Water Advocate Reports Advances and Setbacks on U.N. World Water Day 2014

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Bio Logic Aqua Research Founder Sharon Kleyne Remains Optimistic about Global Water Supply, Recalls Interview with Water Author Steven Solomon.

To water advocate and researcher Sharon Kleyne, United Nations World Water Day is one of the most important days of the year. The annual March 22 observance, says Kleyne, offers an opportunity to reflect on advances and setbacks in the ongoing global fresh water supply crisis, and to further educate the public about this critical issue. Kleyne believes that fresh water supply should be the number one priority of nearly every government on Earth.

Sharon Kleyne is Founder of Bio-Logic Aqua Research, a fresh water, atmospheric and health research and product development center. Natures Tears® EyeMist® is the Research Center’s global signature product for dry eye. Kleyne hosts the globally syndicated Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water® radio show, broadcast on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel, Health and Wellness Channel, and Apple iTunes.

According to Kleyne, one of the most comprehensive and readable books about the global fresh water supply is Steven Solomon's classic, Water: the Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization (Harper Collins 2009). Kleyne first interviewed Solomon, in Rome at the time, on World Water Day 2010. On subsequent appearances, Solomon has offered updates.

In his book, Solomon describes water as "Earth's most indispensable resource." Fresh water, according to Solomon, is critical to human survival and economic development, and is more important than oil.

The best news, according to Kleyne, comes from the tiny island nation of Singapore, the second most densely populated country in the world, after Monaco. Singapore is considered the model for the world with respect to water capture, conservation, recycling, and desalinization. Despite the most severe extended drought in over 100 years, the system is working and Singapore has thus far been able to supply water to its 5.5 million population without rationing.

Solomon commented on the fascinating connection between United Nations World Water Day, The Hague, Netherlands, where many UN offices are located, the Netherlands' long history of water management, and Democracy in the United States.

In the 1300's, according to Solomon, the Dutch turned over management of their extensive system of canals, dikes, water impoundments, irrigation systems, reclamation projects and harbors to locally elected Water Boards. The Water Boards evolved into a parliamentary system that made the Netherlands, in the 1500's, the world's only functioning democracy and one of the world's wealthiest and most water rich nations. This tradition was transplanted to the North American Dutch colonies and influenced the United States Constitution.

Solomon has talked at length about the connection between governmental power and control of water. He cited Egypt and the Nile as an extreme example of government controlling the people by controlling the water, but says the same is true to some extent just about everywhere.

Yemen, Mr. Solomon noted, is one of the world's most fresh water poor places and has 23 million people living mostly in parched desert. The capital, Sana, has been growing rapidly because of the national water crisis but has its own severe water shortage. The constant power struggles in Yemen, says Solomon, boil down to conflicts between factions attempting to control the water. The same is true in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and numerous other places. These struggles continue, with little hope for an equitable solution.

In Iraq, according to Solomon, Saddam Hussein starved or displaced thousands of Marsh Arabs by diverting water from wetlands in the Tigris-Euphrates delta and poisoning the remaining water with pesticide, reducing the wetlands by 90%. The delta is believed by some to have been the site of the Garden of Eden. Since the United States intervention, the wetlands have since been 60% restored.

Fresh water wars remains an important factor in US politics, says Solomon. Imported water is critical to desert cities such as Phoenix, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. West of the Mississippi, most of the water is controlled by Colorado, Washington State and Canada.

In recent years, Kleyne adds, Colorado has been having its own internal water shortages while California is in the mist of the worst drought in a century. In California, water allocation to farmers from the Central Valley Project and State Water Project have been greatly curtailed, forcing farmers in the nation’s number one agricultural state, to pump ground water for irrigation.

East of the Mississippi, according to Kleyne, several states have joined the list of chronically drought affected states, including Georgia and Alabama.

Kleyne noted that 1.6 billion people worldwide lack access to abundant and sanitary water (http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml). Ironically, she says, most Americans do not drink the recommended eight to ten glasses of water per day even where available and inexpensive.

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