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fresh water

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  • kirk
    West and Central Africa -- 20m people in six countries rely on Lake Chad for water; the lake has shrunk by 95% in the last 38 years China -- Two-thirds of
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2002
      West and Central Africa -- 20m people in six countries rely on Lake
      Chad for water; the lake has shrunk by 95% in the last 38 years

      China -- Two-thirds of cities are facing severe water shortages

      Iran -- up to 60% of people living in rural areas could be forced by
      drought to migrate to the cities

      Central Asia -- the level of the Aral Sea, formerly the world's
      fourth biggest inland sea, has dropped 16m (53 ft) and its area has
      almost halved

      "Bangladesh capital faces acute water crisis", Planet Ark, December
      13, 2001, Bangladesh -- Bangladesh authorities have been forced to
      call in the army to distribute drinking water in parts of the capital
      due to a chronic water shortage in the teeming city of nearly 10
      million. Dhaka regularly faces devastating floods in the wet season,
      but higher consumption is outstripping supplies.

      "Honduras rations drinking water due to lack of rain", Tegucigalpa,
      Honduras, Associated Press, December 11, 2001 -- The Honduran
      government initiated a seven-month rationing program for drinking
      water in the capital due to unseasonably low rainfall that has left
      aquifers practically dry... Honduras and countries across Central
      America suffered from an intensive four-month drought that left more
      than 366,000 people malnourished and damaged 700,000 hectares (1.7
      million acres) of grain crops in Honduras.

      "Drought Covers 20 Percent of the World", ENS, October 4, 2001,
      Washington, DC -- A new satellite-based method for early detection,
      monitoring and analysis of drought shows that almost 20 percent of
      the world's landmass has been stricken by drought over the past two

      "International water crisis looms", National Post Online, Canadian
      Press, August 13, 2001 -- Millions of people face water shortage
      problems -- estimates vary from 450 million to 1.4 billion. The
      number will skyrocket to 2.7 billion by 2025, says a new study by the
      International Water Management Institute (previous studies put the
      estimate at 2.5 billion people by 2050, while other current estimates
      see as much as half or even two-thirds of the total world population
      suffering water shortages by 2025). Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with
      some of the most heavily populated and poorest regions of the world,
      will be most affected, along with the Mediterranean region, including
      some parts of southern Europe, North Africa, and parts of North and
      South America.
      "Pressure Rising on World's Fresh Water Supply", ENS, August 14, 2001

      "Floods", New York Times, Beijing, August 26, 1998 -- At a government
      news conference on the disastrous floods Tuesday, Zhao Qizheng, chief
      of the State Council Information Office, said the government had
      decided to shut down logging activities in the upper catchments of
      the Yangtze River. The deforestation has led to more rapid runoff of
      rain waters and increased silting of river and lake beds. He said all
      cleared areas would be replanted in a long-term strategy of
      ecological restoration.

      "Drought Evaporates Water Supply for Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Canton",
      Shenzhen, China, ENS, August 24, 1999 -- At the same time that flood
      waters along the Yangtze River in central China have killed 800 and
      displaced millions this summer, the drying up of the East River in
      southern China's Guangdong Province has led to a serious water
      shortage problem in the Pearl River Delta.

      "Iran drought turns lakes to scorched earth", Reuters, August 01,
      2001 -- Iran is suffering its worst drought in 30 years. Most of the
      country's wetlands have dried out, and many farmers are struggling to
      "Iran flood toll reaches 200, foreign aid arrives", ENN, August 15, 2001
      "Drought Chokes Off Iran's Water and Its Economy", New York Times,
      September 18, 2001

      "Sudan Flooded Out After Parching Drought", ENS, August 23, 2001 --
      Widespread flooding in northern Sudan after two consecutive years of
      serious drought have displaced tens of thousands of people, destroyed
      crops and threatened food security, the United Nations Food and
      Agriculture Organization (FA0) said.

      "Asia's Dry Lands Crisis too Critical to Ignore", ENS, Bangkok,
      Thailand, November 10, 2000 -- The world can no longer afford to
      ignore the crisis in Asia's dry lands, the United Nations Environment
      Programme (UNEP) said. According to UNEP's Global Environmental
      Outlook 2000 report, half of all land in South Asia has lost
      agricultural potential because of poor agricultural practices,
      deforestation, overgrazing and climate change. Degraded areas include
      the sand dunes of Syria, the steeply eroded mountain slopes of Nepal,
      and the deforested and overgrazed highlands of Laos. The result, said
      UNEP, is desertification. Dramatic examples of this can also be seen
      in the encroachment of desert in Western China, India and Pakistan,
      and dust problems in the two Koreas and Japan, said the organization.

      "Countries and their water wars", The Earth Times, December 21, 2001
      -- Wars over ownership of fresh water sources and rivers are already
      underway in several parts of the world and deserts are expanding,
      while people argue about how to deal with water conservation and the
      importance of fresh water in geopolitics.

      "World water crisis will threaten one in three --UN", Reuters, August
      13, 2001, Stockholm -- A looming water crisis could threaten one in
      three people by 2025, sparking as much conflict this century as oil
      did in the last, the U.N.-sponsored Third World Water Forum said in a
      statement. "Water could become the new oil as a major source of
      conflict," Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, patron of the 1999
      World Water Forum, said after delivering the opening speech in

      "US expert warns Middle East of water crisis", Reuters, Damascus,
      Syria, July 20, 2001 -- A former US senator and water expert has
      warned that the Middle East could face a grave water shortage in the
      next few years and urged leaders of the region to engage in joint
      efforts to solve the problem. Paul Simon, author of "Protecting the
      World's Water Supplies", warned in a lecture in Damascus on Wednesday
      that wars in the next 15 years would be launched to control water,
      not oil. He said US intelligence agencies had named at least 10 areas
      in the world where wars over water were likely.

      "Africa's potential water wars", BBC News, November 15, 1999 -- The
      main conflicts in Africa during the next 25 years could be over that
      most precious of commodities -- water, as countries fight for access
      to scarce resources. Potential 'water wars' are likely in areas where
      rivers and lakes are shared by more than one country, according to a
      UN Development Programme (UNDP) report. The possible flashpoints are
      the Nile, Niger, Volta and Zambezi basins. The report predicts
      population growth and economic development will lead to nearly one in
      two people in Africa living in countries facing water scarcity or
      what is known as 'water stress' within 25 years.

      "East African Water Clash Slams Nile Treaty", Nairobi, Kenya, October
      18, 2001 (ENS) -- In a debate that may lead to confrontation between
      Egypt and eastern Africa nations over the River Nile, Kenya's members
      of parliament have voiced concern over the legality of an
      international treaty that bars east African countries from using
      water from Lake Victoria for irrigation. They dismissed the 1929 Nile
      Water Agreement as "obsolete" and called on the government to demand
      the review of the treaty and seek support of Tanzania and Uganda.
      "This treaty only benefits Egypt and we cannot sit back while we have
      water we can use to irrigate our land," said Energy Minister Raila

      The Economist magazine's Africa editor Richard Dowdon says part of
      Egypt's motivation for supporting Eritrea in its conflict with
      Ethiopia is its mistrust of Ethiopia's plans for the Blue Nile.
      During the previous Ethiopian government, tensions with Egypt
      increased rapidly when Ethiopia considered building dams on the Nile.

      "The next war in our region will be over the waters of the Nile, not
      politics." -- then-Egyptian foreign minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali,

      "Water wars: Part l - The Middle East", BBC News, 15 March, 2000 --
      Meir Ben Meir, former Israeli Water Commissioner, paints a gloomy
      picture of possible conflict over water between Israel, the
      Palestinians, Jordan and Syria. "I can promise that if there is not
      sufficient water in our region, if there is scarcity of water, if
      people remain thirsty for water, then we shall doubtless face war. At
      the moment, I project the scarcity of water within 5 years," he says.
      The Jordan Valley is not unique. In other ancient water systems - the
      Nile, the Tigris and the Euphrates - there is also a danger of
      conflict over water.

      "Water Wars", by Jim Rogers February 2001, Worth magazine -- In 1995,
      World Bank vice president Ismail Serageldin said that "the wars of
      the next century will be about water." Already such conflicts are
      springing up all over the world. In the Middle East, debates over the
      use of the Jordan River have led to dangerous squabbles between
      Israel and its neighbors. Turkey and Syria have argued over water
      rights in the Tigris-Euphrates basins for years. Other sources, such
      as the Aral Sea between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, as well as the
      Ganges, which runs between India and Bangladesh, also are points of

      "Water Wars of the Near Future", 2,300-word article by Marq de
      Villiers, author of "Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource"
      -- "Water shortages may not lead to shooting wars, but they most
      certainly lead to food shortages, increased poverty, and to the
      spread of disease. They make people poorer. They increase the
      migrations of peoples, further straining the massive mega-slums of
      the developing world. Standards of living deteriorate, social unrest
      and violence increase... Bangladesh may never go to war with India...
      but the stress caused by water shortages led to massive migrations of
      people, upsetting the ethnic balance of several Bangladeshi and
      Indian states, and leading to the rise of terrorist and nascent
      revolutionary movements. By other definitions, then -- water wars."

      "Water Conflict Chronology", compiled by Peter Gleick of the Pacific
      Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security --
      charts 63 incidents of conflict over water, mostly violent, since
      1500 AD. The timeline shows that water conflicts are becoming more
      frequent and more serious.

      "The Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity", by Sandra Postel , 1992,
      Worldwatch, ISBN 0-393-31744-7
      "Water scarcity will affect everything from prospects for peace in
      the Middle East to global food security, the growth of cities, and
      the location of industries," said Sandra Postel. Already, 26
      countries have more people than their water supplies can adequately
      support. Tensions are mounting over scarce water in the Middle East
      and could ignite during this decade. And competition for water is
      intensifying between city dwellers and farmers around Beijing, New
      Delhi, Phoenix, and other water-short areas. Building large new dams
      and river diversions is becoming prohibitively costly and
      environmentally damaging. "In most cases, measures to conserve water
      and use it more efficiently are now the most cost-effective and
      environmentally sound ways of meeting water needs," Postel says.
      "Together they constitute our 'last oasis'--and they have barely been
      tapped." With techniques available today, farmers could cut their
      water demands by 10-50 percent, industries by 40-90 percent, and
      cities by a third with no sacrifice of economic output or quality of

      "IMF Forces African Countries to Privatize Water", Globalization
      Challenge Initiative, 8 February 2001 -- A review of IMF loan
      policies in forty random countries reveals that, during 2000, IMF
      loan agreements in 12 countries included conditions imposing water
      privatization or full cost recovery. In general, it is African
      countries, and the smallest, poorest and most debt-ridden countries
      that are being subjected to IMF conditions on water privatization and
      full cost recovery... Water privatization and greater cost recovery
      make water less accessible and less affordable to the low-income
      communities that make up the majority of the population in developing

      "Water Wars -- Privatization, Pollution, and Profit", by Vandana
      Shiva, 2002, South End Press, ISBN 0-89608-650-X
      While drought and desertification are intensifying around the world,
      corporations are aggressively converting free-flowing water into
      bottled profits. The water wars of the twenty-first century may match
      -- or even surpass -- the oil wars of the twentieth. Vandana Shiva,
      "the world's most prominent radical scientist" (the Guardian), shines
      a light on activists who are fighting corporate maneuvers to convert
      this life-sustaining resource into more gold for the elites. Outlines
      the emergence of corporate culture and the historical erosion of
      communal water rights. Shiva calls for a movement to preserve water
      access for all, and offers a blueprint for global resistance based on
      examples of successful campaigns.

      "Monsanto and water privatization", by Vandana Shiva, The Hindu, May
      1, 1999 -- Over the past few years, Monsanto, a chemical firm, has
      positioned itself as an agricultural company through control over
      seed -- the first link in the food chain. Monsanto now wants to
      control water, the very basis of life. "What you are seeing is not
      just a consolidation of seed companies, it's really a consolidation
      of the entire food chain. Since water is as central to food
      production as seed is, and without water life is not possible,
      Monsanto is now trying to establish its control over water," said
      Robert Farley of Monsanto. "Monsanto plans to launch a new water
      business, starting with India and Mexico since both these countries
      are facing water shortages." Privatization and commodification of
      water are a threat to the right to life. Water is a commons and must
      be managed as a commons. It cannot be controlled and sold by a life
      sciences corporation that peddles in death.

      Poor pay more -- poor people in the developing world pay on average
      12 times more per litre of water than the rich do and it's often
      contaminated, according to the World Commission on Water for the 21st
      Century. Poor people pay huge premiums to water vendors -- 60 times
      more in Jakarta, 83 times more in Karachi, 100 times more in Haiti
      and Mauritania. 1.2 billion people around the world lack access to
      safe water, and 3.4 million of them die each year from water-related

      "Monsanto plan to cash in on world water crisis", Independent
      (London) September 26, 1999 -- Monsanto, the genetically modified
      food giant, drew up plans to make billions of dollars out of the
      world's water crisis, confidential company documents reveal. The
      documents, seen by the Independent on Sunday, identify a "vast
      economic opportunity" for the company in impending global shortages
      of resources such as water. They outline a strategy to use
      "environmental issues" to "deliver strong financial returns". The
      business plan adds that two billion people worldwide "still lack
      reasonable access to safe water" and says that this is likely to rise
      to 2.5 billion over the next decade. "Initial entry into the water
      business will create US$400m in annual revenues". The plan foresees
      the potential to create several billion dollars in annual revenue.
      Monsanto recently dropped plans to establish water businesses in
      India and Mexico. A Monsanto spokesman confirmed that the company had
      made plans to exploit the world water situation but had decided
      several months ago not to proceed. He did not rule out that the
      company might return to them in the future.

      Water flows uphill toward money -- The village of El Mayor in the
      Colorado Delta in Mexico grew up by a great waterway, rich with fish,
      farms and forests. "Our river is gone," laments chief Onesimo
      Gonzales. "No more fishing. Trees are dead. No one plants. The wells
      are dry." The remaining families coax murky water for washing from a
      distant borehole, but for drinking or cooking they wait for trucks
      that sell clean water at seven pesos (65 cents) for a five-gallon
      jug. At that rate, they would pay $13 million for the same amount of
      Colorado River water that developers of Shadow Lake near Palm
      Springs, California, bought for $3,400 for their $70 million
      water-ski estate. The villagers' plight typifies what is happening
      around the world as politics and engineering shape access to
      dwindling water sources. -- "Wealth Dictates Where Water Flows" (AP)
      May 18, 2001

      Newfoundland plan to export water stirs controversy", Wall Street
      Journal , April 11, 2001 -- A plan by the Canadian province of
      Newfoundland to sell lake water to the United States is meeting steep
      opposition from some Canadian officials. The plan is to sell 13
      billion gallons of fresh water per year from Gisborne Lake.
      Newfoundland stands to gain $1.3 million a month in payments from the
      company that would export the water. But critics say the deal would
      set a dangerous precedent by making Canada's water a tradable good
      that would be subject to the rules of the North American Free Trade
      Agreement (NAFTA). If that happens, the country may not be able to
      stop U.S. or Mexican companies from exporting it. "If Newfoundland
      does this, we will lose sovereign rights over our water," said Maude
      Barlow, chairman of the lobby group Council of Canadians. "To see our
      water sucked up by the Americans would be too much." [Subscription

      "The Human Right to Water", by Peter Gleick, President, Pacific
      Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, 1(5)
      Water Policy 487-503 (1999), Elsevier Science -- More than a billion
      people in the developing world lack safe drinking water. The failure
      of the international aid community, nations, and local organizations
      to satisfy these basic human needs has led to substantial,
      unnecessary, and preventable human suffering. Access to a basic water
      requirement is a fundamental human right implicitly and explicitly
      supported by international law, declarations, and State practice.
      Governments, international aid agencies, non-governmental
      organizations, and local communities should work to provide all
      humans with a basic water requirement and to guarantee that water as
      a human right. (Acrobat file, 124kb)

      The Blue Planet Project is an international effort begun by The
      Council of Canadians to protect the world's fresh water from the
      growing threats of trade and privatization. During March 16-22, 2000,
      activists from Canada and more than a dozen other countries met in
      The Hague to oppose the trade and privatization agenda of the Second
      World Water Forum and to kick start an international network to
      protect water as a common resource and a basic human right.

      "Blue Gold -- The Global Water Crisis and the Commodification of the
      World's Water Supply", by Maude Barlow, International Forum on
      Globalization Committee on the Globalization of Water, 1999 --
      Experience shows that selling water on the open market does not
      address the needs of poor, thirsty people. On the contrary,
      privatized water is delivered to those who can pay for it, such as
      wealthy cities and individuals and water intensive industries such as
      agriculture and high-tech... Selling water to the highest bidder will
      only exacerbate the worst impacts of the world water crisis.

      "Bolivia's War Over Water" reports from the scene by Jim Shultz,
      executive director, The Democracy Center -- In April 2000 Bolivia
      grabbed the world's attention when the city of Cochabamba erupted in
      a public uprising over water prices. In 1999, following World Bank
      advice, Bolivia had granted a 40-year privatization lease to a
      subsidiary of the Bechtel Corporation, giving it control over the
      water on which more than half a million people survive. Immediately
      the company doubled and tripled water rates for some of South
      America's poorest families. The entire city went on a general strike.
      The military killed a seventeen-year-old boy and arrested the water
      rights leaders. But after four months of unrest the Bolivian
      government forced Bechtel out of Cochambamba.

      "Water as Commodity -- The Wrong Prescription", by Maude Barlow,
      Council of Canadians: "Water as a fundamental right is guaranteed in
      the Universal Declaration on Human Rights: A growing movement of
      people believe that the imperatives of economic
      globalization-unlimited growth, a seamless global consumer market,
      corporate rule, deregulation, privatization, and free trade-are the
      driving forces behind the destruction of our water systems. These
      must be challenged and rejected if the world's water is to be saved."

      "Billions without clean water", BBC News, 14 March, 2000 -- Half the
      world's population is living in unsanitary conditions without access
      to clean water, according to a UN-backed report. The report, drawn up
      by the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century, says three
      billion of the world's most deprived people live in squalor and
      misery without access to proper sanitation. It says access to water
      should be seen as a basic human right as well as a key factor in the
      fight against diseases such as typhoid and cholera. UN water expert
      Brian Appleton says 5,000 children die needlessly every day from
      waterborne illnesses: "That's equivalent to 12 full jumbo jets
      crashing every day," he says. "If 12 full Jumbo jets were crashing
      every day, the world would want to do something about it -- they
      would want to find out why it was happening."

      "India's Ganges, a holy river of pollution", Reuters, Allahabad,
      India, January 14, 2001 -- Hindus believe that a dip in the holy
      Ganges during the Maha Kumbh Mela festival will cleanse their souls
      of sin. But the pollution that bedevils the river could do untold
      damage to the bodies of the faithful who will bathe in the Indian
      city of Allahabad over the next few weeks. Ram Surat Das, a barefoot
      old man, emerged from a crowd of Ganges bathers on Saturday holding a
      steel pot of water. "I'll use this for drinking and cooking and get
      some more tonight," he said. "It's absolutely clean. Of course it is,
      it's Ganges water." So far he has survived the physical onslaught of
      raw sewage, rotting carcasses, industrial effluent, fertilisers and
      pesticides that infect the river from the Himalayan foothills to the
      Bay of Bengal. Experts say pollution is to blame for a host of
      diseases -- hepatitis, amoebic dysentery, typhoid, cholera and cancer
      -- among the roughly 400 million people who live in the vast Gangetic

      "Millions dying needlessly from dirty water - WHO", Reuters,
      Brussels, March 23, 2001 -- More than one billion people have no
      access to clean water and 3.4 million die every year from diseases
      that could be easily remedied by better supplies and sanitation, says
      the World Health Organisation. The world's poor pay more than the
      rich for worse water -- up to 20 percent of household incomes -- but
      are more at risk from water-borne illnesses, the WHO said during a
      news conference to mark World Water Day yesterday. "About $16 billion
      is spent on the provision of safe water and sanitation throughout the
      world," said Wilfried Kreisel, executive director of the WHO's
      European Union Office. "In order to halve the number of people
      suffering from diseases due to contaminated water, it would be
      necessary to spend $23 billion. (The $7 billion difference) is one
      tenth of what Europeans spend annually on alcoholic beverages."

      "Rivers Have Long Way to Flow to Meet New EU Law", Brussels, Belgium,
      April 25, 2001 (ENS) -- Habitat destruction and pollution from
      industry and agriculture have left many of Europe's rivers needing to
      be revived in order to meet new European Union water standards. The
      World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says 50 out of 69 river stretches in
      16 European countries suffer from "poor ecological status" due to
      canals, dams and locks, floodplain drainage, over-abstraction of
      water, industrial discharges, insufficient water treatment and heavy
      use of fertilizers.

      "Biggest U.S. Water Polluters Not Punished", Washington, DC, May 28,
      2001 (ENS) - More than one in four -- 26 percent -- of the nation's
      largest industrial, municipal and federal facilities were in
      "significant" violation of the Clean Water Act at least once during a
      recent 15 month period. A new report by the U.S. Public Interest
      Research Group (PIRG) says both state agencies and the U.S. EPA have
      failed to properly pursue and punish polluters. The report,
      "Polluters' Playground: How the Government Permits Pollution," tells
      of the continued dumping of hundreds of millions of pounds of toxic
      chemicals into waterways and the significant violation of the Clean
      Water Act by almost 1,700 large facilities. Of 42 industrial
      facilities in Significant Non-Compliance for the entire 15 month
      period, EPA records indicate only one received a fine over the past
      five years.

      "EPA Seeks Clean Water Rule Delay -- Revision Planned to Make
      Pollution Control 'Workable'", Washington Post, July 17, 2001 -- The
      Bush administration yesterday sought a lengthy delay in adopting a
      new rule for cleaning up thousands of the country's polluted lakes,
      rivers and streams while it attempts to rewrite the measure.The rule,
      drafted by the Clinton administration, has been sharply criticized by
      conservative Republicans in Congress and challenged in court by
      utilities, manufacturers and farm groups that say it could force them
      to spend tens of billions of dollars more annually on water cleanup.

      "Water Ills Tied to Animal Waste, Study Concludes", Los Angeles
      Times, July 25, 2001 -- Improper disposal of animal waste at hog,
      dairy and egg farms is threatening drinking-water supplies,
      recreational waters and health in parts of Southern California and
      across the nation, according to a report released Tuesday by the
      Natural Resources Defense Council. The "Cesspools of Shame" report
      says waste water at so-called factory farms contains viruses and
      bacteria, antibiotics, nitrates, ammonia, metals and other toxins
      that contaminate aquifers and recreational waters. Improper waste
      storage has also resulted in fish kills and the release of toxic
      airborne chemicals that cause human illness, the report says.

      "Free drugs from your faucet -- How did tiny amounts of nearly every
      drug under the sun get into our drinking water -- and what are they
      doing to us?", Salon.com, October 25, 2001 -- The U.S. water supply
      is laced with residues of hundreds of medicinal and household
      chemicals, compounds that originate not at a Dow Chemical drainage
      pipe but from our own personal plumbing. The contaminants come from
      our bladders and bowels, our bathtub drains and kitchen sinks. As
      much as 90 percent of anything the doctor orders you to swallow
      passes out of your body and into your toilet. Wastes from farm
      animals are never treated -- and loaded with antibiotics and
      fertility hormones. As chemists make new concoctions, the water
      supply takes the hit.

      "Pharmaceuticals found in Canada's water system", Toronto Globe and
      Mail, September 5, 2001, Ottawa -- Traces of medical drugs such as
      antibiotics, estrogen and antidepressants are being found in Canada's
      water system, Health Canada scientists say. Studies found
      pharmaceutical compounds and chemicals from products such as
      cosmetics and shampoos, veterinary medicines, food additives and
      genetically modified foods in samples taken from sewage effluent.
      Research conducted on water systems in Europe has discovered
      compounds that make up such drugs as ASA, antidepressants and
      blood-pressure medications.

      "Many of world's lakes face death, expert warns", Reuters. November
      12, 2001, Tokyo -- Many of the world's freshwater lakes face death by
      pollution, resulting in catastrophe for the human populations that
      depend on them, an environmental expert warned. "There is not a lake
      left on the planet that is not already being affected by human
      activities," said William Cosgrove, vice president of the World Water
      Council. "We're killing the lakes, and that could be disaster to the
      human communities that depend on them." He said the situation faced
      by many of the world's lakes -- estimated to number some five million
      -- is dire.

      "Aerosol Pollution Could Drain Earth's Water Cycle", San Diego,
      California, December 7, 2001 (ENS) -- Pollution may be seriously
      weakening the Earth's water cycle, reducing rainfall and threatening
      fresh water supplies. A new study by researchers at the Scripps
      Institution of Oceanography suggests that tiny particles of soot and
      other pollutants are having a far greater effect on the planet's
      hydrological cycle than previously realized, directly affecting fresh
      water availability and quality. The aerosols are a mixture of
      sulfates, nitrates, organic particles, fly ash, and mineral dust,
      formed by fossil fuel combustion and burning of forests and other

      "African Ministers Mobilize to Finance Clean Water", Bonn, Germany,
      December 10, 2001 (ENS) -- African ministers in charge of water from
      22 countries are urging that action to reduce death rates due to poor
      hygiene and polluted water be placed at the core of the forthcoming
      World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa. There is a
      need for "drastic measures to improve water, sanitation and hygiene
      conditions for all our peoples," they declared. The recommendation
      comes in the wake of figures showing that 6,000 people a day, or over
      two million a year, are dying as a result of sub-standard sanitation.

      "Hidden Groundwater Pollution Problem Runs Deep", Washington, DC,
      December 11, 2000 (ENS) -- Toxic chemicals are contaminating
      groundwater on every inhabited continent, endangering the world's
      most valuable supplies of freshwater, reports a new study from the
      Worldwatch Institute. This first global survey of groundwater
      pollution shows that a toxic brew of pesticides, nitrogen
      fertilizers, industrial chemicals and heavy metals is fouling
      groundwater everywhere. The study by the Washington, DC based
      Worldwatch Institute also found that the damage is often worst in the
      very places where people most need water.

      "One billion people at risk from world's shrinking and polluted
      lakes", Tokyo (AP) November 12, 2001 -- Nearly 1 billion people are
      at risk because of overuse and pollution of the world's lakes, said
      global experts gathered in central Japan to draw up plans for
      fighting the trend. Already, more than half the world's lakes and
      reservoirs -- representing 90 percent of all liquid fresh water on
      the Earth's surface -- have been harmed by pollution and drainage,
      said delegates at the International Conference on Conservation and
      Management of Lakes.

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