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Water-wise?

By JW Dowey - 03 Aug 2013 12:55:1 GMT
Water-wise?

While there seems to be plenty of water in some places such as Lake Pepin here at the broadest expanse of the Mississippi, many parts of the Americas and the rest of the earth have or are developing serious permanent water shortage; Mississippi image Credit: Shutterstock

While the Mississippi has always had plans to go west, and Siberian rivers that drain to the Arctic plan to go south, there are some more serious political plans to change river courses to relieve water shortage in other continents. While Africa is the main source of water aid for the likes of wells and small scale dams, the other extreme is experienced within China, where giant dams have been built in the north while others are planned for the Brahmaputra, or at least its tributaries. If that one ever goes ahead, on the main water course, then India and Bangladesh will want to know every last detail!

Back in California, as that is where water from the east is most needed, Lake Mead and several others are drying, as demand and population drift increases. The Colorado River is all there is to supply a vast area of the SW United States and Mexico. 36 million people and 4 million acres of land are supplied by its waters. According to "Yale Environment 360," it is running down to a trickle.

There is just too much demand for hydro-electricity, dams and human and industrial needs. It would be nice to find a route through the Rockies for some of that Mississippi water, given all the floods it has witnessed, including severely damaging water levels in 1993 and 2011.

At least no war has started yet in the Rockies. The River Jordan is only 253km (or 157 miles) has been quoted the most as being the source of conflict as well as drinking water for all the Middle Eastern countries around it. Only the Syrian Golan Heights can supply as much precious water, but for the nation of Jordan itself, only the river and the dying Dead Sea have any water left as a drying "sink."

In the east, Turkey has ambitious plans that would restrict the Tigris and Euphrates that flow through Iraq to the Arabian Gulf. More political dynamite, just like that to the west of the Tien Shan Mountains (connected to the great massif of the Himalaya.) With the virtual loss of the Aral Sea, water supply and industry for Uzbekistan's lowest autonomic republic of Karakalpakstan has been lost. The depths of that problem haven't yet been fully acknowledged by other governments, but the UN, using Japanese government money did attempt to improve the lot of children and antenatal care in the province.

We noted Africa, where desertification has prompted 7775km (4831 miles) of that magnificent, if sparse in places, Great Green Wall. Crossing the whole continent, it attempts to show the line that will have to be drawn where no more land can be lost to agriculture as the interminable droughts continue Africa-wide. In South America too, Peru has water plans!

Damming the might Amazon in up to 70 locations will supply not Peru, but Brazilian aluminium industries and others with large amounts of hydroelectric power. We hear that no indigenous person in the area was ever consulted on the desertification and destructive results of these mega-plans for a continent's future, a different plan could evolve.