The Next Global War Will Have Water At Its Center…

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An eight-ounce plas­tic bot­tle of drink­ing water retails for some­where between US$1 & $1.50 if you pur­chase at retail.
With bulk rate you get a bet­ter deal mon­e­tar­i­ly, as for the qual­i­ty of the drink­ing water, I can­not speak to that.
But water qual­i­ty is hard­ly what I want to talk about today, so there is that.
So at the rate of say US$1 per bot­tle, a gal­lon con­tain­er should cost approx­i­mate­ly US$8. Of course, again, because a gal­lon is con­sid­ered bulk-buy­ing the cost is expo­nen­tial­ly less.

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A gal­lon of gaso­line retails for some­where between US$2-$3, on the east coast of the United States, I imag­ine it may be a lit­tle more pricey on the west coast nev­er­the­less the cost of drink­ing water is now greater than the cost of gaso­line.
Who would have thunk it?[sic]
For years now I have been telling friends and fam­i­ly mem­bers that the next major con­flict to engulf the world will prob­a­bly be over clean drink­ing water.

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As sci­en­tist con­tin­ue to warn about the dan­ger cli­mate change pos­es to our plan­et, it is not dif­fi­cult to see how ris­ing ocean lev­els could con­t­a­m­i­nate fresh­wa­ter sources.
Droughts and wild­fires caused by defor­esta­tion and chang­ing tem­per­a­tures will force nations to com­pete more aggres­sive­ly for the pre­cious com­mod­i­ty.
The gen­er­al con­sen­sus is that 71% of the earth­’s sur­face is water, addi­tion­al­ly, water also exists in the air as water vapor, in rivers and lakes, in ice­caps and glac­i­ers, in the ground as soil mois­ture and in aquifers, and even in you and your dog, accord­ing to one expert.
Nevertheless, not all of that water is drink­able water, and as we are all well aware, we each use a lot of water in our every day lives.
Estimates vary, but each per­son uses about 80 – 100 gal­lons of water per day. Are you sur­prised that the largest use of house­hold water is to flush the toi­let, and after that, to take show­ers and baths? With about 7.7 bil­lion peo­ple on the plan­et, the need for clean drink­ing water is a grow­ing one even as water becomes less abun­dant.

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In India peo­ple line up and wait for the pre­cious com­mod­i­ty

According to [Sciencedaily], about 70% of water flow reach­ing Egypt is derived from the Blue Nile and Atbara River, both sourced in Ethiopia. Over the past 200 years, rapid­ly increas­ing human activ­i­ty has seri­ous­ly altered flow con­di­tions of the Nile. Emplacement in Egypt of bar­rages in the 1800s, con­struc­tion the Aswan Low Dam in 1902, and the Aswan High Dam in 1965 has since altered water flow and dis­tri­b­u­tion of nour­ish­ing organ­ic-rich soil in the delta.

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Water Shortage in Latin America

Egypt’s pop­u­la­tion has recent­ly swelled rapid­ly to about 90 mil­lion, with most liv­ing in the soil-rich Lower Nile Valley and Delta. These two areas com­prise only about 3.5% of Egypt’s total area, the remain­der being a most­ly sandy desert. Due to much-inten­si­fied human impact, the delta no longer func­tions as a nat­u­ral­ly expand­ing flu­vial-coastal cen­ter. Less than 10% of Nile water now reach­es the sea, and most of the nutri­ent-rich sed­i­ment is trapped in the delta by a dense canal and irri­ga­tion sys­tem.

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And in North Africa too.

According to the [Financialtimes], For cen­turies, the banks of the Nile have been home to farms pro­duc­ing rice as well as cot­ton and wheat. But now water short­ages, soil degra­da­tion, and pol­lu­tion have cre­at­ed a cri­sis that has under­mined agri­cul­ture in the delta, which is strug­gling to sup­port mil­lions of impov­er­ished farm­ers.

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Egypt forced to reduce rice cul­ti­va­tion

According to [Researchgate], Water scarci­ty has direct impli­ca­tions for food secu­ri­ty in arid regions. Egypt faces an esca­lat­ing sit­u­a­tion of water scarci­ty, as its renew­able fresh­wa­ter resources are fixed and the pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing rapid­ly. The per capi­ta sup­ply of fresh­wa­ter is already dan­ger­ous­ly low and pre­dict­ed to plum­met even fur­ther by the year 2025. 

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Millions do not have access to clean drink­ing water

Under British colo­nial rule, a 1929 treaty reserved 80 per­cent of the Nile’s entire flow for Egypt and Sudan, then ruled as a sin­gle coun­try. That treaty was reaf­firmed in 1959. Usually upstream coun­tries dom­i­nate con­trol of a riv­er, like the Tigris and Euphrates, which are much reduced by the time they flow into Iraq from Turkey and Syria. The case of the Nile is reversed because the British colo­nials who con­trolled the region want­ed to guar­an­tee water for Egyptian agri­cul­ture. The sev­en upstream coun­tries — Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda — say the treaty is an unfair ves­tige of colo­nial­ism, while Egypt says those coun­tries are awash in water resources, unlike arid Egypt, which depends on just one.[Thenewyorktimes]

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Across the African con­ti­nent, the cri­sis is severe.

In a July 2017 arti­cle, titled How Egypt Is Slowly Losing Its Hold Over the Nile River [world­pol­i­tic­sreiew] said; Currently, more than 430 mil­lion peo­ple live across the 11 coun­tries that make up the Nile Basin: Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Eritrea. The pop­u­la­tion of the Nile Basin is like­ly to jump to near­ly 1 bil­lion by 2050.
The upstream coun­tries “can’t wait for­ev­er for Egypt to get onboard,” says Aaron Wolf, a pro­fes­sor of geo­sciences at Oregon State University.

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Brazil sleep­walk­ing into a water cri­sis

As the Amazon burns, wild­fires become a sta­ple across California, mas­sive storms wipe out entire pop­u­la­tion, killing thou­sands and the polar ice caps con­tin­ue to melt at a record pace, it has become clear that the cli­mate cri­sis is not some abstract issue of the future it is here.
Clean drink­ing water will become more and more valu­able even as it becomes more scarce.
Each and every one of the 7.7 bil­lion of us have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to be more coignizant of this cri­sis and do our part in con­serv­ing this pre­cious com­mod­i­ty.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer Jamaican police Detective cor­po­ral, a busi­ness own­er, avid researcher, and blog­ger. 
He is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog chatt​-​a​-box​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
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