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Prime Minister, we have a water problem

Bernard Eddy, online opinion
The shutters around the important people are impenetrable. Shock and awe will not work. Knowledge will not work. Only a threat to their existence will work.” Steve Posselt, author of Cry Me a River, after recently completing another kayak trip down the Murray.

When the Australian public gets a chance to assess the present state of water, the lack of effective water stewardship by past and present governments and the alarming implications of recent decisions on the future of our water, there will be hell to pay.

Recent developments confirm fears that Australia leads the world towards water mayhem: a world in which two thirds of the population will face water shortages by 2025. (Stockholm Statement from recent World Water Week Conference (PDF 24KB).)…
(2 Sept 2009)

Water shortage in Mexico results in fines

Rosalind Pearson, guardian weekly
The maximum fine you can receive if caught washing your car or the pavement with a hose in Mexico City is $15,000 pesos (roughly $1,150). It’s a matter of pride for Mexicans to maintain a clean car and the pavement in front of the house sparkling clean. These are two of the ways that water is wasted in this country and that is why since September 1 2009, anyone caught hosing down the car or the doorstep, will be faced with a hefty bill.

In Aztec times Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, was an elegant community built in the middle of a very large lake, with intricate canals linking the town with the land surrounding it. There is no sign of that water now, no rivers at all and the little that is left is underground. For years now the drinking water has had to be piped in from great distances, from deep wells, and at great cost. Water is largely subsidised by the government and people pay very little for it.

It has hardly rained at all this year. The rainy season starts normally – for those of us in the centre of the country – at the end of May or the beginning of June. This year we had heavy rain early in May then practically nothing in June and July. August has been a bit wetter and there’s no doubt that Hurricane Jimena helped a little but with just one more month of the rainy season to go there is a serious lack of water in the country. Dams are extraordinarily low and crops are failing and animals are dying of thirst. 2009 has been declared the driest in 40 years…
(3 Sept 2009)

Atlantic rising: Adapting to climate change in Morocco

Lynn Morris, the Ecologist
Morocco’s dilemma is to be particularly vulnerable to climate change, but still desperately courting the type of development that will make it harder to adapt to rising sea levels

Morocco’s 3,500km of coastline makes it particularly vulnerable to sea level rise.

With most of its economic activity near the coast, no legislation preventing building in the coastal zone and the government reportedly selling coastal land to developers at notional prices, climate change is a real threat.

Small scale farmers increasingly find themselves competing for water with thirsty golf courses and hotel swimming pools, while in other parts of the country flooding causes devastation.

Abdellatif Khattabi leads a research project on how Moroccans living along the Mediterranean coast are being affected by climate change…
(17 Sept 2009)