Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Future wars-Not for land but for water and food!

Water is one of the two essential prerequisites for life, besides air, to sustain in this planet and no wonder that our space exploration efforts are to find habitable planets like ours where these two are available. it is another matter that more than 100 years of space exploration has not yielded any positive result so far keeping in abeyance our dreams of colonizing outer space in the foreseeable future. Down to the earth, what is happening to these two natural resources? Water is drying up every where and air is being polluted beyond our tolerance limits. While water supply and harnessing are going on for millions of years in the human history, air is some thing which is inexhaustible like solar rays and the only damage man can inflict on it is to pollute it! According to weather experts, global warming, due to uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions consequent to many human nativities including industrialization and fossil fuel burning, is changing the water dynamics causing drought and nonseasonal rains and floods across the world. It is least realized that sweet water is a definitive commodity like fossil fuels and over exploitation can.lead to scarcity and shortage at every level in this planet. There are many places which have been called "choke points" as far as water is concerned and future wars are going to be fought for access to pure water. Here is a commentary on this critical issue. 

"There's no pretending that providing secure stores of fresh water, and producing adequate supplies of energy and food is confounding the nations of Earth. In the era of climate change most of the world's prominent energy and food producing regions are either getting dryer or more hydrologically unstable. The consequence is a growing list of global choke points —the economically and ecologically disruptive confrontations over water, energy and agricultural resourcesthat Circle of Blue and the Wilson Center, our project partner, are describing all over the world. For five years the two organizations have documented the world's urgent resource choke points with uncommon depth, skill, and on-the-ground expertise. From Mongolia to China,India to Qatar, Palestine to Peru, and all across the United States and Canada, our Global Choke Point project is helping the world understand the urgency of the contest for water, energy, and food. Just as importantly, our work is identifying opportunities to build international momentum for political and pragmatic solutions"

Look at India where there are a number of water related disputes between various states and within some states between regions.The Kaveri water dispute between Karnataka and Tamilnadu is one of the oldest ones defying solution and consensus. Similarly the Idukki dam in Kerala is a flash point for two states, Kerala and Tamilnadu which also is mired in controversy. To further the water misery in the country, over exploitation of ground water has led to a situation where drilling depths are continuously increasing to get even small supply of ground water in almost all parts of the country. Then there is the pull between the industry and agriculture for accessing available water, The infamous "war for water" between the people of Plachimeda village in Kerala and a giant beverage bottling company a few years ago is still fresh in our memory. The on-going "water war" between another bottling giant and people for Narmada water is the latest reminder about such conflicts which are bound to vitiate the situation in India in the coming years. Is it not time that world wakes up to this reality and evolve a consensus regarding the best ways to utilize the existing water resources without looking for importing this precious life sustaining fluid from other planets after investing billions of dollars to just detect presence of water in any of them?

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