Wars Over Clean Water Heating Up
Humans can go for several weeks without food and some pacifists and protesters have proved it, including Mahatma Gandhi, who went for three weeks without food. But humans cannot go for more than a week without water and if they are in a particularly dry and hot climate, considerably less. Human necessities including saliva, mucous membranes, cell growth, flushing of bodily waste, joint lubrication, the manufacture of hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain, the regulation of body temperature through sweating, and respiration, brain and spinal cord Health, the conversion of food to nutrients, and digestion and the delivery of oxygen to the body cells all require plenty of water.
On the other hand, industries also require water, but much more than humans do.
Trends Suggest Water Crises To Grow Worse
“First Nation” and Indian enclave in Manitoba, Canada has been under a “boil water” advisory for the past 16 years. This is ironic because Native American Indian tribes, going back millenia, lived in harmony with nature and depended on it to sustain them in good times and bad. Nature was at the very center of their worldview and never did they ask more of nature than they needed.
Some estimate that the human population may quadruple over the next century severely taxing natural systems and sparking “water wars” over river systems and riots over life’s basic necessities as prices soar and supplies dwindle. The recent migration of children from South America through Mexico to the US border is just a trickle compared to what should be expected in coming decades as climate and food refugees make their way to richer countries where food and water seen plentiful. Poor countries with an inability to build infrastructure and without the requisite amount of natural resources will continue to see a crumbling of social relations and even the collapse of states.
Those in power in such areas will rule by brute force and fill the airwaves with promises and visions they can’t possibly meet. Ethnic groups will take care of their own first and exclude others.
On the other hand, rich nations will fortify their borders and anti-migrant sentiment will soar. The gap between the “haves” of the developed world and the have-nots of the “Third World” will become wider and wider.
Already Israel and surrounding countries are fighting over the water of the Jordan River that flows between them. In fact, water disagreements in the 1960s preceded the Six Day War and were thought to contribute to it. Egypt and Ethiopia are rattling their sabers over Ethiopia’s desire to get a larger share of water historically in use by the Egyptians. These are just a few examples of hundreds going on worldwide.
Can Desalination Save Us?
Ironically, the oceans may be too polluted, or soon may become so, to supply the clean water that humans and animals to survive and thrive. We will look at the current state of desalination in future articles on IndustryTap.
Related aricles on IndustryTap:
- Could We See Offshore Drilling for Freshwater?
- Ireland’s Water Crisis May Be a Sign of Things to Come
- Tapping 90% of Earth’s Fresh Water Frozen in Glaciers and Icebergs
References and related content:
- Blue Gold: World Water Wars (2009) – Top Documentary Films
- Tri-State Water Wars: 25 Years of Litigation between Alabama, Florida and Georgia | Environment | Atlanta Regional Commission
- Water Wars