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Tensions Rise as Water Levels Fall: How Likely are Water Wars?

14922703403_9c5b94f6dd_zAnyone who’s been paying attention for the past forty years has surely seen the global tensions caused by oil and the ownership thereof. That countries fight over crude oil to run the machinery and transportation of the world is not news. What might surprise you is the way that nations are beginning to worry over water. Climate changes and geo-political concerns are altering the way businesses and consumers look at water.

Many global regions are sinking

China’s capital city of Beijing is suffering such a serious depletion of groundwater, more than 20 million local citizens are currently facing dreadful trouble with building foundations, roadways and rail systems. In addition to being one of the most water-stressed metropolitan regions on the planet, Beijing is also tapping into the enormous North China Plain aquifer. If measures are not taken to stem the depletion of groundwater beneath Beijing, the situation is sure to become much, much worse.

Beijing is not alone in its water woes. According to National Geographic magazine, the cities of Shanghai and Mexico City are suffering so much groundwater depletion, they are in danger of sinking. In fact, the central valley of California is already sinking. In some places, the valley floor has dropped nearly 30 feet over recent years, and it’s all due to groundwater depletion.

National Geographic explains that an enormous percentage of the world’s groundwater is used to supply drinking water to humans and for the agriculture that feeds them. Long relied on to provide emergency water reserves in times of drought, global aquifers are now under great stress. In fact, the United Nations is predicting a major shortfall in groundwater by the year 2030. In human terms, this translates to some two billion people who are in danger of losing their water supplies in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Richard Damania is a lead economist at the World Bank. He notes that there are not many things in this world harder to regulate and control than groundwater supplies. Damania also voices his alarm at the fact that although the Ogallala Aquifer has been under stress for decades, farming companies continue to remove groundwater at an unsustainable rate. Damania predicts increasing civil unrest in countries such as Saudi Arabia, where modern farming practices, including the rapid depletion of groundwater, are being utilized to produce farm crops that have not been grown in that part of the world before.

The countries of Syria, Jordan and Yemen are also experiencing severe water stress. Water riots in Yemen are not uncommon, and experts explain that water scarcity was a major factor in Syria’s recent civil war. NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti says that the groundwater aquifers most endangered lie under the world’s most populated areas, and that the situation is bound to become worse if nothing is done right away. The most stressed aquifers include the Indus Basin aquifer in northwest India and Pakistan, the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa, and the  Arabian Aquifer System below Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

“Without sustainable groundwater reserves, global security is at far greater risk. As the dry parts are getting drier, we will rely on groundwater even more heavily. The implications are just staggering and really need to be discussed at the international level.”

Why is groundwater being depleted at such an alarming rate?

According to National Geographic, much of the world’s water woes can be directly traced to inadequate technology, failing city infrastructure, leaking municipal water pipes, bad water management and increased human populations.

What can be done to stop the depletion of precious groundwater?

It’s not all bad news. Fortunately, some cities are taking steps to stanch the overuse of underground aquifers. Abernathy, Texas is one of those cities. There, they are combining two smaller aquifers to provide one large, sustainable water supply for West Texas. Perth, Australia is desalinizing water to provide potable drinking supplies to the population of Western Australia. Even China is working on a solution to its own groundwater crisis.

Protect yourself and your family

Most people are unaware of the current water crisis unfolding in America and around the world. Those who pay attention are saving water and installing water purification systems to ensure potable drinking water for their families in times of serious drought. Reading the reviews at planbprep.com made it easy for many of these survival-minded people to obtain the gear and supplies they need to feel secure in times of trouble.

The future of water is uncertain, but with scientists and researchers working on ways to ensure safe water supplies for the citizens of the world, there may be hope after all.

About the author: Jasmine Hunt is a prepper. She writes about prepping and practicing her survival skills ready for when civilization, as we know it, ends. A hippy at heart, Jasmine is often thought of as ‘extreme’ by those who don’t know her, but is a friendly soul with a heart of gold. Look out for her around the web! Image: james j8246

 

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