Water, water, every where

In: Uncategorized

22 Aug 2008

Yet more articles on the wet stuff to coincide with World Water Week:

* New Scientist (23 August) has a cover story on water by Jonathan Chenoweth of the University of Surrey. It makes some useful points including the argument that “virtual water” (a term evidently coined by Tony Allan of King’s College, London) can be an efficient way of distributing water resources around the globe. For example, fruit can be grown in a wet country and exported to a particularly dry one. It is probably easier in most cases to ship fruit around than move large quantities of water. Therefore trade allows for the more effiicient allocation of water resources at a global level.

Chenoweth also makes the point that desalination is falling in price. It can now cost as little as 50 cents per 1000 litres. “All but the world’s least developed countries can afford to supplement their water supplies as long as they have a coastline,” he says.

* The August issue of the New Internationalist has several articles on the debate about toilets in the developing countries. Some are in favour of flushing toilets others (perversely) see them as wasteful of scarce resources in developing countries and therefore undesirable there. One article makes the point that celebrity campaigns for clean water by the likes of Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Matt Damon and Chris Martin fail to mention sanitation.

* Brendan O’Neill, the irrepressible editor of spiked, makes the point that demand for humans to be “water wise” is underpinned by shame at our existence.