W A T E R I N T A K E 22/2013

Joerg Barandat, Hamburg editorial@waternews.de * W A T E R I N T A K E 22/2013

Analysis: Did Drought Trigger The Crisis In Syria? * http://footnote1.com/did-drought-trigger-the-crisis-in-syria/

More Water Stress than Meets the Eye
October 9, 2013 In more and more places around the world, water demands are bumping up against the limits of Earth’s finite water supply. Each year seems to bring another analysis of “water stress” to help us get a fix on how dangerous our water situation is becoming, whether in a particular country or in the world as a whole. Among the latest efforts is by a team led by researchers at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder who examined 2,103 watersheds across the United States and found that in 193 of them – nearly 1 in 10 – water use has surpassed the natural water supply. These basins are classified as “water stressed,” and the researchers find that as climate change unfolds, this water predicament will worsen … Not surprisingly, most of the stressed watersheds lie in the western part of the country, where irrigated agriculture typically accounts for more than 80 percent of total water withdrawals. But the team … ran separate stress tests for each major sector of water use – agriculture (including irrigation and livestock), thermoelectric power plant cooling, and municipal and industrial use – and this turned up some interesting results. One is that the large volume of water needed to cool nuclear and coal-fired power plants creates pockets of water stress all across the country … Thermoelectric power generation demands more water than any other economic sector … Even though plants with once-through cooling systems return most of the water they withdraw back to its source, they often kill numerous fish and other aquatic life in the process … In southern California and the Las Vegas area, urban demands alone are sufficient to cause water stress … Even though groundwater makes up a growing share of water use nationally and globally, we don’t measure and monitor it carefully enough to come close to getting an accurate picture of its role in our water accounts … As droughts become more widespread or severe, our depletion of groundwater will pick up speed … It’s a truism that we can’t manage what we don’t measure and monitor. It’s time to begin tracking and managing groundwater use and supply as a matter of national security …

Water Shortage Seen Worsening on Climate Change in Potsdam Study Oct 8, 2013 Water scarcity will increase around the world due to climate change, with more than 500 million people affected if mean global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), based on modeling studies by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, or PIK. An additional 8 percent of humankind may face new or worse water scarcity with 2 degrees warming, the target set by international climate negotiators, the German government-funded institute wrote in a news release … Two degrees warming would cause “substantial” ecosystem changes in regions that cover 1 percent of the unique habitat of higher plant species, while at 5 degrees warming that would rise to 74 percent, according to the research. Two degrees warming would cause “substantial” ecosystem changes in regions that cover 1 percent of the unique habitat of higher plant species, while at 5 degrees warming that would rise to 74 percent … Regions at risk in case of unchecked global warming include the grasslands of eastern India, the forests of northern Canada, the savannas of Ethiopia and Somalia and the Amazonian rain forest …
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-08/water-shortage-seen-worsening-on-climate-change-in-potsdam-study.html PM:
http://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/more-than-500-million-people-might-face-increasing-water-scarcity Asynchronous exposure to global warming: freshwater resources and terrestrial ecosystems …

Water holds key to sustainable development, UN chief tells Budapest summit 8 October 2013 … Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the vital role of water in sustainable development, highlighting in particular its importance with regard to food security, climate change and sanitation. “Water holds the key to sustainable development. We need it for health, food security and economic progress,” Mr. Ban said in his opening remarks at the Budapest Water Summit. “Yet, each year brings new pressures … We must address unsustainable use… We must use what we have more equitably and wisely. We cannot expect governments to do this alone. Guaranteeing a water secure world will require the full engagement of all actors, not least the world of business” … noted that agriculture is by far the largest user of freshwater, and there is growing urgency to reconcile its demands with the needs of domestic and industrial uses, especially energy production … “We must make sure that water remains a catalyst for cooperation not conflict among communities and countries” … UN stands ready to assist in this area … noting for example the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Shared Waters Partnership that is supporting political agreement on common resources, such as in the Nile Basin … said water and sanitation are obviously central to efforts to achieve the MDGs and must figure prominently in the post-2015 development agenda. ..
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46214&Cr=water&Cr1= Bezugsdokument Redetext:

Perspectives of complexity in water governance: Local experiences of global trends
04.10.13 Those responsible for water governance face great complexity. However, the conceptualisations of what comprises that complexity have been broad and inconsistent. When efforts are made to address the complexity in water governance, it is unclear whether the problems and the related solutions will be understood across the actors and institutions involved. This paper provides a review of the literature focused on global water governance to discern core themes that commonly characterise discussions of complexity. It then considers how the consequences of these issues are manifested at the local scale through an examination of empirical research of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and the Prachinburi River Basin Committee. The results demonstrate that a history of a technical, depoliticised discourse is often perceived to contribute to complexity. The consequence is that when a severe ecological disturbance occurs within a river basin with poorly understood causes, few tools are available to support river basin organisations to address the political nature of these challenges. Additionally, a lack of clear authority structures has been recognised globally, but locally this can contribute to conflict amongst the ‚governors‘ of water. Finally, a range of contested definitions and governance frameworks exists that contributes to complexity, but confronting the diversity of perspectives can lead to ethical dilemmas given that the decisions will affect the health and livelihoods of basin communities.

NEU: Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi
Climate Change Narratives: Reading the Arctic
Uttam Kumar Sinha … addresses Climate Change as a security risk; as a geopolitical orientation and as an energy challenge, and maps the impact of these narratives on the Arctic …
September 2013 Climate has always changed, so what’s the worry? The worry is that the change, both in terms of scale and linkages, is unprecedented. The politico-security narratives of Climate Change increasingly frame our understanding of other global challenges—from poverty and health to the food-energy-water connect. In an interconnected world with interlinked issues, understanding Climate Change and the Arctic and exploring the intersection between the two is extremely important … climate security can become an instrument for developed countries to impose their values on developing countries, and infringe upon their sovereignty—a tool of hegemonic power. Moreover, climate security rhetoric encourages thinking that could lead nations to undertake military intervention in the name of protecting ‘global’ resources … Conflicts generated by resource scarcity can have significant indirect effects on the international community. For example, sub-national violence over resource access can lead to serious repercussions for the security interests of both the developed and developing worlds. Civil violence within states can affect external trade relations, cause refugee flows, and produce humanitarian disasters that call upon the military and financial resources of developed countries and international organizations. Scarcities of renewable resources rarely cause wars among states; but the impact of Climate Change on river waters in particular, can change the historical assessment on transboundary waters, and thus reframe riparian relations. Given the Climate Change stress on river waters both in terms of quantity and quality, states will try to maximize water resources, and in a certain geopolitical context, convert it into assets to augment their power. Down stream countries highly dependent on river waters for their well being will be motivated to seize such vital resource from their neighbours to the point of even being aggressive. Climate Change impact on water resources shows that conflict and turmoil related to river will be as much internal as it will affect bilateral relations. Water management and the reallocation of water resources will be a major national security concern …
[J.B.: gute Karten: Arctic Region Resources / Sea Routes S. 52f] … In the 21st century, the Arctic will remain high on the international radar, and keep countries, particularly those within the rim and some beyond, honest in their engagement. Inevitably, competition and cooperation will emerge, along with positioning and posturing. Three reasons for increasing attention on the Arctic can be highlighted … First, the Arctic will continue to remain a large geo-strategic tract … Secondly, it must be remembered that the Arctic is a semi-enclosed ocean surrounded by land, and like all high seas, is governed by the laws of the sea … Thirdly, there is the question of resource finds … The great ripples that have accompanied the unprecedented changes in the Arctic due to Climate Change have now become a force that has triggered responses and made policymakers sit up … The climate change impact in the Arctic is far greater than any other part of the world …
direkt zum Dokument:

NEU: project-syndicate
Steigende Risiken beim Wasser
Andrew Steer … President … of the World Resources Institute … Sep. 16, 2013 … Wasser ist dieser Tage immer für eine Schlagzeile gut. So erlebte in diesem Sommer Nordindien eine der schwersten Monsun-Saisons der letzten 80 Jahre … nachdem aufgrund schwerer Regenfälle wichtige Flüsse wie Elbe und Donau über die Ufer traten. In den USA leidet noch immer fast die Hälfte des Landes unter Trockenheit, während schwere Regenfälle im Nordosten Rekorde gebrochen und im Süden die Ernte verheert haben und nun Colorado überschwemmen. Die Unternehmen beginnen, sich der wachsenden Risiken bewusst zu werden, die ein Zuviel oder Zuwenig an Wasser für ihren Betrieb und Gewinn bedeuten kann. Auf dem diesjährigen Weltwirtschaftsforum in Davos bezeichneten Experten Wasserrisiken als eine der vier größten Gefahren, vor denen die Unternehmen im 21. Jahrhundert stehen … Laut Schätzungen von Deutsche Bank Securities wird die jüngste Trockenheit in den USA, von der fast zwei Drittel der 48 kontinentalamerikanischen Staaten ohne Alaska betroffen waren, das BIP-Wachstum um etwa einen Prozentpunkt reduzieren. Klimawandel, Bevölkerungswachstum und andere Faktoren verstärken die Risiken. Schon heute werden 20% des weltweiten BIP in wasserarmen Gebieten erzielt. Laut dem International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) könnte dieser Anteil ohne nachhaltigeres Wassermanagement bis 2050 auf 45% wachsen; dies würde einen erheblichen Anteil der weltweiten Produktionsleistung gefährden … Was Finanzrisiken angeht, hatten Datenanalysten in der Vergangenheit Zugang zu enormen Mengen an Informationen. Beim Wasser war das anders – bis jetzt. Das World Resources Institute hat gemeinsam mit Unternehmen wie Goldman Sachs, General Electric und Shell nun eine Online-Plattform mit Namen Aqueduct entwickelt, die zur Messung und Kartierung von Wasserrisiken beitragen soll. Aqueduct nutzt neueste Daten und hochmoderne Modellierungstechniken, um ein besseres, feinkörnigeres Bild der weltweiten Wasserrisiken zu erzeugen. Auf der Basis dieser Daten können die Unternehmen dann bessere, begründetere Entscheidungen treffen …
[J.B.: siehe: Mail watercourse.de, 08.02.2013: Given the importance of water, we are flying frighteningly blind …
Jan 30, 2013 Water Risk to Business Is No Small Drip …
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-30/water-risk-to-business-is-no-small-drip.html BEZUGSDOKUMENT: WRI Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas … http://aqueduct.wri.org/ siehe auch Anhang: 130924 BAR WRI Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas] … Viele große Unternehmen befassen sich bereits mit Wasserrisikodaten. McDonald’s etwa hat mehr als 350 der wichtigsten Anlagen in seiner Lieferkette aufgefordert, anhand der Daten aus Aqueduct über die Wasserrisiken, denen sie ausgesetzt sind, Bericht zu erstatten … Das internationale Bekleidungsunternehmen H&M arbeitet derzeit daran, die Risiken für die Wasserqualität in seiner Lieferkette zu reduzieren … bemüht sich das Getränkeunternehmen SABMiller seit 2008, die Wasserintensität seiner Bierproduktion bis 2015 um 25% zu verringern … und Partnerschaften mit den örtlichen Wassereinzugsgebieten geschlossen, um diesen Risiken zu begegnen. Die Botschaft ist eindeutig: Wasserrisikomanagement findet zunehmend Eingang in den Mainstream der Unternehmenspraxis. Mehr als 90 Unterzeichner des CEO Water Mandate des Global Compact der Vereinten Nationen haben sich verpflichtet, wasserbezogene Nachhaltigkeitsstrategien und -verfahren für sich selbst und ihre Lieferanten zu entwickeln, umzusetzen und Bericht darüber zu erstatten sowie mit externen Betroffenen zusammenzuarbeiten, um Wasserrisiken zu begegnen. Führende Unternehmen zeigen, dass alle Beteiligten von einem nachhaltigen Wassermanagement profitieren … Intelligente Unternehmensführer investieren bereits in neue Instrumente, die umfassende, aktuelle Daten zur Verfügung stellen können, und die Unternehmen gehen zunehmen von der Erkennung natürlicher Risiken zur Entwicklung strategischer Reaktionen darauf über …

(See attached file: 130924 BAR WRI Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.pdf)

Im Nachgang zu: WATERINTAKE – 20/2013 vom 15.09.13
… verbunden wieder einmal mit einem dicken Dankeschön an UN ESCWA in Beirut für den vertiefenden Hinweis zu Wasser und Syrien …

Analysis: Did Drought Trigger The Crisis In Syria?
September 12, 2013 … While periodic drought is a long-standing feature of Middle Eastern environments, concern is rising that man-made climate change intensifies the frequency and duration of droughts … Adverse impacts are already clearly evident in the region, including increased summer and winter average temperatures, shifting rainfall regimes, intensified periods of drought and flooding, and diminished snowpack in mountainous regions. Which raises the question: Did the drought in the late 2000s serve as a stressor that triggered the current conflict? … When one delves into the details, drought as an external factor recedes and political economy takes center stage … There is perhaps no better illustration of this dynamic than Syria, where a closer examination shows that government policy helped construct vulnerability to the effects of the drought during the 2000s. State policies regarding economic development, political control in rural areas, and water management determined how drought impacted the population and how the population, in turn, responded … If we follow the flow of water, we find that Syria invested heavily in modernizing and expanding its agriculture and irrigation systems over the past half-century … focused on building a centrally managed irrigation network with large dams, surface irrigation systems, and widespread use of pumps to access groundwater … expanded the amount of cropped area … As in other countries, this ‘green revolution’ promoted intensive use of groundwater, surfacewater, and agricultural inputs to significantly increase food production … Over-extraction of groundwater reserves and surface water from rivers and soil salinization … showed diminishing crop yields. When drought struck, its impact was magnified by these preexisting failures of water management. Equally damaging was the inability of policymakers to shift course and revise agricultural-water policies or devise schemes to diminish rural insecurity … After the Ba’ath took power in a 1963 military coup, they attempted to build mass support among rural populations by enacting land reform and supporting agricultural development … politics began to shift in the 1990s under President Hafez al-Assad and solidified after Bashar al-Assad inherited the presidency in 2000 … Profits became more concentrated and more privatized … produced growing inequality, increasing poverty rates, stagnant employment, and deepening or persistent regional inequalities … When drought hit, rural citizens had little power to demand a response, since influence rested in the informal networks linking regime members with high-ranking military and security personnel and business elites. The regime actually downplayed the extent and impact of the drought and its own role in perpetuating the drought’s damage … Altogether, failures in agricultural policy, neglect of the needs of the rural population … Because Syria’s leaders treated water as a national security issue surrounded by a “culture of secrecy”, critical debate was inadmissible and the water management system remained corrupt, mismanaged, and inefficient … Rather than demonstrating that drought caused conflict, the Syrian tragedy highlights the capacity of political systems and economic policies to exacerbate vulnerability to environmental events. Focusing on external factors like climate change understates the responsibility of the former regime as well as then-fashionable development paradigms. It obscures the domestic politics of resource allocation, political exclusion, and accountability, as well as the international consensus that supported the intensification of agriculture and water consumption in arid regions … The ossified presidential regime in Syria, as well as those in Egypt and Tunisia, was unable to foster these kinds of domestic changes. The Syrian drought shows that the ways in which environmental factors impact human welfare and regime stability depend upon political and economic choices … As the case of Syria demonstrates, it is not simply drought or climate change that triggers revolutions, but political and economic policy choices that worsen environmental problems and undermine local livelihoods.

… und dann war da noch: von den Freunden lernen, heißt siegen lernen… (See attached file: 131010 Fitzsimmons education.jpg)

Beste Grüße von der Elbe

Jörg Barandat
130924 BAR WRI Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.pdf