Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα water resources. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα water resources. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τρίτη 23 Δεκεμβρίου 2014

China confirms its southern glaciers are disappearing

By Christina Larson, Science Insider
BEIJING—Glaciers in China that are a critical source of water for drinking and irrigation in India are receding fast, according to a new comprehensive inventory. In the short term, retreating glaciers may release greater meltwater, “but it will be exhausted when glaciers disappear under a continuous warming,” says Liu Shiyin, who led the survey for the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute in Lanzhou.
In 2002, Chinese scientists released the first full inventory of the country’s glaciers, the largest glacial area outside of Antarctica and Greenland. The data came from topographical maps and aerial photographs of western China’s Tibet and Xinjiang regions taken from the 1950s through the 1980s. That record showed a total glacial area of 59,425 square kilometers. The Second Glacier Inventory of China, unveiled here last week, is derived from high-resolution satellite images taken between 2006 and 2010. The data set is freely available online.

Liu and his colleagues calculated China’s total glacial area to be 51,840 square kilometers—13% less than in 2002. That figure is somewhat uncertain because the previous inventory used coarser resolution images that may have mistaken extensive snow cover for permanent ice, says Raymond Bradley, director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who was not involved in the project.

Methodological quibbles aside, the latest inventory flags a marked retreat of glaciers in the southern and eastern fringes of the Tibetan Plateau. “We found the fastest shrinking glaciers are those in the central upper reach of the Brahmaputra River, between the central north Himalaya [and] the source region of the tributary of the Indus River,” Liu says.

Matthias Huss, a glaciologist at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, applauds the openness in sharing data, which hasn’t always been the norm in China. “It is highly useful that the colleagues from China have made their data set available to the community. It will feed directly into global efforts to compile a worldwide glacier inventory and is a major improvement,” he says. “It will, for example, greatly support the effort of global glacier modeling to improve our understanding of glaciers’ response to climate change.”

Παρασκευή 19 Δεκεμβρίου 2014

Ethiopia dam tripartite committee to choose impact study firm in early 2015

The tripartite committee looking into Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is expected to meet by mid-January to choose an international firm to conduct studies on the dam's impact, Egypt's irrigation minister said Friday.

Hossam Moghazi told state news agency MENA that Egypt is committed to completing the study by mid-2015.   
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia had selected seven international firms in October to prepare technical and financial offers to conduct studies on Ethiopia's $4.2 billion dam project, which Egyptian officials fear could affect the country's water share.

The tripartite committee was expected to have selected the firm by mid-December. However, the deadline to receive offers was extended after two firms withdrew.

After meeting to study the firms' offers, the tripartite committee is expected to meet in Addis Ababa to sign the final contract.

The firm's report — based on a study to be conducted over five months — will include the dam's impact on upstream Nile countries Egypt and Sudan, as well as its environmental, social and economic effects.
An Ethiopian "people's delegation" arrived in Cairo on Tuesday for a three day visit. Delegates met with diplomats, religious figures, university professors and journalists.


Τρίτη 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2014

20% of Egypt's Nile water share lost through ‘misuse’

Egyptians waste 20 percent of the country’s share of water from the Nile, a water resources expert has said in comments reported by Al-Ahram Arabic news website.

Diaaeddin El-Qousi, a professor at the National Institute for Water, said on Sunday that Egyptians “misuse” water by leaving taps running and while washing cars, among other reasons.
Political science professor, Mostafa Elwi, called on Egyptian institutions to cooperate in order to find solutions to the Ethiopian dam issue.

The comments were made at a seminar held by the Research and Strategic Studies Institute for Nile Basin Countries.

Ethiopia's construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam has concerned the Egyptian government since May 2013.

The Nile is Egypt's main source of water, with an allocated flow of 55.5 km3/yr, according to the Nile Waters Agreement between Egypt and Sudan in 1959.

Παρασκευή 27 Ιουνίου 2014

Ban Ki-Moon advirtió sobre consumo de los recursos y su impacto ambiental

Esta semana, se ha reunido en Nairobi (capital de Kenia) la primera Asamblea de las Naciones Unidas para el Medioambiente (UNEA), para constituir el máximo organismo medioambiental creado por la ONU en su historia.

En la clausura del encuentro, el secretario general de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon, lanzó un llamamiento en cuanto a la insostenibilidad en el consumo actual de los recursos, señalando que "el aire que respiramos, el agua que bebemos y la tierra en la que crecen nuestros alimentos son parte de un ecosistema sujeto cada vez a una mayor presión por el crecimiento poblacional”.

La huella de este deterioro es "claramente perceptible" en desforestación de los bosques, en la escasez de la pesca, en la merma de los recursos hídricos y "en un cielo, un agua y una tierra cada vez más contaminados", señaló.

Ante una previsión de empeoramiento -con unas estimaciones de 10 mil millones de habitantes en 2050-, instó a todos los líderes a "actuar de manera firme" para promover un desarrollo sostenible integrando la protección medioambiental entre las estrategias más destacadas de su política.

Reconoció que no será una tarea complicada, ya que convergen numerosos intereses económicos procedentes, fundamentalmente, de la industria energética, de la agricultura y del comercio, si bien, los argumentos para intentarlo "son evidentes".

El secretario general de la ONU aseguró que el mundo se encuentra en una fase crucial para el desarrollo que se concretará tras la caducidad de los Objetivos del Milenio, a mitad de 2015.

  • Saying ‘change is in the air,’ Ban urges new UN body to galvanize global sustainability agenda

UN, 27 June 2014 – With the close of the Millennium Development Goal era just months away, and work already beginning on a successor agenda to reign in poverty and put the planet on a sustainable course before it is too late, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today the “timing could not be better” for the launch of a strong UN body tackling all issues relating to the environment.
“We are now poised for the crucial next phase of human development – a universal post-2015 sustainable development agenda. That agenda needs a strong voice for the environment,” Mr. Ban said in his address to the closing session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), which held its inaugural meeting this week in Nairobi, Kenya. 

More than 1,200 high-level participants, including UN officials, diplomatic and civil society delegations, have been taking part in the historic first session of the Environment Assembly, being held under the theme “A Life of Dignity for All.”
The body, created in answer to a call made by governments at the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) for a more representative entity dealing with the issue, includes all 193 UN Member States sitting alongside major stakeholders. The Environment Assembly now plans to meet every two years and will replace the Governing Council of the Nairobi-based UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
“With its augmented role as a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly, UNEA has the mandate and capacity to position the environment alongside peace and security, poverty reduction, global health, trade and sustainable economic growth as an issue of crucial importance to every government,” said Mr. Ban.
At UNEA this week, stakeholders deliberated on many important topics – including the sustainable development goals, consumption and production patterns, the environmental rule of law, and the illegal trade in timber and wildlife. “The message is clear: protecting humanity’s life support system is integral to sustainable development. And it is a duty for all,” the UN chief declared.....................http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48154#.U63YgkDm7gw

Τετάρτη 14 Μαΐου 2014

Ukraine ready to resume water supply to Crimea on its own terms

Ukraine is ready to resume water supply to Crimea through the North-Crimean canal on certain terms, the Chairman of Crimea’s Committee for Water Resources Development and Irrigated Farming, Igor Vail, told ITAR-TASS.

He said the Ukrainian side had sent a letter with a proposal to resume the supplies of freshwater from the River Dnieper to Crimea through the canal upon repayment of a debt of around $146,500, coordination of the price and return of the vehicles used in the Crimean system of water development.

“We have an official letter and no other conditions have been specified so far,” Vail said
April 26, 2014, Ukraine shut the North-Crimean canal, by which Crimea receives 85% of the freshwater it needs.
  • May 6, Crimea’s First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev said the region is fully independent from the supplies of Ukrainian freshwater today.
He said efforts were being made along several directions to ensure this independence, including the diverting of rivers and the Tagansky freshwater reservoir to the North-Crimean canal.

Σάββατο 22 Μαρτίου 2014

World Water Day: UN highlights water, energy links for sustainable development

UN, 22 March 2014 – To mark World Water Day, the United Nations is highlighting the key role that water and energy play in economic development and the eradication of poverty worldwide, and calling for strong measures to ensure their efficient and equitable use.
In his message for the Day, focused this year on the interdependence between the management of water and energy, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that “they interact with each other in ways that can help – or hinder – our efforts to build stable societies and lives of dignity for all.”

According to the 2014 World Water Development Report, which was released earlier in the week by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Water, some 768 million people do not have access to an improved source of water, and 2.5 billion do not have access to appropriate sanitation. 

The report further reveals that places where people do not have adequate access to water largely coincide with those where people have no electric power.
It goes on to describe the various ways in which water and energy relate to each other, explaining, for example, that energy is needed for the collection, transportation and treatment of water, and that at the same time, water is required in the production and extraction of fossil fuels. Likewise, droughts make energy shortages worse, while lack of electricity reduces farmers' ability to irrigate their fields.

“On World Water Day, let us pledge to develop the policies needed to ensure that sustainable water and energy are secured for the many and not just the few,” said the UN chief.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) estimates that approximately 70 per cent of the world's water resources are used for agriculture and warns that by 2025 two-thirds of the population could struggle to get access to this resource.
Warning about climate change and its worsening effects on water scarcity in many regions, Mr. Ban called for a sustainable and just use of this vital natural resource: “Water must be used – and electricity must be generated and distributed – equitably and efficiently, so all users get a fair share.” 

Noting that these goals are in line with UN-Water and the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, the UN chief added that they are also “crucially important elements in our discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.”
On a similar note, UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, stresses in a press release that “ill-thought out allocation of water has a disproportionate effect on the poorest sectors of society” and that “it is crucial that Governments apply a human rights framework to guide their actions.”
“People should not have to spend such a big part of their household income on securing water that their access to other human rights, such as the rights to food or health care is undermined,” Ms. De Albuquerque says, declaring: “Governments have a crucial role to play in making sure that increased electricity and water demands do not impose a disproportionate or unfair burden on the poor, and that water allocation prioritizes water for human consumption.” 

For her part, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova emphasized that “improving access to freshwater is about enabling millions of girls to go to school instead of walking kilometres to fetch water. It is about improving maternal health, curbing child mortality, and preserving the environment.”
“We need to better understand the complex interactions between resources that are closely interlinked, such as water, food and energy. And we must acknowledge that it is impossible to manage these resources sustainably if we treat them in isolation” she said, adding: “There is enough water in the world for everyone. What we continue to lack is better governance and the collective courage to craft fair compromise solutions.”
UNICEF estimates that 1,400 children under five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases due to lack of safe water, and adequate sanitation and hygiene.
The children's rights organization further estimates, along with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) that 10 countries are home to almost two-thirds of the global population without access to improved drinking water sources: China (108 million), India (99 million), Nigeria (63 million), Ethiopia (43 million), Indonesia (39 million), Democratic republic of the Congo (37 million), Bangladesh (26 million), United Republic of Tanzania (22 million), Kenya (16 million) and Pakistan (16 million). 



Πέμπτη 13 Μαρτίου 2014

Lower Mekong Countries Urge Halt to Lao Dam Project

Officials from the Mekong countries of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam are urging Laos to halt development of a dam project that could have a significant impact on downstream communities and ecosystems along the river.
Cambodian, Thai, and Vietnamese delegations visited the site of the planned dam on Wednesday. All three countries have expressed their concerns over the project.

Tek Vannara, head of Cambodia's NGO Forum, a consortium of organizations, told VOA Khmer he was still concerned after the visit to the Don Sahong dam site.

"If they block the fish migration passages by building this dam, some fish species will surely be lost," he said.

He added that the dam would affect at least 6 million Cambodians living either near the site or along the Mekong River or Tonle Sap lake.

Lao officials said they were conducting the project transparently and with the proper safeguards.

Sin Niny, permanent vice chair of Cambodia's National Mekong Committee, said Cambodia has maintained its position that Laos should stop the project and conduct more environmental assessments.

"We demand that Lao study in details as requested by other countries along the Mekong before starting the dam construction," said Sin Niny.

Meanwhile, more than 50 environmental and development organizations are preparing to submit a letter to the Mekong River Commission, an inter-regional body formed to tackle river issues, voicing their concerns over the impact of the dam.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

Πέμπτη 20 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Water scarcity among critical food security issues in Near East and North Africa. – United Nations, FAO

20 February 2014 – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today warned that water scarcity is one of the most urgent food security issues facing countries of the Near East and North Africa, with fresh water availability in the region expected to drop by 50 per cent by 2050.
FAO’s warning comes as ministers of agriculture and national officials prepare to tackle the issue at a meeting of the organization’s highest regional governing body beginning next Monday.

Among the issues on the agenda for the 32nd FAO Regional Conference for the Near East and North Africa is a new Regional Water Scarcity Initiative, launched by FAO to support member countries in identifying strategies, policies and practices that promote sustainable solutions to water scarcity and related food security problems. 

“The region has made significant strides in two decades in developing its water usage and storage capacities, but there is still much work to be done to improve water efficiency in agriculture, protect water quality, and address challenges related to climate change,” said Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa. 

FAO noted in a news release that per capita fresh water availability in the region has plummeted by two-thirds over the past 40 years, heightening concerns over the degradation of water quality and the impact of climate change. 

Demographic trends are adding urgency to the issue, the agency stated. Chronic undernourishment in the region is estimated at 11.2 per cent, based on the 2010-2013 reporting period, while the population continues to grow at 2 per cent, almost twice the global rate. 

Farming and other agricultural activities consume more than 85 per cent of available rain-fed, irrigated and groundwater resources, and the demand for agricultural products is expected to grow amid burgeoning urban populations and increased exports.
“Agriculture must be central to our responses to the challenge of water scarcity in the Near East and North Africa Region,” stated Mr. Ould Ahmed. “Agriculture is by far the largest user of water in the region, but it is also fundamental to our survival and long-term resilience, accounting for some $95 billion in added value to regional economies.”
Next week’s conference, whose theme is “For a resilient and food secure region,” will be the first of a series of meetings to be held in 2014 in each of FAO’s five operational regions. The agenda will include issues like food losses and waste along the production-to-consumption chain, enhancing gender equality, and approaches to improving agriculture and rural development. 

Participants are expected to offer guidance on priority areas for action, such as improving governance and institutions; giving more voice to farmers and other non-state stakeholders; and boosting efficiency in water use, both within and across national borders.
According to FAO, more than 60 per cent of the water resources used by countries in the region comes from outside of national and regional boundaries. 

The pilot phase of the Regional Water Scarcity Initiative was launched in June 2013 in six countries – Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia and Yemen. It began reviewing the current status of water availability and use and the potential for further agricultural production. 

It also began identifying and ranking options for future food supply in terms of both their economic and water-requirement costs, and, looking at the performance of agriculture water management and relevant policies, governance and institutional issues.

Τρίτη 18 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Tackling water, sanitation, energy nexus key to future sustainable development. – UN officials

18 February 2014 – The water, sanitation and sustainable energy crises are the among the world’s pre-eminent development challenges, senior United Nations officials warned today, urging Member States to adopt coherent integrated policies and innovative strategies to tackle these issues, which take a tragic toll on the lives of millions of poor people, especially women and young girls.
“Lack of access to water, sanitation and sustainable energy services is a compound magnifier of poverty, ill-health and mortality, and gender inequality,” said General Assembly President John Ashe as he opened the 193-member body’s thematic debate on the issue.

Today’s gathering is the first in the series of such debates and high-level events he will host this year to provide a platform for Member States and other stakeholders to set the stage for the post-2015 development agenda.
Mr. Ashe has made the effort to achieve a new post-2015 agenda to succeed the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the hallmark of his year-long Assembly presidency, which ends in September.
The MDGs, agreed by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000, aim to slash extreme hunger and poverty, cut maternal and infant mortality, combat disease and provide access to universal education and health care, all by the end of 2015. But these targets will likely not be reached in many countries and areas, and they will be incorporated in an even more ambitious post-2015 agenda.
“Addressing this nexus of water, sanitation and sustainable energy is not just a matter of grave concern, it is a matter of moral imperative for the entire international community,” said Mr. Ashe, explaining that the magnitude of the problem is great: 783 million people live without clean water; 2.5 billion have no adequate sanitation; and 1.4 billion people are without access to electricity.
He said the international community is already in agreement that energy, water and sanitation are essential to the achievement of many development goals. “They are inextricably linked to climate change, agriculture, food security, health, gender and education, among others,” said Mr. Ashe, adding: “So today, I ask you to consider how we can develop a more integrated approach to problem-solving so that we can best address this development nexus.”
“Let us not forget that we are working on behalf of countless millions who are currently consigned to eking out a living in the dark, who watch their infants die of dehydration, and who are mothers and wives, fathers and sons suffering the adverse effects of indoor air pollution that accrues from the use of inefficient energy services,” he said.
Tackling such “complex and self-reinforcing problems” will require Member States to “dig deep, to express your creativity, to share your experiences and to provide your guidance and inputs in collaborating to achieve these goals, and in creating a post-2015 world that allows every member of the global family to live in dignity,” said Mr. Ashe.
That call for diligent and creative action was echoed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene must feature prominently in the post-2015 development agenda. “We must improve water quality and the management of water resources and wastewater. This is a matter of justice and opportunity.”
With that in mind, he recalled the UN’s launch in 2007 of the CEO Water Mandate to engage the international business community in water and sanitation. In a similar vein, the Organization launched a “Call to Action on Sanitation” last year to drive progress on sanitation and water goals towards the 2015 target date and beyond.
“Affordable and reliable modern energy services are essential for alleviating poverty, improving health and raising living standards,” Mr. Ban continued, explaining that this is why he launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative in 2011. The initiative has three goals: universal access by 2030; improve efficiency of energy and cut waste; and to increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
“We need clean efficient energy to combat climate change,” he said, noting that with the global population now at 7 billion and rising, “by 2030 we will need 35 per cent more food, 40 per cent more water and 50 per cent more energy.”
Climate change will also exacerbate water stress and scarcity in many regions. If the current global warming trend is allowed to continue, all the international community’s efforts to provide universal and equitable access to water and energy will be undermined.
As such, he intends to convene a climate summit on 23 September for global leaders from government, business, finance, and civil society. “I want to catalyze ambitious action on the ground and mobilize greater political will for a meaningful legal climate agreement in 2015.”

Τετάρτη 22 Ιανουαρίου 2014

More than 30 earthquakes hit Texas towns after start of fracking

Fracking, a process of injecting large quantities of a chemical cocktail into the earth to tap subterranean natural gas reserves, has long been associated with seismic activity, and researchers last year linked drill sites to a series of quakes in parts of Ohio. Some Azle-area residents now say there’s no doubt that recent tremors across town have been brought on by similar operations in the Lone Star State, and on Tuesday they assembled before the Texas Railroad Commission to demand they action.
More than a hundred of residents appeared the comission that regulates mineral energy production in the state of Texas
“No disrespect, but this isn’t rocket science here,” Reno Mayor Lynda Stokes testified during the hearing. “Common sense tells you the wells are playing a big role in all this.”

As RT reports, at one point during the hearing, a man who identified himself as a retired rocket scientist said it doesn’t take someone with his expertise to see that increased fracking is causing the quakes.
“The correlation of increased fracking wastewater disposal and increased earthquakes is blindingly obvious,” another attendee, Sharon Wilson of the Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project, told the commission.
“If Texas regulators want to show that they’re not owned by the oil and gas industry,” Wilson said, they can “act now, study later.”
When Wilson later on read to the commission her requests, the crowd erupted in applause.
“We have three things that we’d like to ask for,” Wilson said. “We’d like to ask for wastewater injection to halt until the science exists to prevent related earthquakes; we’d like all seismic data collected to be publically available online and in real time; [and] we’d like those responsible for the injection wells to be held presumptively liable for damages caused earthquakes in the area.”
Larry Griffith of Briar, TX told the commission that his mobile home is roughly five miles away from the nearest fracking site but has felt the quakes nonetheless.
“I was standing in my house and it felt like a big truck hit the struck of the side of the house,” he said.
“You’re putting a layer of water underneath an open hole that’s causing the ground to be unstable. Who’s to say it’s not going to collapse and cause tremors?” Griffith asked.
Geologist Billy Caldwell told WFAA News ahead of the hearing that he has spent more than 50 years evaluating wells within the state for the oil and gas industry, and estimated that the big wigs involved in fracking drills wouldn’t be happy with his research.
“Caldwell said there are three small fault lines directly northwest of Azle,” the station reported. “He thinks it is likely that water being injected back into the earth at fracking disposal sites is leaking into these fault planes.”
“That causes slippage, and that causes the earthquakes," Caldwell told WFAA.
Todd Unger at WFAA reported that the commissions claims they are in the process of looking for a seismologist to examine local drill sites, but the group has already determined that at least one of the injection drills has had issues.
Voice of Russia, RT

Πέμπτη 31 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Ukraine’s Shale Gas Plans Pose Danger for Russia – WWF. -Russia cannot compel Ukraine to present an international assessment of the project’s risks because Russia has not ratified the United Nations’ Espoo Convention.

MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) –
Planned drilling for shale gas in Ukraine is likely to pollute downstream waters in neighboring Russia, environmental conservation group the World Wide Fund for Nature said Thursday.

Ukraine last year announced a joint project with Europe’s biggest oil company, Shell, to drill for shale gas in the eastern Kharkiv Region, which borders Russia. Extraction is due to begin in 2018 or 2019.

The project is expected to decrease Ukraine’s current dependence on natural gas from Russia following a series of so-called gas wars that saw Moscow using the lucrative resource for political leverage.

But shale gas extraction in the eastern region is likely to pollute the Seversky Donets River, which flows into Russia, the WWF’s Alexei Knizhnikov told RIA Novosti.

Russia cannot compel Ukraine to present an international assessment of the project’s risks because Russia has not ratified the United Nations’ Espoo Convention on cross-border environmental impact, said Knizhnikov, who oversees energy projects at the WWF’s Russian branch.

  • Moscow and Kiev both signed the convention in 1991, but only Ukraine ratified it.

  • Russia recently stepped up political pressure on Ukraine over the latter’s plans to sign an association agreement with the European Union next month.

Earlier this week, the chief executive of Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom demanded an immediate resolution of Ukraine’s unpaid August gas bill, which he said amounted to $882 million.

Τρίτη 8 Οκτωβρίου 2013

La moitié de l'humanité manquera d'eau potable d'ici 2030 (Ban Ki-moon)

Près de la moitié des habitants de la Terre manqueront d'eau potable d'ici 2030, a déclaré mardi le secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon inaugurant le Sommet de l'Eau à Budapest, en Hongrie.

"Près de la moitié de la population mondiale fera face à une pénurie d'eau d'ici 2030. Le demande de l'eau peut dépasser l'offre de 40%", a indiqué M.Ban.

Le secrétaire général de l'ONU a appelé les pays à œuvrer main dans la main pour éviter le gaspillage des ressources hydriques mondiales et garantir leur gestion raisonnable. Il a exhorté à perfectionner des systèmes d'irrigation pour économiser l'eau.

M.Ban a en outre rappelé que la communauté mondiale devait tout faire pour éviter les conflits internationaux provoqués par la pénurie d'eau.

Le Sommet de l'Eau se déroule à Budapest du 8 au 11 octobre.

Sur le même sujet:

Τετάρτη 18 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

Four African nations agree to improve use of key water resource under UN-backed plan. -Chad, Egypt, Libya and Sudan to ensure the equitable use of the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System.

Photo: growingblue.com
18 September 2013 – Four African nations today agreed to a United Nations-backed plan that seeks to optimize the use of a key underground aquifer system and improve the management of water resources.
The Strategic Action Programme, signed at the Vienna headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), commits Chad, Egypt, Libya and Sudan to ensure the equitable use of the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, a huge water resource that lies beneath the four nations.
It also commits the countries to strengthen and build on a previously existing regional coordination mechanism, in part by establishing a new Joint Authority for the Nubian Aquifer System, according to a news release issued by the IAEA.
“I congratulate all involved on this significant achievement,” said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. “Water is a key resource, and effective management and use of such water resources is essential for the future.”

The Programme lays the groundwork for improving cooperation among the four arid nations and for strengthening their capacity to monitor and manage the aquifer effectively, noted the Agency.

It added that, with growing populations and decreasing water availability from other sources in the region, the aquifer is under mounting pressure. “Removing water without a clear understanding of transboundary and other implications threatens water quality and has the potential to harm biodiversity and accelerate land degradation,” the IAEA pointed out.
The Programme resulted from a joint technical cooperation project of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the IAEA.

“UNDP would like to congratulate the Governments of Egypt, Libya, Chad and Sudan for achieving this important milestone towards the cooperative management of their shared sub-surface waters which will help to ensure maintenance of livelihoods and ecosystems dependent upon the aquifer,” said its Administrator, Helen Clark.
The Nubian aquifer is the world’s largest known ‘fossil’ water aquifer system, meaning that the water is ancient and non-renewable, according to the IAEA.

The joint technical cooperation project began in 2006 and has already completed a sophisticated model of the aquifer to assist the four countries in optimizing use of the aquifer to meet human needs, avoid transboundary conflict, and protect ecosystems dependent upon the resource.

The IAEA contributes to the project in part by employing isotopic hydrology techniques to monitor the quantity and quality of groundwater and how it moves underground.
Photo: NASA

Τετάρτη 13 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

NASA alert: Middle East loses fresh reserves size of Dead Sea in 7 years

The Middle East is headed towards a water shortage crisis, as NASA satellites show that reserves the size of the Dead Sea have been depleted in just seven years, largely due to well-drilling.
Newly-obtained results show that 144 cubic kilometres of freshwater – a volume nearly equivalent to that of the Dead Sea or Lake Tahoe – had been removed from the ground in the area that encompasses Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria between 2003 and 2009.
"That's enough water to meet the needs of tens of millions to more than a hundred million people in the region each year, depending on regional water use standards and availability," said Jay Famiglietti, the UC Irvine professor who led the team who made the findings, which are due to be published on Friday in Water Resources Reasearch magazine.

While 40 percent of the decline is in the soil and surface water, the decrease in groundwater, caused by human actions, is responsible for 90 cubic kilometers of the shortfall.
"Satellite data shows an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India," said Famiglietti.
The study was made possible by the US space agency’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites. The two identical vessels measure miniscule changes in the planet’s gravity through the variations in distance between them as they circle the Earth; postions influenced by the varying mass of the water reserves.
The research team said the depletion was caused by poor water management, combined with unfavorable climate conditions.
Iraqi women carry non-potable water back home through a sand storm in theoutskirts of Basra.(Reuters / Yannis Behrakis)
Iraqi women carry non-potable water back home through a sand storm in theoutskirts of Basra.(Reuters / Yannis Behrakis)
A devastating 2007 drought in the area not only caused depletions of surface water, which have still not been compensated, but also forced Iraqi authorities to order the drilling of more than 1,000 water wells. The actual number of wells drilled is likely to be much higher, as official statistics in the region are often patchy.
"That decline in stream flow put a lot of pressure on northern Iraq," said Kate Voss, another study author, "Both the UN and anecdotal reports from area residents note that once stream flow declined, this northern region of Iraq had to switch to groundwater.”
At the time, the country was at the height of a deadly sectarian conflict.
“In an already fragile social, economic and political environment, this did not help the situation," said Voss.
Iraqi children scramble for water at a collection point, overseen by British troops from the Black Watch and the Desert Rats, in Basra in southern Iraq.(Reuters / STR)
Iraqi children scramble for water at a collection point, overseen by British troops from the Black Watch and the Desert Rats, in Basra in southern Iraq.(Reuters / STR)
Last year’s authoritative Global Water Security report, produced by US intelligence agencies, marked the Middle East, naturally the driest region in the world alongside North Africa, as the area most vulnerable to water shortages, saying the situation was exacerbated by a lack of legal agreements and political instability.
"They just do not have that much water to begin with, and they're in a part of the world that will be experiencing less rainfall with climate change," Famiglietti said. "Those dry areas are getting dryer. Demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws.”
Turkey, whose territory houses the headwaters of the region’s two major rivers, Tigris and Euphrates, enjoys a strained relationship with Syria and Iraq, the countries further downstream, and has systematically diverted water for its irrigation, which is frequently inefficient (throughout the Middle East).
Meanwhile, the World Bank predicts that water demand in the region will rise by 60 percent by 2045.
Groundwater has made up the shortage so far but it is being extracted at much faster rates than it is replaced.
"Groundwater is like your savings account," said Matt Rodell, another study author, "It's okay to draw it down when you need it, but if it's not replenished, eventually it will be gone."
A view shows the bank of the Tigris river during a sandstorm in Baghdad.(Reuters / Mohammed Ameen)
A view shows the bank of the Tigris river during a sandstorm in Baghdad.(Reuters / Mohammed Ameen)
Residents collect water from a stream in a town in Diwaniya province, 150 km (93 miles) south of Baghdad.(REUTERS/Imad al-Khozai)
Residents collect water from a stream in a town in Diwaniya province, 150 km (93 miles) south of Baghdad.(REUTERS/Imad al-Khozai)

Κυριακή 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Η πυρηνική «κληρονομιά» της ΕΣΣΔ μολύνει ακόμα το Τατζικιστάν

Δεκάδες εκατομμύρια τόνοι ραδιενεργών αποβλήτων από ορυχεία ουρανίου της σοβιετικής εποχής παραμένουν εκτεθειμένα κοντά σε μεγάλες πόλεις του Τατζικιστάν, προειδοποιεί έκθεση του ΟΗΕ. Πρόκειται μάλιστα για ένα «από τα μεγαλύτερα προβλήματα της χώρας», το οποίο όμως είναι «απίθανο να επιλυθεί στο προσεχές μέλλον».

Η πρώτη πυρηνική βόμβα της Σοβιετικής Ένωσης, η οποία δοκιμάστηκε επί Στάλιν στις 29 Αυγούστου 1949, περιείχε ουράνιο από το βόρειο Τατζικιστάν, το οποίο ήταν τότε μέρος της ΕΣΣΔ.

Εξήντα και πλέον χρόνια μετά, σχεδόν 55 εκατομμύρια τόνοι ραδιενεργού υλικού παραμένουν σε ανοιχτούς χώρους χωρίς να έχουν υποστεί καμία επεξεργασία, προειδοποιεί η Οικονομική Επιτροπή για την Ευρώπη των Ηνωμένων Εθνών (UNECE).

Στη δεύτερη έκθεσή της για την προστασία του περιβάλλοντος στην πρώην σοβιετική δημοκρατία, η UNECE διαπιστώνει ότι οι τεράστιες ποσότητες αποβλήτων παραμένουν σήμερα στα επίπεδα όπου βρίσκονταν το 1990.

«Η αποθήκευση των πυρηνικών αποβλήτων είναι ένα από τα κυριότερα προβλήματα του Τατζικιστάν» εκτιμούν οι συντάκτες της έκθεσης.

Αρκετά από τα εγκαταλειμμένα ορυχεία βρίσκονται κοντά στο Κουτζάντ, τη δεύτερη μεγαλύτερη πόλη, η οποία φιλοξενούσε κέντρο επεξεργασίας στο οποίο κατέφθανε μετάλλευμα ουρανίου και από την Κιργιζία και το Ουζμπεκιστάν. Σύμφωνα με την UNECE, στην εγκατάσταση αυτή είχαν συσσωρευτεί 35.000 κυβικά μέτρα αποβλήτων με χαμηλά επίπεδα ραδιενέργειας.

Η υπηρεσία του ΟΗΕ συγχαίρει τις πρωτοβουλίες της Διεθνούς Υπηρεσίας Ατομικής Ενέργειας για την αντιμετώπιση της κατάστασης, εκτιμά ωστόσο ότι «λόγω της έκτασης του προβλήματος, είναι δύσκολο να φανταστεί κανείς ότι το ζήτημα θα επιλυθεί στο προσεχές μέλλον.

Η χρόνια έκθεση σε υψηλές συγκεντρώσεις ουρανίου είναι επικίνδυνη για την υγεία καθώς μπορεί να προκαλέσει βλάβες στους νεφρούς και αύξηση του κινδύνου εμφάνισης καρκίνου. 

.tanea gr

  • Second Environmental Performance Review of Tajikistan highlights lack of access to clean water and sanitation and need for improved waste management

Access to clean water and improved sanitation and waste management remain some of the most pressing environmental challenges for Tajikistan according to the second Environmental Performance Review of Tajikistan published today. The Review, performed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), takes stock of progress made by the country in the management of its environment since the country was first reviewed in 2004.
The Review covers 10 issues of importance to the country related to policymaking, planning and implementation, the financing of environmental policies, climate change, water management, waste management, human health and the environment and biodiversity conservation. It notes a series of improvements, including significant changes to the legal and policy framework in the area of the environment, as well as challenges that the country is still facing.
Tajikistan has abundant water resources. However, due to institutional weaknesses as well as inadequate funding and outdated infrastructure in the water sector, there are multiple challenges in the use and protection of water resources. Only one third of Tajikistan’s 7.2 million inhabitants have access to chlorinated piped water. Some 30% rely on spring water and the remainder of the population depend on river and ditch water sources. Only 5% of the population are connected to public sewerage. The functioning of the water supply and sewerage systems is, moreover, frequently interrupted by power outages, which is also a source of water contamination. Frequent power cuts limit water supply to a few hours per day. Although there has been an overall improvement since 2004 in the quality of drinking water, 15% of samples do not meet bacteriological standards today.
Waste management has been receiving more attention since 2004. Nevertheless, today municipal solid waste collection services are only provided for the urban population, which represents about 26% of the total population. Waste disposal practices require urgent improvement as even in the capital, Dushanbe, the city’s single disposal site does not meet sanitary norms and standards.
Tailing ponds from mining activities also pose a threat to human health in the country. Approximately 54.8 million tons of waste from past uranium mining operations are still located in unsecured sites in northern Tajikistan, a number of them close to Khujand, the country's second-largest city.
The Review concludes with a set of 47 recommendations to the country to improve management of its environment, to better integrate the goals of sustainable development into sectoral policies, to promote greater accountability to the public and to strengthen cooperation with the international community. The recommendations were approved by the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy.
The Review is available at: http://www.unece.org/env/epr/publications.html
For more information on the EPR Programme, please visit: http://www.unece.org/env/epr or contact info.epr@unece.org. 
Note to editors
In 1993, at the Second “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference, ministers requested UNECE to undertake Environmental Performance Reviews in countries that were not Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development members. By 2004, the first cycle of Reviews was completed (with the exception of Turkmenistan). UNECE is now finalizing the second round of reviews, taking stock of the progress made since the first review, and putting particular emphasis on implementation, integration, financing and the socio-economic interface with the environment.
At the seventh “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference in Astana in September 2011, ministers invited UNECE to conduct the third cycle of EPRs, which may additionally look at environmental governance and financing in a green economy context, countries’ cooperation with the international community and environmental mainstreaming in priority sectors.

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