Water Shortages and Droughts will affect the Energy Sector

Revelations 18:23 ’For the merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.’

Important Takeaways:

  • The Global Water Crisis Could Crush The Energy Industry
  • In recent months, we have seen extreme droughts across Europe and the U.S., which are finally making people realize the significance of water security
  • For years, the energy sector, and almost every other sector, has taken water for granted, viewing it as an abundant resource. But as we move into a new era of renewable energy, the vast amounts of water required to power green energy operations may not be so easy to find. And it’s not just renewables that are under threat from water scarcity, as it also hinders fossil fuel production and threatens food security.
  • A recent study published in the Journal Water found that 61 percent of all global hydropower dams will be in basins with very high or extreme risk for droughts, floods or both. In addition, one in five hydropower dams will be in high flood risk areas, an increase from one in 25 today.

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Wildfires and water shortages SoCal facing precarious problem

Revelation 16:9 “They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.”

Important Takeaways:

  • SoCal facing “precarious situation” as water levels hit historic lows
  • They’re among more than 1,600 people who have exceeded their water budgets by 150% as the state faces a water and drought crisis exacerbated by climate change, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District spokesperson Mike McNutt told Axios on Tuesday evening.
  • California is the the grip of an ongoing megadrought that led Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to expand a drought emergency declaration last October and officials in the south of the state to declare a water shortage emergency in April, restricting outdoor water usage.
  • Federal officials have issued increasingly urgent warnings about the need to conserve water, especially in the U.S. West.
  • Meanwhile, California remains prone to wildfires — and five large fires are currently burning across the state.

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Sierra Nevada breaks records but not drought

Luke 21:25,26 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Important Takeaways:

  • Sierra Nevada records nearly 17 feet of snow this month – enough to break records – after months of extreme drought that triggered water shortages and stoked wildfires
  • The increased snowfall and moisture the state has experienced this month finally helped to end the wildfire season.
  • Many states across the region have reported about a 90 percent drought with some states completely in drought.  
  • Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada accounts for 30 percent of California’s fresh water supply in an average year, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

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New app predicts water-related conflict up to year in advance

By Emma Batha

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Conflicts over water are likely to flare up in Iraq, Mali and India in the coming year, according to the developers of an app launched on Thursday which aims to help prevent violence by flagging up potential flashpoints.

They said the “groundbreaking” early warning tool, which has also predicted risks in Iran, Nigeria and Pakistan, could spot the likelihood of conflicts – including water-related violence – up to 12 months in advance.

Climate change, increasing populations, rapid urbanisation, economic growth and expanding agriculture are compounding pressures on the world’s limited water supplies.

U.N. data shows a quarter of the globe is using water faster than natural sources can be replenished.

The tool will enable governments and others, including development and disaster response experts, to intervene early to defuse conflicts, according to the Water, Peace and Security (WPS) partnership which is behind the app.

It said trials suggested an 86% success rate in identifying conflicts with 10 casualties or more.

“This app is very important given the escalation of water-related conflicts across the world,” said Jessica Hartog, a climate change expert with International Alert, a WPS partner.

“It will save lives, absolutely, if we see politicians acting on the early warning data it will provide,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The WPS Global Early Warning Tool uses machine learning to pinpoint conflict risks on the basis of more than 80 variables going back 20 years.

This includes data on precipitation and droughts from satellite sources, and socio-economic and demographic data on everything from population density to past patterns of violence.

“Water is often an overlooked risk factor in conflict,” said Charles Iceland, a senior water expert at the World Resources Institute, part of the WPS partnership which is supported by the Netherlands’ foreign ministry.

“This could be a breakthrough in development and peacekeeping operations, giving time to intervene before bloodshed occurs.”

The tool has been trialled in Mali where water scarcity is a factor in violence between Dogon farmers and Fulani herders.

“Data is one of the most powerful things you can have to reach policymakers and politicians,” said International Alert’s Hartog.

“In Mali, we’re already bringing the government and civil society groups together to discuss the risks we’re seeing.”

In Iraq, WPS predicted the situation would deteriorate in Basra where access to safe water is a major problem, with more than 120,000 people hospitalised last year after drinking polluted supplies.

(Reporting by Emma Batha @emmabatha; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

‘Creeping silent crisis’ seen menacing world’s crops

FILE PHOTO: A crop scout walks through a soybean field to check on crops during the Pro Farmer 2019 Midwest Crop Tour, in Allen County, Indiana, U.S., August 19, 2019. REUTERS/P.J. Huffstutter/File Photo

By Thin Lei Win

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A “creeping, silent crisis” is menacing the world’s food supply as water shortages could jeopardise up to 40% of all irrigated crops by 2040, a U.S. think tank said on Monday.

Erratic rainfall caused by climate change also threatens the water supply for a third of crops that rely on monsoon, said the World Resources Institute (WRI).

“Humankind is not very good at acting before crisis happens. We’re really good at crisis management but that’s very reactive,” said Rutger Hofste, an associate at WRI.

“This is a creeping, silent crisis and we would like to ring the alarm bells before it’s too late,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Scientists say water supplies are threatened by many factors, including climate change and mismanagement, but farming is one of the largest factors, using 70% of freshwater.

On Monday, the think tank launched an online tool called Aqueduct Food, which maps water risks for more than 40 crops, including banana, coffee, soybean and cotton.

Among irrigated crops, it found nearly 67% of wheat, 64% of maize and 19% of rice could be in areas with extremely high water stress by 2040.

The three crops together account for more than 40% of the world’s calorie supply, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Urgent action is needed, be it to improve irrigation and soil, better crop choices and less food loss and waste, it said.

(Reporting By Thin Lei Win @thinink, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths )

Japan faces ‘frequent’ disasters as flood toll reaches 200

Rescue workers search for missing people at a landslide site caused by heavy rain in Kumano Town, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Issei Kato

KURASHIKI, Japan (Reuters) – Japan risks more severe weather and must find ways to alleviate disasters, a government spokesman said on Thursday, as intense heat and water shortages raised fear of disease among survivors of last week’s floods and landslides.

Torrential rain in western Japan caused the country’s worst weather disaster in 36 years, killing 200 people, many in communities that have existed for decades on mountain slopes and flood plains largely untroubled by storms.

Rescue workers and Japan Self-Defense Forces soldiers search for missing people at a landslide site caused by heavy rain in Kumano Town, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Rescue workers and Japan Self-Defense Forces soldiers search for missing people at a landslide site caused by heavy rain in Kumano Town, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

But severe weather has been battering the country more regularly in recent years, raising questions about the impact of global warming. Dozens of people were killed in a similar disaster last year.

“It’s an undeniable fact that this sort of disaster due to torrential, unprecedented rain is becoming more frequent in recent years,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo.

Saving lives was the government’s biggest duty, he said.

“We recognize that there’s a need to look into steps we can take to reduce the damage from disasters like this even a little bit,” he said.

He did not elaborate on what steps the government could take.

More than 200,000 households had no water a week after disaster struck and many thousands of people were homeless.

With temperatures ranging from 31 to 34 Celsius (86 to 93 Fahrenheit) and high humidity, life in school gymnasiums and other evacuation centers, where families spread out on mats on the floors, began to take a toll.

Television footage showed one elderly woman trying to sleep by kneeling across a folding chair, arms over her eyes to keep out the light.

With few portable fans in evacuation centers, many survivors waved paper fans to keep cool.

Tight water supplies meant that people were not getting enough fluids, authorities said.

“Without water, we can’t really clean anything up. We can’t wash anything,” one man told NHK television.

Local residents try to clear debris at a flood affected area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Local residents try to clear debris at a flood affected area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The government has sent out water trucks but supplies remain limited.

In the hard-hit Mabi district of Kurashiki city in Okayama prefecture, piles of water-damaged refrigerators, washing machines and furniture lined the streets as residents used hoses to wash mud out of their homes.

Unable to join in the strenuous work Hisako Takeuchi, 73, and her husband, spent the past five nights at an elementary school that had been turned into a make-shift evacuation center.

“We only have each other and no relatives nearby. We aren’t able to move large things and we desperately need volunteer helpers,” said Takeuchi.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on a visit to Kurashiki on Thursday, promised to provide help as soon as possible. He is set to visit two other hard-hit areas on Friday and the weekend.

More than 70,000 military, police and firefighters toiled through the debris in a search for bodies.

Teams used diggers and chainsaws to clear landslides and cut away wreckage of buildings and trees. Many areas were buried deep in mud that smelled like sewage and had hardened in the heat.

(Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Darren Schuettler, Robert Birsel)

Turkish dam project threatens rift with Iraq over water shortages

A general view shows a costruction site of the Ilisu dam by the Tigris river in southeastern Turkey, September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

By Ahmed Aboulenein and Ali Kucukgocmen

BAGHDAD/ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Iraq is surprised by Turkey’s decision to start holding back water behind its Ilisu dam earlier than promised, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday, suggesting it was done to win support for the government in upcoming elections.

Turkey has started filling the dam basin, a step that has alarmed neighboring Iraq, which is struggling with a water crisis.

“The Turkish prime minister had promised me they would start filling the dam at the end of June, not the start, so I was surprised to see they started,” Abadi told a news conference.

“I am aware that they have elections on June 24 and perhaps need to get the support of farmers,” he added, referring to Turkey’s planned general elections for president and parliament.

Turkey’s ambassador in Baghdad said Ankara is cooperating.

“We will not take any step without consultation with the neighboring country on how we can cooperate and provide support during any problem, Fatih Yildiz told a news conference through an Arabic translator.

A spokesman for Turkey’s Ministry of Forest and Water Management spokesman said Turkey was “partially” filling the dam’s basin.

Around 70 percent of Iraq’s water resources flow from neighboring countries, especially in the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Both flow through Turkey.

Abadi was at lengths on Tuesday to show his outgoing government was doing everything it can to tackle the issue.

“There are plans to secure our water resources on both the domestic and foreign fronts. Yes, there is a water shortage this year, but it is not a crisis,” he said.

The government has plans to provide water to farmers, Abadi said, especially for Iraq’s strategic wheat crop. At the same time, it might reduce plots of land reserved for planting other crops that consume a lot of water.

Iraqi media suggested Baghdad had asked Ankara to delay holding back water because of its own election, which took place on May 12. Abadi’s bloc came third, but he may yet secure a second term if he gathers support from the winning groups.

The dam issue was not the only point of contention between Baghdad and Ankara on Tuesday. Abadi demanded Turkey respect Iraq’s sovereignty in its approach to Kurdish militias.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had said on Monday that Turkish forces were waiting for the right time to carry out an operation in northern Iraq’s Qandil region where high-ranking members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are located.

Soylu had said that “Qandil is not a distant target” anymore. Abadi countered that the Turks had been “talking about that for over 35 years” and again suggested the statement was an attempt to score points before the Turkish elections.

“We will not accept any violations of Iraq’s sovereignty,” he said, adding there was no military coordination with Turkey on this issue.

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein in Baghdad and Ali Kucukgocmen in Istanbul; additional reporting by Maha El Dahan in Dubai; writing by Michael Georgy and Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Larry King)

At Least 10 Million Ethiopians Will Experience “Critical Food Shortages” in 2016

About 10.1 million Ethiopians — most of them children — will face “critical food shortages,” next year as the country grapples with its worst drought in half a century, Save the Children reports.

The international children’s advocacy group said in a news release this week that Ethiopia is currently experiencing its most devastating drought in 50 years, with the El Nino weather pattern to blame. The phenomenon occurs when a part of the Pacific Ocean is warmer than usual and has a far-reaching ripple effect that brings atypical weather throughout the world.

According to Save the Children, this year was the first time since 1989 that seasonal rains did not arrive in Ethiopia. With more than 80 percent of the country relying on that rainfall to produce the agricultural products they consume, many residents were at risk of going hungry.

The organization reports that 5.75 million Ethiopian children face food shortages, and 400,000 of them are at risk of severe malnutrition. The country’s population is about 95 million people, so data suggest more than 1 in 10 Ethiopians are at risk of the “critical food shortages” in 2016.

Save the Children reports northern and western Somalia are also affected by the drought, and some families in that country were venturing hundreds of miles as they tried to find water.

It’s expected that the emergency response to the drought will cost $1.4 billion, according to Save the Children. The Ethiopian government has already promised $192 million for relief efforts, though Save the Children said in a statement that additional assistance is “urgently needed.”

A United Nations group has warned this year’s El Nino is looking to be one of the three strongest in the past 65 years and may interact with climate change to create unprecedented effects.