Water Shortages Threaten Food Supplies And Regional Peace

1314 words - 5 pages

Spreading water shortages threaten to reduce the global food supply by more than 10 percent. Left unaddressed, these shortages could lead to hunger, civil unrest, and even wars over water, reports a new book from the Worldwatch Institute.
Irrigation accounts for two thirds of global water use, but less than half that water reaches the roots of plants. "Without increasing water productivity in irrigation, major food-producing regions will not have enough water to sustain crop production," said Sandra Postel, author of Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last? The book was funded by the Wallace Genetic Foundation and by the Pew Fellows Program of the Pew Charitable Trusts.
"Some 40 percent of the world's food comes from irrigated cropland," said Postel, "and we're betting on that share to increase to feed a growing population." But the productivity of irrigation is in jeopardy from the overpumping of groundwater, the growing diversion of irrigation water to cities, and the buildup of salts in the soil.
"Our civilization is not the first to be faced with the challenge of sustaining its irrigation base," said Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project in Amherst, Massachusetts, and a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute. "A key lesson from history is that most irrigation-based civilizations fail. As we enter the third millennium A.D., the question is: will ours be any different?"
Today, irrigation problems are widespread in the grain-growing regions of central and northern China, northwest and southern India, parts of Pakistan, much of the western United States, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Water tables are dropping steadily in several major food-producing regions as groundwater is pumped faster than nature replenishes it. The world's farmers are racking up an annual water deficit of some 160 billion cubic meters-the amount used to produce nearly 10 percent of the world's grain. The overpumping of groundwater cannot continue indefinitely. Eventually the wells run dry, or it becomes too expensive to pump from greater depths.
Meanwhile, the amount of irrigated land per person is shrinking. It has dropped 5 percent since its peak in 1978, and will continue to fall. At the same time, one in five hectares of irrigated land is damaged by salt-the silent scourge that played a role in the decline of ancient Mesopotamian societies.
So much water is being diverted for irrigation and other human uses that many major rivers now run dry for large portions of the year-including the Yellow in China, the Indus in Pakistan, the Ganges in South Asia, and the Colorado in the American Southwest. The Yellow River, the cradle of Chinese civilization, ran dry for a record period in 1997, failing to reach the sea for 226 days.
With population growing rapidly in many of the most water-short regions, water problems are bound to worsen. The number of people living in water-stressed countries is projected to...

Find Another Essay On Water Shortages Threaten Food Supplies and Regional Peace

Water Scarcity in India Essay

1417 words - 6 pages and revive the old water harvesting system and structure.Millennium Development Goal number 7, target 10 aims to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015 . Water scarcity could threaten progress to reach this target. As governments and community organizations make it a priority to deliver adequate supplies of quality water to people, individuals can help by learning how to

The Impact of Climate Change Upon Australia

3955 words - 16 pages constraints could lead to geopolitical destabilization, mass migration and even war. When water or food supplies shift or when conditions otherwise deteriorate people will likely move to find more favourable conditions. By 2025, 40% of the world’s population will be living in countries experiencing significant water shortages. The Stern Review estimates that by the middle of the 21st Century, 200 million people may become permanently displaced

Hydro-Politics Along the Jordan River

5658 words - 23 pages on paper and true cooperation are vastly different, the value of the peace treaty and the normalization of relations cannot be underestimated. Regional Solutions The Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty of 1994 highlights an important fact: water is a resource that crosses and even forms borders and whose proper management requires cooperative, regional solutions. While the bilateral agreement between Israel and Jordan is having a major impact

Water Shortages in the US

1265 words - 6 pages overly dry (Wiltgin). Here the problem is two-fold, as increased irrigation to crops further depletes the water supply on a regional level, and on a national, or even global level, the effects of the drought are felt as crop shortages cause an increase in food cost to consumers. A study conducted by the University of Colorado in Boulder highlights the implications of water shortages on a national level. Current estimates show that one in ten

The Global Water Shortage

944 words - 4 pages One in three people on each continent is experiencing water shortages. This situation is exacerbated as population growth, urbanization and increasing domestic and industrial water needs. There are lots of countries that suffering with water shortage problems like India, Australia, China, Jordan. India – In India, water shortages, particularly serious simply because the difference between actual food consumption and survival so precarious

Brisbane: Impacts of Water Management Strategies

2449 words - 10 pages , expanding business and high demand for water to generate electrical power (Spearritt, 2008). According to Rutherford and Finlayson (2008), Brisbane has significant threat of water shortage due to combined effects of climate change and rapid population growth. In the period of 2003 to 2007, the Queensland state experienced its worst drought in over a 100 years and this lead Brisbane’s city acute water shortages (Collin, 2006). By 2006, Brisbane water

What Are We Doing to Our Water Resources?

1739 words - 7 pages Water is needed for the sustenance of life and without its supply; death is inevitable because all living things must have water to survive. People can only a few days without water but can survive for weeks without food. Studies have shown that more than three quarters of the world’s population live in the driest half of the planet and over 783 million people do not have access to clean water around the world. Lack of water is a crisis taking

Water Security: The Role of Government and Legistlature

1615 words - 6 pages Gober 2013). In 2013 water related distasted killed nearly 300 000 people. (Wheater and Gober 2013). Agricultural, industrial and domestic contaminants can threaten the quality of water (Environmentalsociety.ca 2014). In the northern area of the province, uncontaminated water supplies are at risk from mining and forestry (Environmentalsociety.ca 2014). If anything were to happen to ground supplies more than 80% of the country’s rural populations

Problems With Drinking Water Supplies in Kenya

878 words - 4 pages Water is a bare necessity both for the survival of an individual and a nation. Freshwater scarcity has become a global concern as the projected worldwide demand on water exceeds supplies. Less developed countries in particular are currently suffering from severe water shortages and water contamination. "…half the population of our "civilized" world suffers today with water services inferior to those of the ancient Greeks and Romans

Global Warming

556 words - 2 pages alter forests, crop yields, and water supplies. It could also threaten human health, and harm birds, fish, and differenttypes of ecosystem.There is a necessity of increase in planting trees in order to avoid this situation. Trees will absorb carbon dioxide hence act as green house inventory. Large factories should find the way to dispose their emissions or prepare greenhouse gas inventories. Government of the individual countries should actively

Essay on water scarcity in history, water scarcity in africa, and possible sollutions to water scarcity.

1649 words - 7 pages prevent floods, provide shelter and millions of people are able to get their food, water, and fuel from these areas. As the world population continues to expand people are overusing water and destroying many natural resources. By destroying these ecosystems, more that 3,500 species are threatened worldwide, of which 25 percent are fish and amphibians. (Bergkamp 1) Dams block the return of salmon to spawning areas. Toxic pollution and acid

Similar Essays

Water Shortages In China: Problems And Solutions

1121 words - 4 pages in this case it has an impact on economics and infrastructure of a government which leads to the question of privatization. According to McHarg et al. eds. (2010), in the last three decades world governments used to shed the burden of capital investment, especially in sphere of water, through privatization in order to achieve more efficiency of water supplies. This approach was developed deeply in European countries such as England, which is

Fluoridation Of Municiple Water Supplies, The Risks And Benefits

1180 words - 5 pages Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in almost all foods and water supplies. The fluoride ion comes from the element fluorine. Fluorine, the 13th most abundant element in the earth's crust, is never encountered in its free state in nature. It exists only in combination with other elements as a fluoride compound.Fluoride is effective in preventing and reversing the early signs of tooth decay. Researchers have shown that there are several

Access To Food, Clean Water, And Shelter

1447 words - 6 pages Every 15 seconds a child dies from a water related illness. There are countries all around the world that do not have access to food, clean water, and shelter. I believe that everywhere in the world should be provided with the supplies they need. There should be a law made in every country to ensure that people get the support they need to live with relative comfort. They need to be able to have enough food to at least have three meals a day

Wasting Products Such As Water And Food

1364 words - 6 pages During my three years as a CNA at Good Samaritan Nursing home. I’ve noticed an increase in the amount of wasted products. I admit that I’m angry and deeply concerned about the waste of water and food at my nursing home. I’ve observed and conclude that wasting products are not only the fault of patients, but also of the members of the staff. After I underline the importance of water and food in our daily life and explain the ways they are wasted