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Russia Launches Study On Water Reserves

Publisher‘s Note: In the wake of a global water crisis, water may replace oil as Russia’s main source of revenue in 30 to 40 years time. Having the world’s second largest fresh water reserves after Brazil, Russia only needs 2 per cent of this to meet its domestic demand. Russia is now making that move to utilise the remaining capacity for water-intensive industries such as power generation, metal production, the paper and pulp sector, polymer chemistry and agriculture. Countries rich in water like Russia, could benefit from the restructuring of the global economy in response to the threat of a global water crisis, even better if they use it as part of assisting ailing nations as part of their foreign ‘soft power’ policy. In retrospect, President Vladimir Putin also signed into law the country’s Water Code, which came into force on 1 January 2007. Some elements of this Water code are as follows: 1) All water resources except self-contained bodies of water, on federal, regional or private land, are federal property; 2) Self-contained bodies of water larger than 3,000 square meters or located within 1 kilometre of a settlement cannot be privatised; 3) A simplified procedure for acquiring “special” water use rights, which are based on an agreement between private parties as opposed to “specific” rights based on government regulations; and 4) A provision for water user fees to be paid to the federal government. More than likely, this is one of those reasons for wanting to destabilize Russia, just as they did with Libya’s secret blue gold and its Great Man Made River that the West detest (and NATO made sure they bombed Gaddafi’s legacy last year, a violation of the Geneva Convention), and thus the sovereign nation doing everything it can to protect itself to which a real patriotic Putin has vowed to do on his third re-election this year. The most exciting discovery that happened this year I think is when Putin was given a ‘prehistoric’ ‘Dinosaur’ water sample from a pristine lake hidden under Antarctic ice for over a million years, after Russian scientists drilled down to its surface.

“Dinosaurs drank it,” Putin said (Photo: AFP, Alexei Nikolsky)

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August 11, 2012 (TSR) – Although Russia does not presently face a freshwater shortage, the government has commissioned a study to determine how such a deficit would affect the country.

The website that posts orders for government procurement has announced a tender for an analytical study on “Conflict and Crisis Situations in the States and Regions of the World in the Conditions of Global Climate Change Arising from a Shortage of Fresh Water or over Use of Crossborder Water Resources.” The Russian authorities are ready to pay 1.4 million rubles ($44,290) to understand the danger a shortage of fresh water might pose for the country.

The Russian authorities are ready to pay 1.4 million rubles ($44,290) to understand the danger a shortage of fresh water might pose for the country.

The authorities’ fears are not without foundation. The United Nations released a report in March on the catastrophic drinking water supply situation in the world. According to the report, one in every 10 people lacks access to drinking water and independent specialists claim that one in every four people is short of drinking water.

The UN report notes that the drinking water shortage stems, among other things, from global climate change and the growing need for food and the hygienic needs of the world’s burgeoning population. Compounding the problem is the uneven distribution of water between the continents: Asia, the home of 60 percent of the world’s population, has only one-third of the water resources.

Analysts project that by 2050, the planet’s food needs will increase by 70 percent. Global water consumption for agriculture will increase by 19 percent, by which time almost 90 percent of the world’s fresh water resources will already have been tapped. “The use of fresh water is not rational. The future is increasingly uncertain and the risks are mounting,” said Irina Bokova, UNESCO Secretary General and one of the report’s co-authors.

UNICEF and the WHO say that only 89 percent of the Earth’s population has access to drinking water today, and about 783 million people use polluted sources of water. About 40 percent of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa, the part of the world where the population is growing faster than anywhere else.

Experts from the French charity Solidarities International are even less optimistic. In their opinion, today 1.9 billion people – one in every four people on Earth – have no access to drinking water.

First published in RBC Daily and translated by Russia Beyond the Headlines.

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