Sunday, March 30, 2008

Strategic implications of water availability

Muhammad Zamir in the Daily Star (Dhaka): ….Certain areas of the world are faced today not only with dwindling freshwater supplies and inequitable access but also with a growing corporate control of water sources. Juxtaposed, they are emerging as serious strategic threats to sustainable development as well as to survival. This brew is also being further compounded through climate change from fossil fuel emissions and conflicting greed for freshwater -- between nations, rich and poor, public and private interest, rural and urban populations and the competing needs of the natural world as opposed to the industrialised economics.

… There is a lesson here for all developing countries including Bangladesh. Our policy planners also need to address water security issues with utmost seriousness. Efforts and perspective planning in this regard should include finding the necessary energy to extract water from underground aquifers, transporting water through pipelines and canals, managing and treating water for reuse and desalinating brackish and sea water for use in the coastal areas. If need be, this could be undertaken through a public and private partnership, with private sector providing the necessary technology and funding support. Management of such enterprises could also be through public and private joint endeavour.

… In this context it would be important for all countries in South Asia to treat this issue as a common end and not confine in bilateral connotations. We have more water than we can handle during the monsoons and the ensuing floods. At other times we have massive draughts that affect agriculture, the environment as well as economic opportunities. To that has been added the threat of arsenic poisoning. This uncertainty has been made further complex through climate variability….

India southwest summer monsoon, "Ayack" from a map by "Saravask," Wikimedia Commons

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