Providing water for our still growing human population is reaching crisis levels. Water is vital for agriculture, energy production and industrial processes worldwide. Floods and droughts in Asia, Latin America, Europe and the United States accompanied unprecedented typhoons and winter storms. While none could be linked directly to climate change, the debate surfaced. Mainstream media started covering these issues more broadly.
Sri Lanka is heading into a major crisis under extreme heat, as the rains stay away. Fears are growing of power cuts and interruption to the water supply because reservoir levels are running scarily low.
The Yemeni capital of Sanaa is reputed to be over 2,500 years old, making it one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. But it is living on borrowed time.
For the last 13 years, Trynos Mbweku, the headman of Mwenezi district in southeastern Zimbabwe, has had to use a cart to fetch water from the only remaining borehole in his area, which lies some 10 kilometres from his home.
The Solomon Islands, a developing island nation in the south-west Pacific Islands, has one of the highest urbanisation rates in the region, and the basic service infrastructure is struggling to cater for the influx of people from the provinces to the capital, Honiara. Thirty-five percent of the city’s population, who live in informal settlements, are facing the health consequences of a dire shortage of clean water and sanitation.
Two of the three main objectives of the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal project grapple with how to “save the Dead Sea” and “build a symbol of peace in the region.” With Israeli-Palestinians relations and the Dead Sea at an all time low, questions arise whether the ‘Red-Dead Canal’ (as it is known in environmental jargon) could save not only the hyper-saline desert lake but peace itself.
The World Bank has declared the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal project feasible. Designed to “save the Dead Sea”, “desalinate water and/or generate hydroelectricity at affordable prices in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority”, and “build a symbol of peace in the Middle East”, the scheme, green groups warn, is fraught with environmental hazards.
A coastal city, Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, is an area where people have relied on the ocean for food and employment for as long as they have lived there.
Of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -development targets agreed upon by the international community, whose 2015 deadline is approaching fast - MDG 7 has proven a particular challenge, especially for sprawling, populous countries like India.
The Kwanza river in the heart of Angola will be a symbol of Brazilian partnership in African development when power stations along the country's main source of water are fully operational.
Swiss energy companies are determined to turn the country into a 'battery for Europe'. Vast investments are made in big-scale water power projects. But it is not certain they will eventually pay off.
José Geraldo Matos fondly recalls the massive traíras (Hoplias sp), carnivorous freshwater fish found in the lagoons and rivers of Brazil, that he used to catch in the Dos Cochos River just a few metres from his house.
“With more than 60 percent of the world projected to be urban by 2030 why not prepare for it and build cities that include biodiversity preservation into planning?” asks Kobie Brand of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability in Cape Town, South Africa.
With the rains over Gopalganj district intensifying each year and much of Baikantapur village permanently waterlogged, Bijoy Kumar Sen had little choice but to abandon traditional rice farming and grow vegetables on bairas – floating islands built of straw and aquatic plants.
Gafsa region in the south of Tunisia was once an oasis; today the phosphate industry has plunged it into a water crisis.