Since water is crucial to generating energy and agriculture, a water crisis will raise global food prices and slow economic growth. With insufficient water, low economic growth, and high food prices, this could lead to a rise in failed states.
State lawmakers got a crash course Tuesday on Nevada’s complicated water laws as they prepare to consider several bills dealing with the most precious resource in the driest state in the nation.
Drought throughout East Africa has sharply curbed harvests and pushed the prices of cereals and other staple foods to unusually high levels, posing a heavy burden to households and special risks for pastoralists in the region.
Globally, the vast majority of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting the environment, and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.
With food demand and water scarcity rising, it’s time to stop treating wastewater like garbage and instead manage it as a resource that can be used to grow crops, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Everything we use, wear, buy, sell and eat takes water to make. That means the business of water is everyone’s business. Less than 1 percent of all the water on Earth is both fresh and accessible for drinking, irrigation, power generation and environmental benefits. As we close out 2016, we reflect on a year of worldwide headlines spotlighting trouble for that precious 1 percent. With record-breaking droughts and floods, the depletion of groundwater, toxic algal blooms and persistent competition for scarce supplies, freshwater challenges have risen to the top of global security concerns. In 2016, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, declared water crises to be the top global risk to society over the next decade.
In 2015, NASA’s satellite data revealed that 21 of the world’s 37 large aquifers are severely water-stressed. With growing populations, and increased demands from agriculture and industry, researchers indicated that this crisis is only likely to worsen.
During this time of year, Oklahomans are accustomed to searching the skies for signs of tornadoes. Today, they’re just as wary of the hazards coming from the ground beneath their feet. Tornado alley is now earthquake alley. Oklahoma is the most earthquake prone state in the continental US. What’s more astonishing is that nearly all of Oklahoma’s earthquakes are man-made. They are being triggered by the biggest and most important industry in the state: oil and gas production but it’s not from fracking, which is what most people think.
A disturbing trend in the water sector is accelerating worldwide. The new “water barons” — the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires — are buying up water all over the world at unprecedented pace.
Familiar mega-banks, investing powerhouses and others are also buying thousands of acres of land with aquifers, lakes, water rights, water utilities, and shares in water engineering and technology companies all over the world.
Oklahoma regulators are imposing new restrictions on energy companies injecting wastewater underground as they produce oil and natural gas, in the latest effort to stem a sharp increase in earthquakes.
The new rules, announced by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Monday evening, require operators in parts of two Oklahoma counties to reduce the amount of saltwater they inject underground by 38 percent from current levels in the next 60 days. The reduction will bring injected volumes to about 2.4 million barrels below those in 2012, when the most dramatic spike in the area earthquakes began.
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