Friday, 16 November 2012

Asian Juggernaut China aims for bigger share in south Asian water lifeline

Water shortages are in much of Asia is beginning to threaten rapid economic modernization, prompting the building of upstream projects on international rivers. If water geopolitics were to spur interstate tensions through reduced water flows to neighboring states, the India progress could stall. Water has emerged as a key issue that could determine whether Asia is headed toward mutually beneficial cooperation or deleterious interasian competition. No country could influence that direction more than China, which controls the Tibetan plateau the source of most major rivers of Asia. Tibet’s vast glaciers and high altitude have endowed it with the world's greatest river systems. Its river waters are a lifeline to the world's two most-populous countries China and India as well as to Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Cambodia, Pakistan, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. These countries make up 47 % of the global population. Yet Asia is a water-deficient continent. Although home to more than half of the human population, Asia has less fresh water 3,920 cubic meters per person than any continent besides Antarctica. Household water consumption in Asia is rising rapidly, according to a 2006 U.N. report, but such is the water scarcity that not many Asians can aspire to the lifestyle of Americans, who daily use 400 liters per person, or more than 2.5 times the average in Asia.
While intrastate water-sharing disputes have become rife in India and in asian level with Pakistan to Southeast Asia and China it is the potential interasain conflict over river-water resources that should be of greater concern.Since china has greater influence over Tibet, where major rivers originate, including the Indus, the Mekong, the Yangtze, the Yellow, the Salween, the Brahmaputra, the Karnali and the Sutlej. Among Asia's mighty rivers, only the Ganges starts from the Indian side of the Himalayas.
The unbalanced availability of water within some states (abundant in some areas but deficient in others) has given rise to grand ideas from linking rivers in India to diverting the fast-flowing Brahmaputra northward to feed the arid areas in the Chinese heartland. As water anguish has been aggravated in its north due to environmentally unsustainable intensive farming, China has increasingly turned its attention to the abundant water reserves that the Tibetan plateau holds. It has dammed rivers, not just to produce hydropower but also to channel waters for irrigation and other purposes, and is currently toying with massive interbasin and inter-river water-transfer projects.
After building two dams upstream, China is building at least three more on the Mekong, inflaming passions in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Several Chinese projects in west-central Tibet bearing on river-water flows into India, but Beijing is reluctant to share information.The 10 major watersheds formed by the Himalayas and Tibetan highlands spread out river waters far and wide in Asia. Control over the 2.5 million-square-km Tibetan plateau gives China tremendous advantage, besides access to vast natural resources. Having extensively contaminated its own major rivers through unbridled industrialization, China now threatens the ecological viability of river systems tied to South and Southeast Asia in its bid to meet its thirst for water and energy.
As in the past, no country is going to be more affected by Chinese plans and projects in Tibet than India.The potential threat to use will be once china influence the water resrves originating from Tibet,it may affect many south asian nations mainly india and balngaldesh,hence infiltration from bangalesh to NE regions of india will raise as more people will be migrating for survival.Also we need to solve our own interstate river confict at high priority.
Despite having interstate and interasian water conflict,india is having one of the worst water transport facilty.In eastern UP, contaminated water may have led to the death of 50,000 children over the last 35 years? These 50,000 children died due to ground water contamination & lack of piped water supply. Mostly 40%-50% of water supplied to cities is lost in distribution, it leaks through the pipes and is wasted. The same is the case with power generated is lost heavily in India in distribution itself compared to china(6.8% of total power lost in transmission and distribution-china;23.4% of total power lost in India).This shows how inefficient we are in conserving energy resources. As per official estimates, India might run short of water by 2050, when the population is expected to peak at 1.7 billion.

The point to ponder is that water not only can cause huge social unrest, it can actually trigger water wars too, Chinese aggravated plans to dam the Brahmaputra: "The mega-rerouting (of Tibetan waters northwards) would constitute the declaration of a water war on lower-riparian India and Bangladesh affecting other south east Asian nations".
I have come across the work of Krishna Khanna Ji of iwatch regarding the drinking water project “Community based Safe Drinking, Cooking, Bathing and Swimming Water @ 1 paisa per litre for Rural & Urban India”. 80% of all diseases are water borne in india. One of Cheapest green technology for safe drinking water using only common salt & power as raw materials. For 1 million litres of Safe Water only 10KW power & 5kgs of salt are required. Solar powered units are also available, as many parts of the country do not have reliable power. More than 1100 installations are already running from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Bottled water costs 2000 times more than sanitised community water. WHO has listed electro chlorination as one of the process of disinfection of drinking water for Preventive Health Care. See for more details at;

Jai!Jai Bharat!


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