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Water conflicts

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Water conflicts

  1. 1. WATER: A ‘SOURCE’ OF CONFLICT IES Alexandre de Riquer, Calaf (Catalonia, Spain) Duelo a Garrotazos (Goya).
  2. 2. <ul><li>INTRODUCTION </li></ul><ul><li>LEVELS OF CONFLICT (SOME EXAMPLES) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>THE LOCAL LEVEL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>THE NATIONAL LEVEL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>THE GLOBAL LEVEL </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CONCLUSIONS. </li></ul><ul><li>HOW TO DEAL THIS WITH STUDENTS? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Access to water and water allocation and use can become the focus of tensions, which may potentially spill over into conflict, within or between states. Direct violent conflicts over water are most likely on a local level, for example, over the privatisation of drinking water or access to a water point. While water has not been a major cause of violent conflicts historically, water-related tensions can emerge between and within states. <ul><li>They occur on four interdependent levels: </li></ul><ul><li>The local level: e.g. between societal groups over access to a water point; or between the state and people affected by the construction of a dam. </li></ul><ul><li>The national level: e.g. between different interest groups (farmers, industry, tourism, environmentalists) in relation to national policies affecting water management, for example over the reallocation of water between economic sectors. </li></ul><ul><li>The international level: e.g. between upstream and downstream states over the use of shared rivers. </li></ul><ul><li>The global level: e.g. between food exporters and food importers in relation to the world food market. </li></ul>http://www.globalpolicy.org/images/pdfs/052605waterconflict.pdf These levels are linked – any intervention affecting one level needs to assess the potential impacts on the other.
  4. 4. Recacheviz 2005 -http://www.grida.no/publications/vg/water2/page/3248.aspx 37% of rivers were strongly affected by fragmentation and altered flows, 23% were moderately affected , and 40% were unaffected . Strongly or moderately fragmented systems accounted for nearly 90% of the total water volume The only remaining large free-flowing rivers in the world are found in the tundra regions of North America and Russia, and in smaller coastal basins in Africa and Latin America. Large rivers in the tropics, such as the Amazon, the Orinoco and the Congo, remain basically unaffected. China’s Yangtze River will become strongly affected with the completion of the Three Gorges Dam project. The last three decades have seen several inland ecosystems (e.g. the Aral Sea, Lake Chad, and the Mesopotamian Marshlands) decline in size and function. THE GLOBAL LEVEL
  5. 5. Straddling the Lake Chad (borders of Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon), has been a source of freshwater for irrigation projects in each of these countries. Large and unsustainable irrigation projects built by Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, which have diverted water from both the lake and the Chari and Logone rivers. LAKE CHAD (WEST AFRICA) THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL
  6. 6. 2009 (source: http://www.envis.maharashtra.gov) http :// earthobservatory.nasa.gov /IOTD/ view.php?id=39944 The demise of the Aral Sea (central Asia), which is to disappear completely by 2020. Upstream irrigation schemes for growing rice and cotton consumed 90% of the natural flow. The salt pollution is decreasing the available agriculture area, destroying pastures, and creating a shortage of forage for domestic animals. The number of domestic animals in the region has become so low that the government has issued a decree to reduce the slaughter of animals for food. Fishing in the Aral Sea has ceased completely. The quality of drinking water has continued to decline. Diseases like anaemia, cancer and tuberculosis, and the presence of allergies, are on the rise.
  7. 7. Before reaching its delta The Mekong River flows across six countries: China, Myanmar Burma (Birmania), Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. River is widely used for drinking water, food, irrigation, hydropower, transportation and commerce. Strategic for rice production.
  8. 8. … from the Mekong to Calaf: our village.
  9. 9. Calaf is a rural area of dry Mediterranean climate (crops cannot be watered)
  10. 10. IES Alexandre de Riquer
  11. 11. Calaf Barcelona E b r e r i v e r W a t e r p i p e
  12. 12. Calaf PRECIPITATIONS (blue maximum, dark brown minimum) MEAN TEMPERATURES (orange maximum, blur minimum) CATALAN HYDROLOGIC BASINS: EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL (with part of Aragón and Andorra)
  13. 13. Main hydrologic areas of Spain. The arrows show the main ideas of the Ebro’s diversion project.
  14. 14. Ebro river is the most important in the Catalonia hydrologic area
  15. 15. In Spain agricultura uses 80% of water generally in an unefficient way. This would not be critical in other latitudes with unlimited water resources, but not in the Mediterranean climate. Monegros arid area by the Ebro river, where corn is now cropped (water waste).
  16. 16. The main important problems of water in Spain
  17. 17. The problem of water in Spain <ul><li>The dry weather with insufficient precipitations </li></ul><ul><li>The overexploitation of the water’s resources in industry, agriculture or turism. </li></ul><ul><li>Great differences of water’s resources between different areas or regions (Cantabric zone, Mediterranean zone, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Polemical politic projects about the diversion of Ebro river. (Discussion between different regions) </li></ul><ul><li>Poor education about water culture and its correct use. </li></ul><ul><li>Poor Knowledge of environment problems </li></ul>
  18. 18. Greenhoses of the Almería coast (Andalusia, Spain).
  19. 19. One of the most arid and poor places of Spain suddenly became one of the richest of Europe. An economic dream but an environmental hell. The plastic sea exhausted groundwater resources, and large amounts of plastic, organic waste and pesticides are simply out of control. But that’s not all…
  20. 20. Excessive tourism at Benidorm (Spain)
  21. 21. (SAVE MATER: GOLF NEEDS IT!!) Golf resorts in the driest places of Spain (Andalucia and Murcia)
  22. 22. Solutions of water problem <ul><li>More education about water and environment problems </li></ul><ul><li>Suitable uses of water resources </li></ul><ul><li>Not overexplotaition of the natural resources </li></ul><ul><li>Take careful of environment </li></ul><ul><li>Sewage and salt treatment plants </li></ul>
  23. 23. UNFORTUNATELY, NONE OF OUR COUNTRIES IS FREE FROM WATER ROBLEMS… MIDDLE WEST: Golan highs are an important water resource which has been an ongoing problem in the Palestine - Israel conflict. GERMANY: Potash pollution of the Rhine basin, a trans-border issue TURKEY: The cross-border water disputes in Mesopotamia that involve Turkey, Iraq and Syria. ITALY: Water shortage is a problem in several dry areas of Italy, being Sicily the most important one. Also, Po regulations creates tensions among users).
  24. 24. In conclusion… -Water is a ‘source of conflict’ allover the world and at different scales (and future predictions are very pesimistic). Our countries are also affected by cross-border water disputes (Mesopotamia involving Turkey, Iraq and Syria; Sicily shortages and Po regulations , Potash pollution of the Rhine basin etc.) -Such conflicts are a complex issue and require integrated trans-border solutions. - Each country has distinctive problems and solutions. Comenius exchange is a chance to shear and discuss problems from very differents countries, points of view and study areas (humanities, science, ethics…).
  25. 25. So what could students do? <ul><li>Identify the situation of ‘their water’ at diferent scales: local, regional, national and transnational. </li></ul><ul><li>Indentify how efficent they are (themselves, their region, state…) </li></ul><ul><li>Explain and identify differences between water rich and water poor countries </li></ul><ul><li>Debate which integrated solutions could solve transborder conflicts </li></ul><ul><li>… . </li></ul>
  26. 26. MIDDLE WEST: Golan highs are an important water resource which has been an ongoing problem in the Palestine - Israel conflict. GERMANY: Potash pollution of the Rhine basin, a trans-border issue TURKEY: The cross-border water disputes in Mesopotamia that involve Turkey, Iraq and Syria. ITALY: Water shortage is a problem in several dry areas of Italy, being Sicily the most important one. Also, Po regulations creates tensions among users).

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