Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Water Tensions and Middle East Peace

As we learned while traveling the 38th Parallel, tensions about water limits in the Tigris and Euphrates River watersheds are threatening peace in that troubled region.  The June issue of "Smithsonian" has an article,
Lack of Water to Blame for the Conflict in Syria?
which explores the current conflict in Syria and the broader regional tensions in Iraq and Turkey that are driven by too little water leading to refugees moving into cities, and ties to the recent uprising in Syria.

   Just last week an International Rivers conference in Turkey focused on the threats to displaced persons and flooded cultural sites in places like the Brazilian Amazon and at Hasankeyf, Turkey, on the Tigris River.  One of the most compelling stories in our book emerged from out visit to Hasankeyf.  Demonstrators from many nations attending the conference protested at the gates of the Ilisu Dam construction site:  See this report from May 21

As the Smithsonian article mentioned, NASA's GRACE satellite is providing documentation of the serious depletion of groundwater aquifers in the Middle East, and also in the Ogallala aquifer of the Great Plains in the U.S., and in California's San Joaquin Valley, all stories that we encountered along our travels.  You can read more about the scientific measurements from space that help explain so many on-going human and environmental challenges here.

No comments:

Post a Comment