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Ed Webb

Syrian war spurs first withdrawal from doomsday Arctic seed vault - Yahoo News - 0 views

  • Syria's civil war has prompted the first withdrawal of crop seeds from a "doomsday" vault built in an Arctic mountainside to safeguard global food supplies, officials said on Monday.

    The seeds, including samples of wheat, barley and grasses suited to dry regions, have been requested by researchers in the Middle East to replace a collection in the Syrian city of Aleppo that has been damaged by the war.

  • Many seeds from the Aleppo collection have traits resistant to drought, which could help breed crops to withstand climate change in dry areas from Australia to Africa.
Ed Webb

Can Solar Desalination Slake the World's Thirst? - Scientific American - 0 views

  • Another large-scale solar desalination project is currently under construction in Saudi Arabia and scheduled for completion in early 2017. The plant is slated to produce 60,000 cubic meters of water per day for Al Khafji City in North Eastern Saudi Arabia, ensuring a constant water supply to the arid region throughout the year. According to Abengoa, the Spanish renewable energy company building the pioneering facility, the incorporation of solar would significantly reduce operating costs, as Saudi Arabia currently burns 1.5 million barrels of oil per day at its desalination plants, which provide 50-70 percent of its drinking water. Total desalination demand in Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries is expected to reach 110 million cubic meters a day by 2030.
Ed Webb

Turkey: PKK threatens dam projects in southeast - 0 views

    Aim off due to this being Turkey's semi-official news agency/propaganda organ
Ed Webb

New Ethiopian dam flares tensions over water access | Mada Masr - 0 views

  • Ethiopian media said that the country's government finished plans to establish a second main dam on the Nile, irrespective of the rising tensions with Egyptian authorities.

    “Members of the left-wing of Ethiopia's ruling party are accusing the US of disturbing the balance in the region by supplying Egypt with F16 jets, as well as millions of dollars in military aid, which gave Egypt the courage to pressure the rest of the Nile Basin countries,” the Somalian Sun reported according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.

    “There’s no need to acquire Egypt’s approval for establishing any dams in Ethiopia since Egypt previously established the High Dam without Ethiopia’s approval,” the newspaper added.

  • The 6,000-megawatt Renaissance Dam, which heads a 63-billion cubic meter reservoir, is expected to generate three times the electricity generated by the Aswan High Dam and hold twice the amount of water held in Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake.
Ed Webb

Environment Magazine - September/October 2013 - 0 views

  • the Chinese drive for water security may spark a series of actions that others may interpret as threats even while inside China they may be technical responses to very real risks
    • Ed Webb
      Akin to the classic security dilemma: efforts to ameliorate environmental problems may be misconstrued as hostile or their unintended consequences read as intentional.
  • The regional security difficulty lies not only in Tibetan politics, but in the fact that the Yarlung-Tsangpo becomes the Brahmaputra once it crosses into India in Arunachal Pradesh, a territory disputed by India and China and heavily militarized. Diversions affecting the Brahmaputra would imperil India's own water security, including hydropower and irrigation projects, and would have further impacts downstream in Bangladesh. Although China may see its water projects as increasing its own security, India and Bangladesh view the Chinese actions as a direct threat to their national security. Specifically, China's actions have the potential to increase the risk of water-related population stresses, cross-border tension, and migration and agricultural failures for perhaps a billion people in India and Bangladesh, and its actions may be interpreted as a security threat by India
  • Many systems rely on predictable delivery of water, and too much or too little at the wrong time can spell catastrophe for agriculture, power, transport, or other critical systems linked around the globe
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  • The connections between extreme heat/drought in Russia in the summer of 2010 and the subsequent Arab Spring revolts in late 2010 are an example of where changes in one system (in this case, water/moisture for food production) may contribute to existing instability in a far different geographical region.
  • The topic of environmental security also raises questions about what or who is driving policy priorities and how science is (mis)communicated to policymakers.
  • Complex risk assessments must take into account the multidimensional and interdisciplinary nature of the strategic environment. Providing adequate resources for these complex assessments requires knowledge not only of climate and weather systems, but of particular geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic factors that make environmental hazards unique to each region and community
Ed Webb

Rouhani pushes ahead with controversial Khuzestan water project - Al-Monitor: the Pulse... - 0 views

  • During the past few months, the people of Khuzestan had strongly objected to the implementation of the project known as Behesht Abad, which aims to transfer water from the Karun River to the central provinces of the country.

    The Behesht Abad project involves the transfer of more than 1 billion cubic meters [1.3 billion cubic yards] of water from the tributaries of the Karun River to the central provinces of Iran such as Yazd, Isfahan and Kerman. The project, which would stop the flow of Karun into the Persian Gulf, has been faced with strong opposition from the people and environmental activists of Khuzestan province.  

  • If we survey the local websites, we can clearly see that for the people of this region issues such as employment, environmental pollution and hydraulic basins are more important than political issues
  • the transfer of water, even when it is intended for providing drinking water, in fact is used to expand the farming industry in the central provinces. In these provinces, the drinking water is being used for farming and when there is a shortage in drinking water, the provinces once again ask for drinking water. With this method, the central provinces expand their own farming lands
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  • The province of Khuzestan, situated in southwest Iran, has been faced with many environmental problems during the past few years. Its capital city of Ahvaz has been identified by the World Health Organization as the second-most polluted city in the world. It is also reported that since 2001 there has been a substantial increase in the density of the floating particles in Khuzestan’s air. This fact has resulted in the emergence of acid rains
  • this water is needed for preserving the water quality in the Shadegan Wetland, an international wetland and one of the largest wetland ecosystems of the world. The Karun River, in its course through Khuzestan, provides water for several large and small wetlands that are very important in maintaining the local ecosystem
  • There are more than 3.3 million hectare [12,741 square miles, an area roughly the size of Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined] of cultivable land available in Khuzestan, but considering the available water sources, only 1.5 million hectare [5,791 square miles] of it have the potential of being cultivated. The restricting element in Khuzestan, even more than the budget, is the water.
  • With the implementation of the projects Kuhrang I, Kuhrang II and Kuhrang III, more than 930 million cubic meters [1.2 billion cubic yards] of water has been transferred from the tributaries of the Karun River to the central areas of the country. So far, the residents of Khuzestan, almost half of them ethnic Arabs, have had four peaceful gathering on the banks of the Karun River asking for an end to the Behesht Abad project. At the same time, some of the MPs in parliament have accused the central government of having a discriminatory behavior toward the residents of Khuzestan
  • seven members of Rouhani’s cabinet are from the province of Isfahan, which is to be a beneficiary of the water transferred from Karun’s tributaries
    Rare to get news of local environmental politics in Iran.
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