Published on February 26th, 2020 | by Cynthia Shahan0
Water, Peace, & Security — Under Threat
February 26th, 2020 by Cynthia Shahan
We published a World Resource Institute article a few weeks ago about conflicts and water, “We Predicted Where Violent Conflicts Will Occur in 2020. Water Is Often a Factor.”
We write about CO2 emissions of fossil fuels quite a bit on CleanTechnica, but there is something that bears repetition as well. It is that renewable energy typically uses much less water than other electricity sources. The overuse of water, including for our power plants, is something that critically threatens our children.
Daryl Elliott also delved into another major water user, animal agriculture. According to the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development: “69% of the world’s freshwater withdrawals are committed to agriculture. The industrial sector accounts for 19% while only 12% of water withdrawals are destined for households and municipal use.”
Yes, it can feel like a precarious balance between the quicksand of being in denial or, instead, using Susan Kucera’s word, having “agency” — acting for positive change. Being able to gain one’s agency in the world and move forward is the trick. We can think about water when we run our showers, take baths, and wash our clothes, but to have the greatest influence on the matter, the number one way we can have a positive impact on water resources is by buying food that require less use of water.
Another water-related issue is the state of our oceans. On the gulf side of Florida, for the past 40 years that I have lived here, I have witnessed our sea water issues increase significantly — from ocean acidification to red tide. We are facing tragic repercussions from industries that have not been regulated well, making life increasingly challenging in Gulf of Mexico ecosystems — including triggering respiratory problems in people living nearby and economic anemia in certain regions as a result.
Getting back to the World Resource Institute’s work, “The Water, Peace, and Security tool is a data platform where actors from the global defense, development, diplomacy, and disaster relief sectors and national governments can identify conflict hotspots before violence erupts, begin to understand the local context, and prioritize opportunities for water interventions.”
What if we could predict violent conflicts before they arise and help stop them? The groundbreaking WPS Global Early Warning Tool was created with that goal, using data from the Pacific Institute’s Water Conflict Chronology: https://t.co/eNlzkz1Y6y @WorldResources @WaterPeaceSec pic.twitter.com/drM88uYXIp
— Pacific Institute (@PacificInstitut) February 14, 2020
— Bianca Torossian (@b_torossian) February 21, 2020
“Water insecurity is increasing worldwide. In response to these threats the Water, Peace and Security partnership develops innovative tools and services that help identify water-related security risks, and allow stakeholders to TAKE ACTION at an early stage.
“Our process depends on global data collection and validation, and on understanding how water shortage can translate into social consequences locally. Our participatory approach understands that dialogue between different parties is crucial to solving conflict, increases joint understanding of the water system, and broadens the scope of actions that can be taken.”
The WRI’s tool goes much deeper than analyzing the problems, though. It also offers tools for different levels of societal leadership to help address the challenge in an effective way. “Population and economic growth, as well as climate change, have pushed water crises to the top of the global agenda. Given the scale of the issues, delivering sustainable water management required rapid mobilization of funding for water-related improvements and more effective use of existing resources. The Achieving Abundance Working Paper proposes a method whereby any decision-maker can calculate the cost required to deliver sustainable water management to a geography.
“This dataset calculates the cost of action required to close the gap between current conditions and desired conditions to financially compare and prioritize water-related challenges or different targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6. The data estimate the costs of delivering sustainable water management for all countries and major basins around the world.”
— Water, Peace & Security (@WaterPeaceSec) February 19, 2020
A highly interactive and very informative map by @WaterPeaceSec, mapping potential regions of conflict over water. Droughts are already affecting over 50m people annually and this set to increase dramatically due to the climate crisis. https://t.co/uK8el9r7CD pic.twitter.com/IB6wPlmJ1g
— Minority Rights Group International (@MinorityRights) February 2, 2020
Featured image by Cynthia Shahan
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