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Statewide Drought Putting Businesses out of Business

Laurie Penco, ABC 30 KFSN (Fresno, California)
Business is so slow at this Mendota convenience store the owner stopped selling gas a month ago.

Manager Elena Moreno says with the sales down 60-percent she’s lucky if more than a dozen customers come in during her shift. Elena Moreno said: “I have people coming in saying they’re only working three days out of seven. They’re spending whatever money they do have on food and paying their mortgage.”

Like the 16-hundred acres of cotton a grower abandoned in this field, business is drying up all over the Westside. Severe water shortages and the drought have put at least 700 farm workers out of a job.

Mendota’s Mayor says with 40-percent of the city unemployed, he’s never seen anything like. Mayor Robert Silva said: “This has got to be the worst. With farm workers out of jobs the city hurts, because the workers keep our community going.”
(8 July 2008)
Full video report at original.

Will Water Fuel An Armageddon?

Masimba Biriwasha, EcoWorldly
There is no consensus among water analysts on whether there will be global wars over water ownership.

According to UNESCO, globally there are 262 international river basins: 59 in Africa, 52 in Asia, 73 in Europe, 61 in Latin America and the Caribbean and 17 in North America – overall, 145 countries have territories that include at least one shared river basin.

UNESCO states that between 1948 and 1999, there have been 1,831 “international interactions” recorded, including 507 conflicts, 96 neutral or non-significant events and, most importantly, 1,228 instances of cooperation around water-related issues.

As a result, some experts argue that the idea of water wars is rather farfetched given the precedent of water cooperation that has been exhibited by many of the countries around the world.

“Despite the potential problem, history has demonstrated that cooperation, rather than conflict, is likely in shared basins,” says UNESCO.

However, the fact remains that throughout the world water supplies are running dry and the situation is being compounded by inappropriate management of water resources that will likely unravel previous international cooperation around water.

“Water has four primary characteristics of political importance: extreme importance, scarcity, maldistribution and being shared. These make internecine conflict over water more likely than similar conflicts over other resources,” says Frederick Frey, of the University of Pennsylvania.
(9 July 2008)

A war is brewing over water

Paul Forsyth, Niagara This Week (Ontario)
Living in the Great White North, we spend a good portion of our year looking south with an envious eye to folks in the U.S. south and southwest basking in double digit temperatures while we’re scraping ice off our windshields with cold-numbed hands.

But millions of U.S. residents living in places such as California, Nevada, and Arizona could soon be looking this way with a hungry glint in their eye. And it won’t be our weather they’re coveting.

It will be our water.

Living in Niagara, surrounded on three sides by two Great Lakes and the mighty Niagara River, and with dozens of smaller rivers and tributaries snaking through the peninsula, it would be easy to take water for granted.

Not so in the U.S. southwest and in much of the world, where water is scarce — and getting scarcer. So much so that experts are predicting courtroom clashes between parched U.S. states, cities and regions fighting for finite amounts of water, and analysts predicting that in the 21st century water will become the new oil.

And like oil, another valuable, finite resource, nations will go to war over water.

The harsh reality is that while our planet may be two-thirds water — so much water that it’s the colour blue from space — the amount of freshwater world-wide is becoming stressed.
(11 July 2008)