Water Wars

"Hunger stones" are revealed in Europe because of low water levels. Hunger is coming.

Sinister 'Hunger Stones' With Dire Warnings Have Been Surfacing in Europe
Is it my arrse.
Maybe in the 17th century.
FAO Cereal Supply and Demand Brief | World Food Situation | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

All they are are low water markers which in a pre industrial society would have meant that LOCAL water supplies were bad.

Russian rapists have a taste for melodrama it seems,.
 
Industrial pollution incident in Crimea.
16 square mile lagoon of acid waste off gassing.
Town's foul air forces Crimea evacuation
The article says it's due to the summer heat evaporating the acid waste.
Experts believe the problem is that the summer heat evaporated a huge quantity of sulphuric acid dumped in the reservoir and noxious sulphur dioxide gas has been blowing from it across Armyansk.
The waste is from a titanium dioxide plant (used in things like making white paint pigment) which has apparently been operating for several decades and dumping process waste in a pair of large ponds. I imagine that a fair bit has accumulated by now.

It's interesting that they apparently don't neutralize and treat the waste before dumping it. The ponds are probably used to dispose of finely ground up waste rock that they extract the titanium dioxide from. They would keep a layer of water on top to prevent the dust from drying up and blowing away.

I had a look at Google maps and the tailings ponds are directly next to the large bay/marsh which separates Crimea from the mainland. If the wind is from the west the gases would be blown out over the water and not affect anyone. This could have been going on for some time this summer and it was a shift in the direction of the wind which has made it newsworthy.
 
The article says it's due to the summer heat evaporating the acid waste.

The waste is from a titanium dioxide plant (used in things like making white paint pigment) which has apparently been operating for several decades and dumping process waste in a pair of large ponds. I imagine that a fair bit has accumulated by now.

It's interesting that they apparently don't neutralize and treat the waste before dumping it. The ponds are probably used to dispose of finely ground up waste rock that they extract the titanium dioxide from. They would keep a layer of water on top to prevent the dust from drying up and blowing away.

I had a look at Google maps and the tailings ponds are directly next to the large bay/marsh which separates Crimea from the mainland. If the wind is from the west the gases would be blown out over the water and not affect anyone. This could have been going on for some time this summer and it was a shift in the direction of the wind which has made it newsworthy.
The last two paragraphs are interesting.
Firstly, the Ukrainians cut off the water after Russia annexed the Crimea. That would account for some of it.

The allegation of the Russians negligently damaging part of the site looks like propaganda,because surely the Russians wouldn't be such blundering incompetents.
Oh yes.
Russians.
Looks gen to me.
 
The last two paragraphs are interesting.
Firstly, the Ukrainians cut off the water after Russia annexed the Crimea. That would account for some of it.

The allegation of the Russians negligently damaging part of the site looks like propaganda,because surely the Russians wouldn't be such blundering incompetents.
Oh yes.
Russians.
Looks gen to me.
Personally I am skeptical about both stories. They simply look like attempts to pin the blame for decades of poor environmental management on the other party.
A Crimean ecologist blamed a water shortage caused by the Ukrainians. This may cause problems with operating the plant, but I don't see how it could have caused the current accident.
A Crimean ecologist, Margarita Litvinenko, blamed a water shortage in Crimea caused by Ukraine's decision to stop the flow from the North Crimean Canal, which is fed by the River Dnieper. Water from the canal had previously topped up Titan's reservoir, diluting the sulphuric acid.
The Ukraine defence minister claims it must be something done by the Russian army. There was no evidence presented for this and I haven't seen any mainstream news source which seems to find it credible.
Ukraine's defence ministry alleged that shells fired by the Russian military during exercises near Titan had damaged some storage tanks there. That claim has not been confirmed, however.
The BBC's explanation sounds more plausible. The summer heat evaporated a large quantity of sulphuric acid and sulphur dioxide gas has been blowing across adjacent towns.
Experts believe the problem is that the summer heat evaporated a huge quantity of sulphuric acid dumped in the reservoir and noxious sulphur dioxide gas has been blowing from it across Armyansk.
Various other news sources are describing it as a leak of sulphuric acid from storage which is evaporating at a higher than normal rate due to the exceptionally hot weather. Some news sources imply that acid was dumped in the storage ponds, but there were no details on how that could have happened as the plant and ponds are not directly adjacent. One news source said there had been a fire in the acid storage facilities. There are numerous reports that the company is experiencing financial difficulties, but it is not known if this has any relationship with the current environmental problems.


In 2012 there was an expansion of production capacity associated with sulphuric acid used to process the titanium dioxide. I would not be surprised if international standards of safety and environmental management for hazardous substances such as sulphuric acid were not given serious consideration at that time, or if any deficiencies were addressed by the application of bribes rather than the more expensive steel and concrete. The inevitable industrial accident then combined with the exceptionally hot weather and unfavourable winds to create the current situation. The reason for suspecting this become apparent when you see who actually owns the company.
Titanium Dioxide — Group DF
In 2012, a new sulfuric acid shop was launched, making it possible to increase annual titanium dioxide production capacity at Ukrainian Chemical Products to 120,000 tonnes. Further Ukrainian Chemical Products expansion plans include the construction of a new high-tech titanium dioxide workshop with annual capacity 240,000 tonnes of titanium dioxide.

There's a whole other side of this story however that the BBC appears to have overlooked, or at least not mentioned. A bit of digging turns up that the "Titan" plant is owned by "Ukrainian Chemical Products" headquartered in Kiev. This is part of a larger operation which spans both sides of the present effective border. Mining and milling operations take place in mainland Ukraine, while titanium dioxide production takes place at Armyansk, which is in the isthmus which joins Crimea to the mainland. The company pays its taxes to the Ukrainian government which keeps it in the good books of foreign governments, which in turn allows access to foreign markets.

The company is apparently part of the international business empire of a Ukrainian oligarch by the name of Dmytro Firtash, currently living in Austria. One of his American business partners, and according to some sources friend, is a fellow by the name of Paul Manafort. You may have heard of him. In case the name doesn't ring any bells, that's the Paul Manafort that has been making the news lately in connection with Donald Trump.
 
The following has been posted on the Iraq thread, but I will mention the water related aspects of the story here as well.
Basra airport targeted by rocket fire as violent protests grip Iraq | CBC News

Long story short, violent protests have broken out in Basra, Iraq over the lack of electricity and safe drinking water. The protests started in July but became more violent in the past week. So far a dozen protesters have been killed, dozens wounded, and government offices torched.

Summer in Basra without either electricity or safe drinking water must be rather interesting.

The water supply has apparently become contaminated with salt. There was no information in the news story as to how this came about, but I suspect it has the potential to be very serious.
Residents in Basra, a city of more than two million people, say they have been driven to the streets by corruption and misrule that allowed infrastructure to collapse, leaving no power or safe drinking water in the heat of summer.

They say the water supply has become contaminated with salt, making them vulnerable and desperate in the hot summer months, and thousands of people have been hospitalized from drinking it.
 
The following has been posted on the Iraq thread, but I will mention the water related aspects of the story here as well.
Basra airport targeted by rocket fire as violent protests grip Iraq | CBC News

Long story short, violent protests have broken out in Basra, Iraq over the lack of electricity and safe drinking water. The protests started in July but became more violent in the past week. So far a dozen protesters have been killed, dozens wounded, and government offices torched.

Summer in Basra without either electricity or safe drinking water must be rather interesting.

The water supply has apparently become contaminated with salt. There was no information in the news story as to how this came about, but I suspect it has the potential to be very serious.
This has been brewing for some time, as have protests just across the he border in southern Iran.
It seems to be a combination of many factors, drought, poor or damaged infrastructure, excessive extraction upstream, the legacy of unwise damming projects etc.
I suspect what is also happening is that the local aquifers are so overdrawn that sea water is intruding, and contaminating them.
Increased salinity is a worldwide problem, but badly underappreciated.
 
BBC2 15/09/2018 11:00-12:00 Miracle in the marshes of Iraq
Only tuned in part way through. Spectacular and unexpected wildlife.

As this article points out, although water was returned to the marshes, the excess salt was not being flushed away, with consequences for the wildlife that had returned there and the Marsh Arab's, the reason Saddam drained the marshes.
Iraq's Famed Marshes Are Disappearing—Again

Azzam Alwash has attempted to counter this by dealing with Sadam's drainage river and by starting work on a dam to create a mechanical seasonal tide. As he says, it is a compromise, better than nothing. However the situation is not good.

"Mr Alwash has led reflooding efforts in the marshlands, and he warns that without proper management, the situation will present "the next crisis" for Iraq after the fall of the Islamic State."

'We have not caught up with reality': the Marshlands of Mesopotamia are drying out again

There's another article here about Azzam Alwash - try and get past the needless quip about "Brexiters" by the author. The miracle of the Iraqi marshlands

It has been said, with some justification, that civilization started there. Civilization is again under threat due to lack of water management and growing water shortages as per above posts.
 
BBC2 15/09/2018 11:00-12:00 Miracle in the marshes of Iraq
Only tuned in part way through. Spectacular and unexpected wildlife.

As this article points out, although water was returned to the marshes, the excess salt was not being flushed away, with consequences for the wildlife that had returned there and the Marsh Arab's, the reason Saddam drained the marshes.
Iraq's Famed Marshes Are Disappearing—Again

Azzam Alwash has attempted to counter this by dealing with Sadam's drainage river and by starting work on a dam to create a mechanical seasonal tide. As he says, it is a compromise, better than nothing. However the situation is not good.

"Mr Alwash has led reflooding efforts in the marshlands, and he warns that without proper management, the situation will present "the next crisis" for Iraq after the fall of the Islamic State."

'We have not caught up with reality': the Marshlands of Mesopotamia are drying out again

There's another article here about Azzam Alwash - try and get past the needless quip about "Brexiters" by the author. The miracle of the Iraqi marshlands

It has been said, with some justification, that civilization started there. Civilization is again under threat due to lack of water management and growing water shortages as per above posts.
It is interesting to compare and contrast the two stories.
ABC News:
As such, he went about depriving the marshes of their source of life, building thousands of kilometres of embankments to hold the waters of the Euphrates away from the marshes
ABC News again:
By the fall of Saddam in 2003 after the launch of the Iraq war, refugees of the area began to return to break down the embankments, but by this point, dam projects up north in Turkey were reducing the amount of water reaching the area.
National Geographic:
When the river water levels were high, the low-saline Tigris washed over the marshes, cleansed them, and pushed the salty residue into the saltier Euphrates, which flows along the western edge. "But now the Tigris is so low that the Euphrates provides most of the water in the marshes,"
ABC News again:
The biodiversity of the marshes are driven by the natural flood pulses of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that deliver 60 per cent of their water in the spring — the dam systems stopped those pulses.
The early stories about the marshes near the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were far too simplistic. Irrigation in the river basin results in salt which must be flushed downstream to the sea. The annual flood cycle used to take care of this, flushing the water off the fields, down the rivers, and through the marshes.

With the building of dams upstream in the mountains, especially the very large dams in Turkey with their large and deep storage reservoirs, this cycle was disrupted. The whole point of the huge storage reservoirs was to even out the flow and regulate it to match the agricultural seasons. There would no longer be an annual pulse of water which would flush out the marshes. Without this, the marshes were doomed.

The situation is probably analogous to the Aral Sea, where the water was also diverted for large irrigation projects upstream. In this case, the Southeast Anatolia Project (also known as GAP) in Turkey has been the primary change, although all the downstream countries have also implemented irrigation projects of their own. The overall GAP plan includes 22 dams, and major parts of this took place during the wars in Iraq, the disruption of which acted to mask the side effects of the GAP.

I can't see any of the upstream irrigation projects, especially Turkey's GAP, being reversed or scaled back in order to restore the marshes. Every last drop of water which can be wrung out of the rivers for irrigation will be, one way or another.

The best that can be done would probably be to rebuild the dikes used to divert the salty Euphrates water that were torn down and to keep the salty irrigation waste from the marshes. Then they could allow some fresh Tigris water into a smaller area of marsh that can be saved and limit the scale of the human activities there to what is sustainable.

The original marshes though are gone and are not coming back so long as there is large scale irrigation in the region.
 
It is interesting to compare and contrast the two stories.
ABC News:

ABC News again:

National Geographic:

ABC News again:


The early stories about the marshes near the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were far too simplistic. Irrigation in the river basin results in salt which must be flushed downstream to the sea. The annual flood cycle used to take care of this, flushing the water off the fields, down the rivers, and through the marshes.

With the building of dams upstream in the mountains, especially the very large dams in Turkey with their large and deep storage reservoirs, this cycle was disrupted. The whole point of the huge storage reservoirs was to even out the flow and regulate it to match the agricultural seasons. There would no longer be an annual pulse of water which would flush out the marshes. Without this, the marshes were doomed.

The situation is probably analogous to the Aral Sea, where the water was also diverted for large irrigation projects upstream. In this case, the Southeast Anatolia Project (also known as GAP) in Turkey has been the primary change, although all the downstream countries have also implemented irrigation projects of their own. The overall GAP plan includes 22 dams, and major parts of this took place during the wars in Iraq, the disruption of which acted to mask the side effects of the GAP.

I can't see any of the upstream irrigation projects, especially Turkey's GAP, being reversed or scaled back in order to restore the marshes. Every last drop of water which can be wrung out of the rivers for irrigation will be, one way or another.

The best that can be done would probably be to rebuild the dikes used to divert the salty Euphrates water that were torn down and to keep the salty irrigation waste from the marshes. Then they could allow some fresh Tigris water into a smaller area of marsh that can be saved and limit the scale of the human activities there to what is sustainable.

The original marshes though are gone and are not coming back so long as there is large scale irrigation in the region.
A very unfortunate business indeed.
 
Basra rapidly becoming uninhabitable, and the locals are blaming Iran.

Once Iraq's Venice, Basra's waters have now turned deadly | Reuters
The news story you cited doesn't talk about any locals blaming Iran. Rather, it says they are blaming the government in Baghdad for collecting the oil revenue from the area and not re-investing enough of it in Basra's water infrastructure.
Daily life also features open sewers and streets filled with fetid piles of garbage. In response, furious residents recently staged some of the biggest protests in years.
Many contrast their impoverishment with the oil wealth the province provides to the federal government’s coffers.
This is one of the big political problems which face Iraq, with not enough oil revenue to go around and massive destruction from 4 wars (Iran/Iraq, Gulf War 1, Gulf War 2, IS rebellion) to repair.

There is apparently a water treatment plant nearing completion, but the Japanese technical experts have left the area because of the danger posed by the protests.

It is very interesting though in light of the thread topic to see how failures in water supply is something that will get people out on the streets protesting.
 
The news story you cited doesn't talk about any locals blaming Iran. Rather, it says they are blaming the government in Baghdad for collecting the oil revenue from the area and not re-investing enough of it in Basra's water infrastructure.

This is one of the big political problems which face Iraq, with not enough oil revenue to go around and massive destruction from 4 wars (Iran/Iraq, Gulf War 1, Gulf War 2, IS rebellion) to repair.

There is apparently a water treatment plant nearing completion, but the Japanese technical experts have left the area because of the danger posed by the protests.

It is very interesting though in light of the thread topic to see how failures in water supply is something that will get people out on the streets protesting.
Quite right, THIS article doesn't explicitly blame Iran. Which is odd, because I have been monitoring this for a bit, and almost every other report does. Iranian influence is seen as being the key factor in the political paralysis in Baghdad, which has left the collapsed infrastructure of Basra to rot. The protestors didn't torch the Iranian consulate for nothing.

- The Washington Post

Iraqi protesters set fire to Iranian consulate in Basra

The violent protests in Iraq, explained

Another issue is the decaying berm around a toxic water lagoon nearby, which is full of Iranian agricultural and oil runoff, and which is threatening to collapse.
Basra’s Barrier Against Poisoned Iranian Water Crumbling
 
I saw some of a documentary on BBC where Stacy Dooley was investigating the appalling pollution of rivers in Indonesia by clothing factories. Very nasty. The show had some valid points re pollution, waste and throw it away fashion. One part mentioned the draining of the Aral Sea for cotton production. Commercial production uses up a lot more water than we think but the drainage started in the Soviet era.

Stacey Dooley Blames Free Market For Soviet Crimes -
 
I'm probably totally wrong but for years I have thought that the authorities are wrong to fight the fires, they are simply storing up more fuel for wild fires. Fires would have occured naturally through lightning strikes before humans interfered, or as in the case of moorland in this country through controlled burning on the moors, much of which is not allowed now by the 'experts' at Natural England, which results in the big fire this year on saddleworth moor.
 
I'm probably totally wrong but for years I have thought that the authorities are wrong to fight the fires, they are simply storing up more fuel for wild fires. Fires would have occured naturally through lightning strikes before humans interfered, or as in the case of moorland in this country through controlled burning on the moors, much of which is not allowed now by the 'experts' at Natural England, which results in the big fire this year on saddleworth moor.
True but the nature of forests has changed from their natural variation and separation to more closely packed crops and a number of these fires were started deliberately, allegedly. There is a fraction of the woodland coverage that the British Isles once had, so they need a bit more protection. We should plant more trees. It might help prevent at least some roads and bridges being washed away.
 

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