Fresh Water Scarcity Brings out Worst and Best in Nations

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Author Steve Solomon was interviewed by Sharon Kleyne, founder of Bio Logic Aqua Research, on the Sharon Kleyne Radio Talk Show.

Steven Solomon, an investigative reporter specializing in environmental issues, is author of the best selling book "Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization" (Harper, 2010). He was interviewed by Sharon Kleyne, founder of Bio Logic Aqua Research and host of the Sharon Kleyne Hour, on April 23, 2012.

"Fresh water scarcity is the world's most explosive humanitarian and political crisis," says author Steven Solomon. Speaking on the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water syndicated radio talk show, Mr. Solomon described several countries where fresh water scarcity is critical or could become critical. He also cited examples of countries that have managed their water responsibly.

On the show, Solomon and Kleyne discussed the impact of fresh water scarcity in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Tibet, China, India, Pakistan, the Netherlands and the United States.

Mr. Solomon discussed the struggles in each region:

In the rebellion following the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein punished the Iraq's Shiite Muslims, who belonged to an ancient group called "Marsh Arabs," by draining the marshes where the Tigris-Euphrates River empties into the Persian Gulf. Thousands of Marsh Arabs either died or were forced to flee. Since the Iraq War, the United States has restored 75 to 90 percent of the marshes.

In Yemen, Al Qaida is extremely powerful, in part because they finance well-drilling projects for local tribes. Because of extreme drought, according to Solomon, many people are moving to the cities, which also have severe fresh water problems.

Solomon says that the situation in Somalia is similar to Yemen in that out-of-control fresh water shortages have rendered the government powerless.

Recent anti-government protests in Syria were motivated in part by a spike in food prices caused by extended drought, according to Solomon. Most Syrian rivers (including the Euphrates) begin in Turkey, which, because of the same drought, has been removing water before it reaches Syria.    

In the high Himalayas, Tibet is the "water tower" of Asia and the source of the Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong Rivers. To control this fresh water, according to Solomon, China not only continues to occupy Tibet, it encourages Chinese citizens. One of India's major rivers, the Brahmaputra, also begins in Tibet. China has proposed a huge hydroelectric dam on their side of the river, to which India objects, fearing that China will withhold water. With its massive population, highly polluted rivers and dozens of mega-cities, China is always looking for fresh water. The densely populated and north is particularly water poor.

Most of Pakistan, an arid, desert nation, is comprised of the Indus River Valley, which rises in India, Pakistan's traditional enemy.

Because of the Netherlands' low elevation (some of it below sea level), floods have been a recurring problem. In the 1500's, local cities and provinces began forming Water Boards to build canals and dikes for flood control, and to reclaim land. This was the direct precursor to the Dutch Parliament, one of the world's first democracies, and ultimately led to the Dutch Golden Age in the 1600's.

The United States is experiencing increasing long-term drought, not only in Western desert areas (with its rapidly growing cities) but in regions once considered fresh water rich, such as Georgia and Alabama. Most Western water comes from Colorado, Washington and Canada and is coveted by California, Nevada and Arizona. Allocation of fresh water for cities versus agriculture are major issues. On balance, the United States is relatively fresh water rich and in a position to produce food for both itself and the rest of the world.                        

Steven Solomon's website is        

The Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water is broadcast live on Mondays, 10 a.m., PST/PDT. The syndicated talk show is heard on Voice America/World Talk Radio, Green Talk Network and Apple iTunes. Go to for written summaries and on-demand replays.

© 2012 Bio-Logic Aqua Research

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Mikaylah Roggasch
Bio Logic Aqua Research-Rogue Media
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