As the world’s attention, (courtesy of the mass media of course) remains focussed on the events that took place in Brussels yesterday, a number of things passed by un-noticed, buried beneath the wheels of the media juggernaut that rolls out whenever events of that nature occur.
One of those things was WORLD WATER DAY 2016, which tries valiantly to bring awareness to the very real and vitally important issue, that this planet is really struggling at the moment, to utilise adequate and safe water supplies for a growing number of people.
There is more than enough information in regard to yesterday’s events already available, both in the mass media and on the Internet, so this site can add very little that’s new, is certainly not interested in ‘click-bait’, and will not be speculating on whether the events in Belgium were a ‘False Flag’ – or whatever else is doing the rounds of the usual suspects within the alternative media.
The Outlaw will instead, highlight an article that was published in ‘National Geographic’ at the beginning of March, which attempted to bring attention to one of a number of things, that will in not too much time, undoubtably bring about catastrophic environmental changes to the world we currently live in, and may also end up having a devastating effect on all life that exists on this planet.
Which is I think, as important as anything the mass media would have you believe, as it’s been predicted for a long time, that a lack of water could at some point – bring about a global conflict that would be unprecedented in all of written human history, and make the ‘War on Terror’ look like a children’s playground scrap.
“An ‘unprecedented boom’ in dam construction on three of the world’s largest rivers could have dire environmental consequences”
They dominate the hydrological systems of three major continents, and collectively hold one-third of the planet’s freshwater fish species, many of which are endemic to their respective river basins.
Yet, the Amazon, Mekong and Congo rivers have also become ever more attractive to developers keen to increase the capacity for relatively low carbon hydropower energy. Until now, dam construction on all these rivers has been relatively small-scale, located only in upland tributaries. However, a new report by 40 international scientists has drawn attention to almost 450 new dams proposed for these three major rivers, with many others already being built.
The report warns of the negative environmental and economic consequences that could arise without sufficient analysis of the outcomes.
‘Major dams are usually built where rapids and waterfalls boost the hydropower potential, the same sites where many unique fish species adapted to life in fast water are found,’ explains Dr Kirk Winemiller from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Science at Texas A & M University.
‘We wrote the paper to bring global attention to this problem, partly in hopes of stimulating research on tropical rivers, and partly to stimulate better approaches for hydropower development that balance true costs and benefits in the context of culmunative impacts.’
One key impact is the effect thus vast succession of dams will have in fish migrations. There are 2,300 known species of fish in the Amazon, around 1,000 in the Congo, and 850 in the Mekong, and the report argues that insufficient attention has been paid towards how their various migrations will be affected, and what impact this will have in the human populations dependant on these stocks for their survival.
There are also major concerns regarding how the 334 dams currently planned for the Amazon, for example, might further deteriorate a rainforest already battling against deforestation.
‘Transparency of the ramifications caused by these structures is limited,’ says Winemiller. ‘For example, Brazil’s Belo Monte complex, that is nearing completion on the Xingu River, will rank third in the world with installed capacity of 11,233MW. However, it may also set a record for biodiversity loss owing to its location.’
He also highlights the Tonle Sap in Cambodia, host to one of the most important inland fisheries, with species that migrate there from the Mekong. The inland fisheries in the Lower Mekong were recently valued at $17Billion a year, and directly support three million people in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.
‘Far too often in developing countries, major hydroelectric projects are approved and begun before any serious assessments of environmental and socioeconomic impacts have been conducted,’ says Winemiller.
The report calls for dam sites to be evaluated not only for economic potential, but also for environmental sustainability, in order to prevent construction of the very worst offenders.