SUPPLY & SCARCITY
“Both India and China will face drop in the yield of wheat and rice anywhere between 30-50% by 2050. At the same time, demand for food grains will go up by at least 20%. As a net result, China and India alone will need to import more than 200-300 million tons of wheat and rice, driving up the international prices of these commodities in the world market.” The Taps Running Dry, Forbes India, 7/6/10
RESERVOIRS & FLOODING
“The municipal government has set up 900 tents, four toilets and tap water supply for the evacuated people from 2,000 families near the Wenquan Reservoir, said Zhu Jianping, Golmud mayor.” 9,000 evacuated from NW China city near risky reservoir, China Daily, 7/11/10
“Nearly 17.2 million residents in nine provinces were affected by flood-related disasters and 597,000 people were relocated from July 1 to 12 a.m. of July 10, the ministry said in its latest disaster relief update.” South China flood death toll reaches 50, China Daily, 7/11/10
“Engineers opened three sluice gates to discharge some 32,000 cubic meters of water per second and another sluice gate to release floating objects.” Three Gorges Dam discharges flood, China Daily, 7/11/10
“More than 27,370 hectares of farmland were flooded, 242 houses collapsed and at least 10,157 residents were evacuated from flooded homes, the disaster relief office of Hubei Provincial Civil Affairs Bureau said” China to battle storms following heat wave, China Daily, 7/9/10
“A massive aid relief operation in Mexico has brought aid to tens of thousands of people cut off by severe flooding.” Mexico rushes aid to flood victims, al Jazeera, 7/6/10
“Residents of Sebalang village, Lampung, have urged the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to immediately name suspects in what they allege to be a case of illegal land grabbing for a steam-powered power plant (PLTU) project.….”The compensation of only Rp 500 *about 5 US cents* per square meter of land is inhumane. But we have no choice because we risk attracting violence,” Sebalang resident Rosihan said recently.” Residents left in the lurch after land grab, The Jakarta Post, 7/12/10
“… about 2.5 millions of people in Niger are currently affected by food shortage.” Niger: The Silent Famine, Global Voices, 7/12/10
CHINA & SE ASIA DROUGHT
“The situation has worsened with the severe drought plaguing northern Vietnam, which has driven many farmers to seek work in China, said Fan Qi, head of Fangchenggang City’s border police.” Illegal immigration from Vietnam surges, China Daily, April 12
“More than 250,000 people are short of drinking water in the sparsely populated Chifeng City of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.” Drought affects 250,000 people in N China’s Chieng, China Daily, April 12
“…no bathing or tooth brushing for weeks; clouds of flies crawling on the bed sheets, along the edges of bowls, and over the latrines; green vegetables a rarity in their diet. These are the realities of daily life for more than 24,000 students and teachers.” Drought takes heavy toll on boarding schools, China Daily, April 15
The snowstorm on Monday and Tuesday hitting many parts of Heilongjiang Province, damaged more than 90,000 seedlings in the province. Direct economic losses were estimated at almost 600 million yuan…” China agriculture hammered by spring extreme weather, China Daily, April 14
“A peasant plows his farmland after welcome rains in Huangping county in drought-plagued Guizhou province on April 13.” Rainfall quenches thirsty land in SW China, China Daily, April 14
“Systems using carbon-free energy are also being trialled: nuclear desalination in the United Arab Emirates, solar power in Australia, and biodiesel from plants — with cooking fats also slated as a future possibility — at a desalination plant built by Thames Water in London.” Global water crisis sparks surge in desalination, Mail & Guardian Online, March 31
“There is ample scientific evidence that the impact of the effluents from the desalination plants on the seawater environment increase the seawater temperature, salinity, water current and turbidity…” S.Africa looks to sea to meet growing water demand, Reuters, April 16
DAMS & INFRASTRUCTURE
“In coming years there will be extreme scarcity of water in Rawalpindi and Islamabad and the construction of new dams in the region is imperative to overcome this looming danger..” Water scarcity looms large: Construction of Dadocha Dam in doldrums, Daily Times, April 12
“The diversion won’t resolve the water supply problem of the most-at-need people in the sertao, because they are geographically so spread out,” argues Joao Suassuna, a long-time critic. Brazil’s huge river diversion program divides opinion, BBC News, April 12
“”The future of one of the world’s last great rainforests is at stake. The outcome of this fight could determine much beyond Borneo’s borders too, as environmental scientists become increasingly alarmed at the effect deforestation taking place here is having on the world’s weather.” Spears versus bulldozers in Borneo, Al Jazeerah, April 16
INDIAN MONSOON & FOOD
“…the dip in the Kharif output of rice might trigger an upward spiral of foodgrain prices and conveyed the Centre’s action plan to counter a rise in rates.” 246 districts in 10 states drought-hit: Peshawar, Times of India, April 18
“Monsoon forecasts for India are keenly watched by traders and analysts as the south Asian nation, one of the world’s top producers and consumers of sugar, wheat, rice and edible oils, depends on rains to irrigate 60 percent of its farms.…” Western forecasts signal good monsoon in India,
Reuters, April 14
“The first of 50,000 earthquake victims that officials fear are most threatened by Haiti’s looming rainy season were relocated Saturday as nonprofit groups scrambled to receive them.”Haitians relocated to new camps as rains loom, AP, April 12
“…conclusion was made based on water sample tests from three underground water levels in Gyegu Town after the earthquake by a group of environmental experts from the China Environmental Monitoring Station.” Underground water in China’s quake zone safe; emergency wells to be drilled, http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/6954746.html People’s Daily, April 18
The Mekong River summit has recently convened leaders from all 6 riparian nations. This is a big step forward in terms of regional cooperation & dialogue, and should be viewed as an important event.
I have been curious how the demand for water breaks down within the basin, both by nation and activity. Specifically, relative to the whole flow of the river, which activities use the most water?
According to the Mekong River Commission (from a document they published in 2004), 80% of all water abstractions are agricultural in nature in the Lower Mekong Basin (comprised of Lao PDR, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia). This suggests the potential for enormous water savings through the development of rice varieties that are tolerant to pests and drought.
The discussion of water security in the Mekong Basin, is implicitly tied to food security. It is in the best interests of the MRC nations to examine the largest water demand activity in the LMB, and focus their actions accordingly.