Geography- Water Conflicts content
Terms in this set (33)
Factors that lead to water conflicts
• Climate change
• Cost of water in developing megacities rising
• Pollution, especially in developing nations
• Rapid population growth in developing areas
Global water supplies
• Physical factors
Physical factor: Climate
• Determines the global distribution of water by means of annual and seasonal rainfall distribution, or snowfall
Physical Factor: Rivers
• Transfer surface water across continents
Physical factor: Geology
• Controls the distribution of aquifers, which supply underground water
Human factors affecting water supplies:
Pollution caused by human activity and excessive abstraction of water supplies can further increase WATER STRESS. Pollution of groundwater is much less obvious than surface water pollution but is no less of a problem:
Sewage disposal in developing countries is expected to cause 135million deaths by 2020 (World Health Organisation). Diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid and cholera are common in areas with polluted water.
Human factor: Fertilisers
Chemical fertilisers used by farmers contaminate groundwater as well as rivers and can cause eutrophication.
Human Factor: Human development e.g. Dams
Big dams trap sediment in reservoirs which reduces floodplain fertility and the flow of nutrients from rivers into seas. This may damage fish stocks and prevent beach formation, which in turn can expose coasts to greater erosion.
Human Factor: Industrial waste
Each year the world generates 400 BILLION tonnes of industrial waste, much of which is pumped untreated into rivers, oceans and other waterways.
Human Factor: Abstraction
Abstracting water from rivers and groundwater sources can have unintended consequences
Water is being extracted form aquifers faster than it is being replaced. In arid areas, rainfall can never recharge these underground stores.
The removal of freshwater from aquifers in coastal locations can upset the natural balance of saline and fresh groundwater and lead to SALT WATER INCURSION and salination of wells and boreholes
Blue water flow
• The rivers and aquifers are collectively called blue water flow
• The visible part of the hydrological system
• Under 2,500m3 per person per year
• By 2025 it is estimated that nearly half of the world's population will be water vulnerable
• Under 1,700m3 per person per year
• Middle east, north Africa and southwest USA
• Occurs when the annual supply of water per person drops below 1,000m3
• There are 2 types
Physical water scarcity
• Occurs when more than 75% of a country's or region's river flows are being used
• 25% of the world population lives in such areas
Economic water scarcity
• Occurs when the development of blue water sources is limited by lack of capital and technology
• Supplies cannot be replenished in time and reserves will be lost because rainfall can never fully recharge the underground stores
o Can lead to salination of wells and boreholes
o Can lead to loss of valuable wetlands by drainage or as a result of incursions by the sea
• Means not having access to sufficient, safe (clean) water
• Typically the world's poorest countries are the most water insecure
o And are classed as water scarce
Water Poverty Index (WPI)
• Assessed on:
o Environmental impact
• Wealthy countries such as Canada and Sweden score 80/100
• LDCs such as Ethiopia score under 40/100
• USA (68/100)
o Scores highly on access but poorly on use
• Equatorial Guinea [LDC] (under 40/100)
o Scores highly on use but poorly on impact
Main water usage sectors
• Include the middle east and north Africa where water has been over-abstracted that it cannot be replenished
• Is an international guideline regulating how rivers and their connected groundwater's that cross national boundaries may be used
• equitable share in the water resources,
• consideration of such factors as past customary usages
• A southerly warm ocean current, which develops off the coast of Ecuador about 14 times a century.
• It is associated with major variations in tropical climates
• An extensive cooling of the central and eastern Pacific.
• Globally La Nina means that parts of the world that normally experience dry weather will be drier and those with wet weather will be wetter
• New technology
o E.g. nano-technology
Decreasing the environmental damage of desalination plants
Business as Usual
• Water scarcity will reduce food production
• Consumption of water will rise by over 50%
• Developing countries will become reliant on food imports and experience increased hunger and malnutrition
• Global water consumption would increase further, mostly going to irrigation
• Worldwide demand for domestic water would fall
• Conflict over water between and within countries would increase
• Agriculture and household water prices might have to double in developed countries and triple in the developing world- widening the development gap
• Environmental flows could be increased
• Increased investment in crop research needed
• Collecting water
o Rain butts
Sustainable water use
• Includes all aspects of policies that conserve the water for further generation in a way that does not damage the environment
Small Scale Water Solutions: Pumpkin Tank
-Designed to store rainwater for recycled use, such as irrigation.
-Developed as part of a World Bank sponsored water and sanitation programme between 1995 and 1998.
-Positive social consequences:
>Food security increases as crops can be irrigated and animals can be watered, water is also used for daily needs like cooking and washing, a first flush mechanism diverts the dirty first water.
-Positive environmental consequences:
>Soil erosion is limited with tanks as opposed to dug holes to keep underground supplies.
>Preserves water for whole village making it clean and safe=less disease.
-Negative social consequences:
>Supplies can dry up in the dry season meaning families need to find alternative sources, families often have to pay for guttering which can't always be afforded.
>Isn't sustainable as only limited to one village and doesn't allow for safe water in other villages as it only sustains one village.
Small Scale Water Solutions: Life Straw
-Provides safe water by distributing 877,505 LifeStraw Family filters to households in Kenya.
-Filters water to make it clean so water holes can be used to drink from using the straw as it eliminates threat of disease
-The gravity driven point-of-use water filters require no electricity or consumables.
>SAFE DRINKING WATER: direct to 4.5 million people.
>A WORLD FIRST: first project to link carbon credits with water provision, at scale.
>IMPROVED HEALTH: health impact studies are underway
-only a small scale solution-Although straws can be distributed around the world, they can be expensive to make & distribute.
-People need to be educated on how to use them and what not to do with them. This is limited so if not used correctly, water maybe still unsafe to use.