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Expanding Earth calls for global water approach PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 22 April 2010

V. Sokolov


The humanity has faced with coming water crisis recently. What is the reality in this statement? The most popular thesis is that our generation has already observed the global fresh water scarcity, but the main problem is not in actual deficit of water on the Earth but in poor management. Let us look at this issue from the special angle, keeping in mind a basis of the hypothesis about expanding Earth. The hypothesis is based of a set of scientific models which claim the explanation for the position and movement of continents and the appearance of new crustal material in mid-ocean ridges cause of that Earth’s volume increases. The model says, that Earth's mass has grown with its volume over time (allowing for a constant gravitational pull at the surface). Following this theory, it is clear that if surface of oceans was increasing when continents moved from each other, it was possible undoubtedly by expanding of water volume.
Even though “Growing Earth Theory” is correct, we cannot be very optimistic in availability of fresh water in future, because process of the globe expansion took more than 200 million years, while age of human civilization is accounted about 6000 years only. During these 6000 years there could be observed another process of the Earth expansion – population was growing and demands for fresh water of humanity were growing even very rapidly. Up to mid of XX century the Earth was able to satisfy human’s demands for water, but actually there are striking illustrations of water cycle disbalance in many places over the globe. Particular concern refers to fresh water – as a principal for livelihoods part of the global water balance. At the same time, we have to pin our hopes on one more outcome of the “Growing Earth Theory” – with evolution of civilization there was growth of the human “wisdom” (in the form of ethics, religion, science, etc.). Now the key question is - do both «the Earth and its Humanity» have enough wisdom to be in proper harmony to overcome water crisis? To find strict way to the harmony between the Earth and Civilization we need to clarify three principal questions:

The question 1: How much water do we have on the Earth and what is the real portion of fresh water?

The actual problem is that the all existing assessments of available/renewable water resources over the globe and of the Earth’s hydrological cycle are approximated, because not all elements of water balances are instrumentally measured. Thus, the commonly encountered challenge is prospecting of the most reliable tools for more accurate water cycle components assessment, involving the modern measurement instruments and methods of remote sensing, modeling, etc.

The question 2: How we should share the available water – do we really need global water regulations or anything else?

The present day humanity’s behavior correctly was formulated by Paulo Coelho in his new novel “The winner stands alone” (2009): the world should aspire to equity, but instead it rolls around the material interests and welfare standards. The water is not exception. The humanity’s behavior around water should be based on understandable and acceptable legal regulations. The International law related to water should be raised to a new level. Water security should become the target of the UN Security Council. The water law should be an obligatory mechanism rather than a recommending one. According to this point of view the basic principles, which have already been formulated in some internationally recognized conventions should find clear regulative applications. Among them there are principles of equitable and reasonable use; obligations do not cause significant harm; principles of notification, consultation and negotiation; principles of cooperation and information exchange; peaceful settlement of disputes. These principles should serve everybody and everywhere as the commonly accepted guiding rules similar to “Rule of the Road” (traffic rules).

The question 3: How can we manage water better to sustain water balance for future generations?

There are three keys to sustainable development – as a way to harmony: 1) the social equity, 2) economic growth, 3) environmental and ecological sustainability. The practical instrument for these - is proper implementation of integrated water resources management (IWRM). Proper implementation depends on clear understanding of the concept. For that I recommend de-fragmented presentation of IWRM = water resources management (WRM) process + governance system + managerial tools. Water resources management process involves a number of key interrelated components.





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