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What are the characteristics of the Sahel region

North of Africa, south of the Sahara desert
Spans 11 countries
Tropical, hot climate- hot sunny dry and windy all year


Natural causes of drought in the Sahel

High seasonal variability triggered by a persistent lack of rain

Unpredictable rainfall pattern, 80% of dry lands in Sahel have suffered from environmental deterioration


Human causes of drought in The Sahel region

Growing environmental degradation caused by overgrazing by nomadic tribes

Deforestation for fuel wood
High levels of rural poverty
Rural population doubled every 20 to 30 years
Population growth outstripped food production

Over cultivation
Growth of cash crops
Destruction of crop land due to civil war


What are the consequences of drought in the Sahel region

Crops dying-subsistence farmers suffer
Widespread famine
29/36 of worlds poorest countries are in sub Saharan Africa
Cholera epidemic caused by reliance on contaminated water sources
Increased food price


Natural causes of drought in the Brazil

Moist air moving in a westerly direction across the Amazon Basin

Directed southwards by the Andes

Diverted by the high pressure systems away from the Amazon


Human causes of drought in Brazil

High fee’s charged by Brazilian government to drill a well and grant a license meaning the poor go without

Illegal well drilling- not monitored for water safety
Contain industrial pollutants and high level of bacteria


Environmental effects of drought in Brazil

Causes forest stress- younger trees die which reduce canopy cover, reduces humidity and so rainfall- dry out underbrush which can easily catch fire
Shorter trees and thinner canopies
Increased groundwater abstraction


Social-economic effects of drought in Brazil

Cause building of illegal wells which become diseased and contaminated thus spreading disease
Increased mortality reduced wild animal habitats
Water rationing for 4 million people, supplies cut off 3 days a week
Depletion of Brazil’s 17 reservoirs to 1% capacity
Reduced crop of Arabica coffee beans put global coffee price up by 50%


Drought in California

40 million people facing problem due to recent rainfall variation
Forecast of 30 yr mega droughts
Increased evaporation rates
Decrease in precipitation


Changes of water in Northern Europe

Warmer lower atmosphere
Increased evaporation
Increased circulation of water in troposphere
Increase intensity and frequency of precipitation events over land areas


Why are some regions of the Sahel re-greening

Possibly due to rise in wet years between years of drought since 1996

Restoration techniques involving planting trees
Natural regeneration of water retaining shrubs and trees

Low cost reforesting. Use of water harvesting techniques


Global statistics for irrigation

1/5 of world land is under full irrigation
Around 30% of irrigation is provided by dams (constant irrigation) which often leads to water logging and soil salination

Aral Sea 10% of initial size since Russia diverted water source for agricultural irrigation


Global health and sanitation in relation to water security statistics

15% of world population reliant on unimproved water sources

2.5 Billion have no access to improved sanitation

Issues of indiscriminate or open defacation in sub Saharan Africa leads to outbreak of cholera typhoid and dysentery

Stagnant water encourages vector breeding


Background information on the Murray-Darling River

1 million Km2 of South East Australia
Home to more than 2 million people
Provides 75% of Australia’s water


Key players in Australian water conflict

Heritage groups
Indigenous people


What causes the water conflict in the Murray-Darling

5 fold increase in water extraction since 1920
Variation in ENSO Cycle affect different regions of basin differently

Urban, industrial, aquaculture, leisure, local and state governments, environmental groups, heritage and conservation and indigenous groups


Consequences of water conflict in Murray-Darling

Water deficit
Disrespect of indigenous culture
Decrease in tourism
Destruction of natural environment


Background information on the River Nile

3rd largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa, opened in 2015

$1.8 billion project


Causes of conflict in the River Nile

200 000 people rely on river for subsistence agriculture and dependent on seasonal floods

Mursi living in chronic hunger

Historic water allocation causing conflict favours Egypt and Sudan

Dam building reducing downstream flow

Egypt has a veto power over construction


Effects of River Nile conflict

Violent conflict between tribes

Human rights violations by Ethiopian army against local opposition

9/11 states have no historical claim on water

Late opposition against Egypt


Countries involved in River Nile international conflict

South Sudan


Countries involved in the conflict for Colorado River

New Mexico


Relevant background on the Colorado River

Mexico has 10% of total flow
Lower states of Basin take 50%, upper basin 10%
Native Americans owed 5%
Provides drinking water to over 50 million Americans


Causes of conflict in Colorado River

California takes 20% more than its allocations

demand and climate change have depleted storage to 48%

Since 1990s average annual flow decreased 15%

Native Americans owed 5%


Effects of the Colorado River conflict

Tension and disagreement caused by California refusing to cooperate

Disrespect to Natives

Less water for regions further down stream


Beijing 2008 solution to air pollution

Utilisation of cloud seeding to create rain in order to clear pollution in time for the Olympic games


Where is the Amazon River located?

South America
Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia


What are the Characteristics of the Amazon River Regime?

over 6000 km long
drains 6 million km2 basin
Humid tropical climate based by ancient shield rock
Linked with snow-melt in Andes


Where is the Yukon River located?

North America- Canada and Alaska


What are the characteristics of the Yukon river regime

over 3500 km long
drains 850 000 km2 basin
Tundra climate through mountain range
Water freezes in winter temp drop, in put of summer snow-melt


Where is the Nile river located?

North Africa- Egypt, North and south Sudan, Kenya, Congo, Burundi, Uganda


What are the characteristics of the Nile River Regime?

Warm, arid climate
1970 construction of Aswan dam greatly altered regime
flow reduced 65% and seasonal flow changed


What caused the Brazilian Tropical drought in 2014

High pressure wind system diverted winds north of Andes rather than south to Brazil
Human over abstraction of groundwater and surface water


What were the impacts of 2014 Brazil drought

water rationing for 4 million people, water cut off for 3 days a week in some towns
HEP slowed, power cuts followed
Depletion of 17 largest Brazilian reservoirs, some to 1% capacity
Reduced coffee crop increased global coffee price 50%


Three Gorges Dam basic information

Designed to control flooding on Yangtze, improve water supply and generate HEP
allows surplus water build up to be transported to northern China via the South-North water transfer scheme


impacts of the three gorges dam

632km2 land flooded for reservoir
1.3 million people displaced
decomposing vegetationin reservoir produces methane which is released in HEP turbines


Basic information of South-North Water transfer project

Beijing has 35% of population and 40% of crops, only 7% of water
transfer involves 3 different routes
cost $70 billion


impacts of south-north water transfer project

will submerge 370km2 of land
345 000 people to relocate
eastern route is industrial, risk of system wide pollution


basic information of Israel's desalinisation project

Five plants opened by 2013, takes water directly from the Mediterranean sea
aimed to provide 70% of domestic water by 2020


impacts of desalinisation in Israel

Each plant requires its own power station which adds to CO2 emissions- but most of this energy is solar
Produces salt/brine- contains anti-scaling agents harming ecosystems
Produces 600 tonnes of potable water per hour


define sustainability in relation to water

managing water supplies to meet the needs of today without jeopardising the supply for future generations


Main sustainable water management strategies

Replacing old irrigation with smart irrigation
repairing leaking systems
use of grey water
intermediate technologies used to empower small farming communities
Educating farmers
Restoring aquifer


Holistic managment approaches in singapore

Four Taps Approach
1) water from local catchment
2) reuse water- 30% of current supply
3) Importing water
4) desalinisation

Cutting leakage to 5%


How has Israel managed its water?

Charging "real value" for water to reflect supply
Recycling sewage water for agriculture (65% of crops)
Using smart irrigation systems


Benefits of harvesting jars in Uganda

Locally made with available materials
one jar holds 1500 litres of water
collect rainwater from roofs ans store water for dry seasons
Made for durability
prevents local from having to travel long distances for clean water


How many people were effected by flash flooding in Bangladesh

8 million people
Estimated 1200


What were the significant impacts of the Bangladesh floods

Crop loss increased rice price by 30%
100 000 houses and schools destroyed

40 000 hectares of farmland reported to be inundated


What were the significant impacts of Storm Eva

9000 properties flooded
7500 Houses in North Affected by power cuts
Suspension of rail services


What were the significant impacts of storm Desmond

5200 honest affected
40 schools closed
Gov provided £50 million to Cumbria and Lancashire councils for affected houses