Water is Valuable Than Oil

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Global warming is affecting weather patterns, leading to droughts and drinking water shortages, both in developed and developing nations.

Arizona is one of the driest places in the US, where water is very valuable. We often read news reports regarding water disputes, both large and small, from Arizona. A recent article in the Guardian reports that a private company purchased a piece of land with access to water and later sold its water rights to a distant suburb. 

In an unprecedented deal, a private company purchased land in a tiny Arizona town – and sold its water rights to a suburb 200 miles away. Local residents fear the agreement has ‘opened Pandora’s box’.

– Maanvi Singh on The Guardian

Rhett Larson, a professor of water law at Arizona State University, told the Guardian, “With ongoing shortages on the river, driven by climate change, Colorado River water is going to become very valuable. Anyone who understands this dynamic thinks, ‘Well, if I could buy Colorado River water rights, that’s more valuable than owning oil in this country at this stage.’”

You can find more details about how corporations are cashing in on America’s drought, in the Guardian article.

There are similar stories about climate driven irrigation and drinking water shortages reported from elsewhere, including in some remote hilly regions of Nepal. Subsistence farmers are migrating from the drier hilly regions to more fertile southern plains, due to scarcity of irrigation water shortages.

Till recently, wards in Chhathar village in Terathum used to have such a severe water shortage that families had to borrow water like they borrowed money. The nearest spring was two hours walk away, and there would already be up to 60 jars in the queue. It was the job of women to fetch water, and they would trudge home with two jars in baskets on their backs and two plastic containers in their hands.

Nepali Times

In a small high altitude municipality in Pyuthan, Nepal the nearest drinking water source is one and a half hours walk away.

There are no other natural sources of water except the one that is one and a half hours away. I start my day walking to the spring and only return in the evening every day. My husband helps me as well to carry the water home, but whenever one of us gets sick, we are deprived of drinking water. Everybody, including the people’s representatives, knows about the drinking water problem, but nobody has done anything about it.

-Kumari Nepali, a 70-year-old resident of Mallarani, Pyuthan (source: The Kathmandu Post)

Local municipal authorities are said to be helpless to mitigate the water shortage problems due to a lack of resources and government assistance.

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