When water wars come… What will be Georgia’s role?
03 July, 2014
When water wars come… What will be Georgia’s role?
“Planet Earth on Standby for Water Wars”

Most of the people living south of Sahara drink water directly from pits alongside wild animals. Every fifth resident of the developing world is dreaming of clean, potable water. According to statistics, over two billion people in the world suffer from water deficit. The UN data as of December 2006 shows that 39 countries have import water from abroad to meet the growing demands. Among them are Azerbaijan, Latvia, Slovakia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Croatia,
Israel, Moldova, Romania and Turkmenistan. The same UN report notes that water scarcity and unequal distribution may enkindle conflicts and even wars between countries.
Five thousand years ago, when the Sumerian civilization was springing up in the Euphrates River valley, water wars were already underway, first of such wars in the history of the humankind. And the danger is still there today.

Gia Kuchava, political expert:

– Several years ago, at the summit of Asia-Pacific Ocean countries dedicated to the fresh water problem the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon uttered an ominous warning: “The Earth is on the verge of a water war.” The threat of water wars had been pointed out as early as in 1995 when Ismail Seraheldin – Vice-President of International Bank for Reconstruction and Development– stated that in XXI century mankind will fight for water, not oil. Politicians cannot put water resources under sovereign control because most sizeable rivers run through more than one state. Hence, leaders of these states can claim that “their neighbour drank all the water.”
According to the UN, water for 47% of World land area, excluding the Antarctic continent, is supplied by rivers which belong to two or more states simultaneously. Constant fresh water deficit is a reality for Israel, Lebanon, Jordan. So, Israel imposed a strict control and quotas on water use, unnerving the Arab world.
Where the water war may start? – Most likely in Central Asia. Many experts point this out, and even name potential adversaries – Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Uzbek PresidentIslam Karimov stated openly that a water war can be in the offing.

Georgia – Land of Rivers

It can be said that Georgia is in a much better position because of its considerable natural resources and huge energy potential. In terms of “the white coal” reserves, Georgia is richer that Switzerland, Austria and other European countries where HPPs are a leading source of electricity. As for relative power, Georgia is a champion among European countries by potential energy per square kilometer.
Georgia is rich in thermal resources too.Currently they are used for therapy and rehabilitation only. According to specialists, deep wells reaching artesian basins (up to 2500 meters in depth) can deliver the heat equivalent of many thousand tons of coal.
Georgia has immense resources of fresh and mineral water and uses less than one per cent of them currently. Georgian deep earth fresh water is characterized with extraordinary chemical composition (bicarbonate-chlorine waters with magnesium deficit) and bacterial purity. Thanks to all these factors, Georgia will not have to engage in water wars. Yet, as a wealth, water poses extra threats (given the country’s location) to our countryas many outside forces would seek to put us under their control.

Georgia – Aquarius of the world

The programme of Georgia’s social-economic development was tabled as early as in the Shevardnadze’s era, in the first years of 21st century. The programme prioritized development of potable water business.
“The Georgian State can claim the lead in the solution of global water issue. Considering the processes that are underway in the world, the time is nigh when fresh water would become the most precious and sought after commodity. Irrevocable changes, shallowing water basins in Europe, population and hence water demand growth, climate change, catastrophicdrop in precipitation, coupled with an already raging potable water deficit (from 5% for the central Europe to 25% for the southern Europe and Mediterranean belt), usher in water apocalypse.
By 2025, the potable water deficit will engulf entire Europe. Today already, 80% of the Europe’s population is supplied with surface waters, which do not meet basic chemical and bacteriological, as well as purity level standards set for potable water.
Either Europe finds the way out of this conundrum and establishes sustainable supply of quality water or will have to deal withthe mass deterioration of population health conditions by 2020-2025,” reads the document. So far, nothing has been done to change the status quo…
Ground water reserves of Georgia exceed 6.5 cubic meters per 24 hours, i.e. 2.3 billion cubic meters annually. These sources meet all the EU and WHO strict chemical standards head on. Interestingly, only Bulachauri and Natakhtari basins are being partially exploited today. According to reports, the acute potable water deficit experienced by the EU will amount to 120 million cubic meters of fresh water, only 5% of the Georgia’s fresh water reserves!

Infographics courtesy of www.princeton.edu
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