Sunday, November 8, 2009

Yemen could become first nation to run out of water

Summary: Yemen is set to be the first country in the world to run out of water, providing a taste of the conflict and mass movement of populations that may spread across the world if population growth outstrips natural resources.

Comment: This really puts things into perspective. When the world is talking about cutting down on CO2 emissions, and finding ways of storing and producing energy, there are still areas of the world where the very basic needs are scarce. The crazy thing is, Dr.Webber's flyer about water policy talked about how water demanding many of the energy generation techniques were, but here in Yemen, the situation is completely different. They find themselves in a situation where energy...just doesn't even matter. They are in a situation where water policy is the most important matter to discuss and legislate. It is a matter of life and death. The amazing thing is that gangs protect trunks containing water with guns. The most powerful currency in Yemen without a doubt is water. The government has anounnced that wells will run dry within ten years. Without mentioning their unstable civil wars, which lead to gangs obtaining ilegal water.
One of the main problems also, is the fact that yemen's growth rate is very high, one of the highest in the world. This makes things even worse. More mouths to feed means more problems. Most people can't afford water, and end up spending almost half of their money on all the water they can find.
Something they need to look at is agriculture. With almost 40% of water being consumed by Qat trees, which is a local drug, little is left for essential daily water use. The idea of constructing a desalination plant is good, however very expensive. Disease will increase and Yemen will find themselves in a situation where, if no one helps them out from the outside, they will find themselves in extreme civil war. Desperate times will produce fear and hatred. So this really does look like a very serious problem.

1 comment:

Diego said...

Totally true. Today we only can't see our own problems and we can't imagine how better would be many countries if they were as bad as we are right now. For us the problem about water is something we hear about, but we don’t worry much about it because it doesn't sound as something that can affect us soon.
The question is should we use part of the money we have to "save" the world (the environment) to help one country? The answer, of course, is YES. But then a huge argument could start because every country in the world would want the same help for their own problems. It's complicate to take a decision, but we agree we can't let a country die not having done first our best to help it! Water is a huge problem today for Yemen, maybe tomorrow for their neighbors, maybe next month for other continents, maybe not much further also for the US. Maybe we should learn for one time and solve the problems before they kill us, even if it means helping countries who are not our “friends”.