experienced with its water is pollution. Italy doesn't have a lot of water in the first place, and for over 50 years, the people of Italy have used it and polluted it. Because of this problem Italy is passing laws to insure the pollution doesn't get worse. Italy has enforced laws that make every region is in charge of it's own water source and it makes it so that waste can not be discharged freely.

Venice is known for its beautiful waterways. Tourists enjoy riding gondolas on the rivers and the local people use them to travel around. But the water in Venice is rising very quickly and causing problems for the city. The people are now very worried about their safety. The water in Venice is also becoming very polluted. Everyone is hoping that the new pollution laws will help to improve the quality of the waters of Venice.

Another city in Italy that is having problems with water is Milan. Milan has two problems with water. The first problem is flooding. The amount of people living in Milan affects this because the amount of sewage being discharged into surface waters caused a big increase in the amount of water which flows into watercourses and the saturation of the downflow volume of some rivers. Another problem that Milan is having that is causing flooding is all of the expansion on the banks that causes significant narrowing of the banks. The second problem is the problem of pollution. The main cause of pollution is the fact that many towns and rivers discharge their unpurified waste into the water because the sewage plants have never been built. Milan has also detected metal pollution in their waters as well, which is typical of industrial waste. Rivers that have had the highest level of pollution are Olona, Lura and Bozzente, Seveso, and many more. Man made waterways are less polluted but are not free from risks.

According to Italian Embassy officials, the first pollution control bill was passed in 1973 because the protection of the Venice lagoon was being considered a matter of national importance. They also passed two more bills for the Venice waterways in 1984 and 1992 with hopes of protecting the Venice lagoons and seashores. Italy is trying to protect the Venice lagoon's changing, protect the seashore.


National Geographic (http://www.nationalgeographic.com)

CNN (http://www.cnn.com)

World Fact Book (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/it.html)

ABC (http://www.abcnews.com)

Venia (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=http://www.venetia.it/&prev=/search%3Fq%3DVenice%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Dactive)

Italy's Water Purity

By Holland B.

Italy is a country blessed with abundant freshwater resources, though the water is distributed unevenly, which sometimes causes problems. But there nevertheless is plenty of water (Italy's per capita water withdrawal is high for Europe).

Venice is the perfect example. Venice practically IS water....the most popular means of travel is via gondolas. But over the years it has become apparant that these resources have only provided more oppurtunities for pollution. For example, a recent Greenpeace survey shows that the chemicals PCB and DDT are released in to the water are a hundred more times in the Venetial canals then the rest of heavily polluted water bodies in Europe.

Another problem exists in the fact that the sewage is dealt with very loosely. The treatment plants are either disfunctional, or they operate very poorly. Some cities do not have any treatment plants. Many Italian cities (Milan , for example) allow their sewage to flow directly into streams and rivers. Allowing this to happen has not helped the levels of pollution. A recent sampling showed that over half of Italy's waterbodies are polluted, with about 18 % of them severly polluted. Undoubtedly, this is due to the sewage being allowed into streams and rivers.

Allowing untreated water to flow into streams and rivers has also affected Italy in another way. Milan, owing to it's lack of water treatment, has been cited as one of the major problem areas that contributes to leukemia. Therefore, there are many reasons why the Italian government should begin to take better care of their water. However, steps are being taken already.

In order to remedy these problems, the Italian government has been taking steps. In 1986, a Ministry of Enviroment was created, to solve problems such as water quality. Also, the Three Year Plans have been in effect for some time now. They give 43 % of funding to wastewater treatment. They also have created fifteen reginonal river basin authorities. Another step is a water resources act, called Leggae Gali, has been passed. Leggae Gali promotes the consolidation of water managment entities. In addition, the Gali Law provides the pricing for good sewage /water services. It also defines the Optimal Territorial Areas (watersheds) the regional governments. An authority, or authorities, were then supposed to decide the amount of service that would be required for their watershed (pollution, matinenance, etc. ) Representatives for all of Europe gathered with other representatives from Africa, Latin America, North America, and Asia to discuss water quality issues. One of the objectives at the end of the meeting was to promote the fight against forming other, newer, water pollution sources in all of Western Europe.


Market Assessment

Italy: Areas of Concern

Italy: Guiding Principles

Serving the Munincapal Water/Wastewater Industry

Platts Global Energy

International Enviroment Daily


Water and Africa

By Hillary B.

Africa is the second largest of the Earth's continents. Thirteen percent of the Earth's population, some 797 million people, make their home in Africa. Seven main climactic zones can be distinguished. The continent boasts the world's largest desert, the Sahara, and the world's longest river, the Nile. It is rich in natural resources: Africa has some of the world's largest reserves of gold, diamonds, copper, bauxite, manganese, nickel, platinum, cobalt, radium, germanium, lithium, titanium, and phosphates. However, despite these natural gifts, achieving effective control of the water supply is a major problem in Africa.

There are areas in Africa that have an overabundance of water; great swamps exist, and large areas suffer from periodic flooding. Some places receive only irregular rainfall and must store water as insurance against delayed or deficient rains. Vast areas in Africa suffer low rainfall. The greatest of these regions is the Sahara, itself.

The largest desert on Earth extends over the northern part of Africa. It is about 1,000 miles wide and 3,200 miles long. The total area of the Sahara is more than 3.5 million square miles, of which some 80,000 square miles consist of partially fertile oases. The climate is uniformly dry. Most areas average less than five inches of rain per year, and some get no rain at all for years at a time. Politically, the Sahara lies mostly in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Egypt and Sudan. The last two countries, along with Ethiopia, are also the countries that the Nile River flows through.

From its principal source, Lake Victoria the Nile flows north a distance of 3,470 miles. From its remotest headstream in Burundi, the river is 4,160 miles long. The river basin itself covers an area of more than 1,293,000 square miles. Irrigation along much of the river supports the growth of agricultural products such as cotton, wheat, sorghum, dates, citrus fruits, sugarcane, and various legumes. The Niles' principal river ports are Luxor and Aswan in Egypt and WadiHalfa, Dunqulah, Kuraymah, Kusti, Malakal and Juba in Sudan. To raise water levels for irrigation in the late 19th century, several dams were built across the Egyptian Nile, the most important being at Qina, Asyut, and north of Cairo. Lake Nasser resulted from the damming of the Nile by the Aswan dam in the early 1960s. The level of the lake fluctuates with the regional rainfall

Annual summer flooding of the Nile once deposited rich sediment along its banks, creating fertile farmland. However, the dams now control the flooding, drastically reducing sedimentation and fertility. The dams' environmental impact has been profound, as stretches of the river above the dams have become clogged with silt, and decreased flooding has led to increased erosion and greater salt content in the soil and water of the delta. The Nile and the Sahara aren't the only source of Africa's water trouble, though.

Potential 'water wars' are likely in areas where rivers and lakes are shared by more than one country, according to a UN Development Program (UNDP) report. The possible areas where this could happen are the Nile, Niger, Volta and Zambezi basins. The report predicts population growth and economic development will lead to nearly one in two people in Africa living in countries facing water scarcity or what is known as 'water stress' within 25 years. Water scarcity is defined as less than 1,000 cubic meter of water available per person per year. Water stress means that less than 1,500 cubic meter of water is available per person per year. The report says that by 2025, 12 more African countries will join the 13 that already suffer from water stress or water scarcity. If the combined population of the three countries the Nile runs through rises as predicted from 150 million today to 340 million in 2050, then there could be intense competition for increasingly limited water resources. There is also another potential water war in Southern Africa involving Botswana, Namibia and Angola. Fresh water is also becoming increasingly unusable because of pollution.

Given increasing populations, Worldwatch identifies one way of easing demands for water - importing grain. Agriculture is by far the biggest user of water in Africa, accounting for 88% of water use. It takes about 1,000 tons of water to produce every ton of grain. Already the water needed to produce the annual combined imports of grain by the Middle East and North Africa is equivalent to the annual flow of the Nile. Importing grain is much easier than importing water, but for poorer countries in Africa, it may not be an option. For this reason, the UN proposes monitoring worldwide reserves of drinking water and establishing agreements for the use of water. This shows that it may be possible to end Africa's water crisis, but it will take a lot of time and effort. Solving the problems with water in Africa will be a big step toward solving the world's problems with water.










Water in Nigeria

By Nafisa M.

"Water, Water everywhere, and not a drop to spare". This statement may not be true in the United States, but in other countries, like Nigeria, it is. Here in the U.S., most people take water for granted. They leave the facet on when they're brushing their teeth, don't turn off the water after they finish taking a shower, etc. Some people in Nigeria don't have such a luxury. In fact, everybody is doing the best they can to conserve the little water that they have, but even the water they have is not fit to use. The rivers, lakes and streams are mostly contaminated, and they are a breeding ground for all kinds of diseases.

Nigeria has abundant surface water resources, and receives a large part of their water supply from drainage arteries of West and Central Africa, south of the Sahara. It's well drained with a close network of rivers, lagoons, lakes, and streams, most of which have less water during the dry seasons. Water mostly lacks in the northern part of Nigeria, during extended dry seasons. The major surface water resources of Nigeria are from Niger, and Benue rivers, Lake Chad, and the Cross River.

Even though Nigeria is well supplied in water, some parts of Nigeria (mostly the rural area). In fact, the water supply in the urban part of is larger and more sanitary than the rural area. Many of the poor people who live in the rural areas of Nigeria have limited and unreliable access to water for sustenance farming. The poor people often pay the most money for water services from their low income, and suffer the most from health and economic declination as a result of scarcity of the water supply. The low level of water results in poor health, especially in young children. The children are the most unhealthy of the people, with an infant mortality rate of 170 per 1000 live births. Of the deaths from infectious diseases, diarrhea disease, dysentery, malaria, and tetanus account for 65 %. The majority of these diseases are related to children under five years of age. The status of rural water supply in Nigeria are characterized by low level coverage resulting from relatively weak political commitment, difficult geology strata, inappropriate technology, lack of operation and maintenance of existing facilities, poor workmanship by dubious characters, and lack of sense of ownership by communities.

In Nigeria, there are many waterborne diseases. One common disease is sail fever (schistosmiasis), which is caused by a blood fluke transmitted from snail to person when they go swimming or bathing. Another waterborne disease is river blindness (onchocerciasis), which is caused by a worm that is transmitted to humans through biting black flies that live in the fast moving rivers. They worms migrate to they eyes, damaging tissues and making the disease the leading cause of blindness in West Africa. Elephantiasis (lymphatic filariasis) is an infection that causes swelling of the leg. The parasite is a worm that blocks the lymph system and it is transmitted by mosquito bites, and sometimes person to person. Vaccines can prevent none of these diseases, and the most common way to get the diseases is through water, whether it be drinking or bathing.
The Nigerian water resource minister, Alhahji Muktari Shagari, estimates that over 400 million people will live in at least 17 water scarce African countries by 2010. He says that the lack of water will severely constrain food production, ecosystem protection, and economic development in the affected countries. He also says, " With recurring drought and chronic water shortages in many area, the majority of African countries and people pay an increasingly high price for water or the lack of it." He warned that over 800 million people currently on the continent still do not have access to safe water, and even more people lack adequate sanitation, while aquatic species, habitats and ecosystems are also at risk. With increasing water demand throughout Africa to support greater agricultural production, industrial expansion and urban growth, more water is required to meet human needs. This is why there is an urgent need for an African ministerial conference such as AMCROW that will provide response to the water crisis in Africa. In addition, according to the United Nations, more that one billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water. Two million of those people, mostly in Africa, die because the water supplies aren't being managed properly, while half of the global population lacks adequate sanitation.

In conclusion, even though the water situation in Nigeria seems pretty bad, there are a few things being done to get more water to the people. For one thing, they built more pipes to get water to the villages, and the rural areas, and they also tried setting up a system of boreholes, but that wasn't too successful. As for the treatment of the water, there isn't much being done for its purification. The government uses basic chemicals to clean the water. I'm sure the government will pay more attention to the water, if the situation gets worse than it already is.


Over 400 million Africans to face water shortage: Nigeria officials