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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 52  Al Jazeera  February 22, 2018 2:32pm-2:59pm +03

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living in constant fear they've been sending messages on social media on on mobile phones that anybody who can bring out their message to the rest of the world because they feel that they have been neglected and abandoned by the international community. african refugees and migrants in israel's whole lot detention center have gone on hunger strike to protest against the imprisonment of seven eritreans who refused to leave the country. the men of the first to be jailed under a new deportation scheme many of the thirty seven thousand african refugees in israel have been given three months to take up a cash offer to leave friday the real wonder or uganda or face indefinite time in jail. shouldn't some families affected by the school shootings have shared their frustration at a meeting with president trump he heard their stories and pleas to tighten gun laws
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and responded with some ideas of his own including arming teachers stayed inside story is next. running out of water they're calling it day zero cities like cape town and nairobi assumed to get dry and first two years of drought and bad planning so why haven't governments done more to prevent this catastrophe is the golden age of water now over this is inside story.
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hello and welcome to the program i'm peter davi climate change human action and a growing population are increasing the chances of a global water crisis that's what experts have long been warning about over a billion people lack access to clean drinking water and the un predicts a global forty percent water deficit by the year twenty thirty south africa's cape town for example could become the world's first major city to run out of water literally much of the city and the rest of the country's water flows from neighboring lawsuit two of the next water crisis could be looming then south africa has been plagued by a prolonged drought for three years cape town is the hardest hit its dams are at less than twenty five percent full the city is warning it could reach what it's calling day zero that's when the dams drop below safe levels and the taps have to
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be shut off the government has declared the situation a national disaster and has limited residents to using fifty liters of water per person per day well kenya is also dealing with its own water crisis off for a prolonged. dry spell there it hasn't rained in many parts of this east african country since october of last year and spurts attribute that to climate change that's not only affected water supplies but also food production now several areas including the capital nairobi a facing an acute water shortage many people haven't even had running water through their taps for months and they've had to resort to buying from vendors at high prices now before we go to our guests al jazeera as meteorologists richard angwin explains now how weather and climate change both play a key role in this crisis. well geographically of course nairobi in kenya and cape town in south africa are miles and miles apart the same goes for the climatic zones but they have a couple things in common growing populations and
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a growing demand for water exacerbated by changing weather patterns if we take a ten first of all there's no doubt that the city has been experiencing a really severe drought over the last three to four years in fact if you have a look at this little graph the dry she is on record going back nearly a century twenty seventeen twenty fifteen and twenty sixteen sassoon is lack of water which is partly responsible for the city's problems in kenya as far as nairobi is concerned i can't find much to indicate changes in precipitation patterns but what there is evidence for is that a warming world is resulting in generally higher temperatures which means more evaporation which in turn means a greater demand for water to supply crops and i think for both cities the problems are like to continue in a warming world. ok let's bring in our guests today joining us from cape town on skype neal armitage deputy director of
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future water a research institute devoted to water at the university of cape town in london david ticknor chief freshwater advisor of the world wide fund for nature and in nairobi also in scope alex that we director of east africa institute of the icon university welcome to you all keep to how bad is this going to get. well how bad is going to get that's the big question what we've had is three years of well. every drain fall including the two trials years on record so cumulatively and amounts to something like one out of five hundred or one hundred thousand years drought something completely beyond what anyone had anticipated we are now about two months away from the expected beginning of the rainy season and at this stage of the of course have no idea how good the rainy season will be even much of a good one and what about what do you think now in london i'm assuming here this
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will have a major impact on agriculture and industry give us a sense of how but that might be. well neal is probably a better place to talk about the details of the south african situation but generally one of the first sectors to suffer in drought is often the agricultural sector and that can have a major impact on creates a curacy that can have an international repercussions about a decade or so there was a period of dry rankles i think associated with an el nino event a big periodic climatic shift and that disrupted global food supplies and we ended up seeing prospects in all sorts of internationally traded commodities so these things can have international ramifications alex that we see in nairobi is that picture reflected where you are. well at the moment in the narrow view what we have is the normal cycles of. dry spell when he's so when we're in the
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face of play now it's with the middle of the on the dry spell but i think the more disgusted he is that x. is exacerbated by four legs management especially deforestation of the up the regions that supply most of the major evils that supply it was supposed to be so we have for an all time low base flow which is very critical especially at this time of year is then we suppose a lot of them think on the back of them is also a book we should go through specially that will be the cell project that require over one million cubic meters of one of them against the supplied the best city of about six hundred thousand cubic meters a day but he's also made what was the complicated by very inefficient distribution and what we're going to finish and that's what's and of course a breakdown of supply since then. i'm saying we don't know what it is the and how some level and this is going to study that what is it it's going to tell us resource and it's do you think going to a major what it was mission missions within itself going to produce
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a lot of some of the one of the four of the non consumptive neil armitage let's explore that idea of water restrictions for a second they seem pretty draconian around parts of cape town i mean tourists are being told to live like a local in the locals are not living well when it comes to using water have the water restrictions worked or not exceptionally well and just to back up a little bit it's not something that is competing you came to town has been working on what's called want to mine management and to increase improving which efficiency those are common time just a moment ago for quite some time since about one thousand nine hundred ninety. and so it has resulted in a massive drop in. accounts for water down to about fifteen percent which is will cause even before the drought now with the drought of course the fact institute is to come in measures and it can quite simply be said that is the only thing that
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saved us and saving us of course we don't know whether we're going to be safe better it's looking reasonable for this year at any rate so it's it is about managing to persuade residents in the first instance but in creasing lead was rolled out to businesses to be ultra careful about the way they use water and a lot of middle class capetonians have learned that they can actually live on relatively small quantity of water most of most of us i think of know going into the spirit of things i think my last month was thirty nine liters per day for each of my six members of the household and sort of kind of become a bit of a competition among some capetonians not necessary or of course in the garden not real says that of course a quarter of the population are living in informal settlements where to live of twenty to twenty five these big day is actually the norm and always has been so i guess it's a case of middle class capetonians or learning what it's like to be poor david
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signal is clearly a difference here between i mean contingency planning and crisis management how governments either at a national level or a local level got this totally wrong up to now because it seems to me that they haven't actually reacted very quickly to the warnings that guys like you have been putting out there for a long time. yeah that's exactly right it's a very good question a w a b f quite recently we've been working with the chinese government to review global practice global policy on drought risk management and the chinese are exposed to quite a lot of drought risk themselves and they want to have a management better in doing so they want to learn the lessons from from around the world one of the things we found from that quite comprehensive global review is that almost everywhere governments don't prepare particularly good contingency plans for drought even though we know drought can hit pretty much anywhere so what tends to happen is that when drought hits there is very much a sense of it's
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a crisis we have to do something quite often there are panic measures people ill prepared and quite often the most disadvantaged people in society and wildlife habitats and biodiversity they're the first things to suffer so one of the things we would definitely like to see a lot more of is better strategic planning of drought risk and in particular as the climate is shifting as as population is growing as more people are living thirsty lifestyles that better contingency planning is going to be absolutely critical that we see in nairobi is that something that you're seeing where you are a lack of even national government planning or local government planning and people are going to go from being asked to preserve water or use it properly to being forced to use water property. i mean this is been a long time coming it's been lonely the making requests. for. your child and even
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all kinds of projections from population growth projections to line has changed in some of the employee. portions of the major area of the bludgeoning up in a city to even climate change positions and nothing has been done about it will involve. consistency you know every government city and national government so unless it's to use it and basically getting some of you know how we did solutions around supply but not critical thinking about my money spent on the we've seen is really i think investments alone we want to flow out of regions that also have their own local want to see what it needs but also again the major ecological needs that what i mean some of even in the legit landscape so we did things like into business finance and created enormous conservancy in the upland communities basically looking at downstream wealthy elsewhere of
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a good business basically consuming resource that they don't produce and yet look great wolfram place for a few cents so again very very similar what's up in south african situation is that very little forethought has been given just basically looking at what mission level demands and how it was changed and how then you can basically begin to try to get supply and demand but also begin to think about the only and if the mechanisms just make better use of that one of them we have rather than coming to does that a crisis tailspin when it's too late and you're pushing populations with things that it can't do but it bearing in mind also that even though this is an acute and chronic one a shortage dinero almost seventy percent of it always population does not have access to what is a top of the pipe in their homes so you're biscuit about thirty percent of the population that is under normal great regulation so how about the informal segment
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people who are never had one on the regular basis for all time. so you don't even know the depth of the water courses that we're staring at because we just don't collect the data we go planning on going forward so i think it will because what is going to be the most virulent says they want to create. enough alex you're raising some incredibly strong issues there neal i'm assuming here you're nodding there when alex was talking about people not having access to clean water anyway that's an issue in the townships isn't it in south africa where it stand pipes is literally a pipe that comes up out of the ground but access to water is a human right is designated by the united nations as being a human right and to pick up on alex's point about the wealthy middle class it's almost like a virtue signalling thing now in south africa with the middle class in south africa they feel good about themselves if the obesity haven't washed their hair today because that means the they're saving water one phrase though that i've come across water all mentation infrastructure neal i don't understand what that means what is
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that. but it's interesting listening to the conversation and then going back a step about planning and one of the interesting things that we've seen here is that the plan was done they and the plans clearly showed that cape town would use and could easily survive a fifty year drought which is currently the benchmark for design in south africa for water services. and there was a supplementary schemes to chip start to commence construction next year what happened was that it wasn't a fifty year drought it was a five hundred year drought now what it's doing is it's causing the city to completely separate or come out its deeper conversation which we've been involved with as as an institution about to sort of the next step in south africa is
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a try country cape town or something because logical island we have. c m two sides mountains in the east we've got a desert in the north and sir we've already used up our surface waters sources we're a city of a reform and integrating a three percent per annum way next and i think the next is is quite interesting because essentially it's about the fact that we're going to have to get water from other sources the visions again we've paid for a long time we've paid for nineteen years we're very good at it but you can only get surface does a lot of managing returns so where is the new water going to come from and the bottom line it's going to come from three places which are being clearly identified the first place is going to come from groundwater but of course you call just take out ground to willy nilly you have to make sure that your recharge rates are beast as good as the mt checking out and the ways of doing that artificially as well as naturally that the second source of water is about a full treatment to
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a partial treatment to surge bhatia treatment for secondary uses such as factory floor was. construction and like the median political waters at school for this for purpose water at all alternatively treating it completely up to potable water the city of and took a new member has been successfully doing that for fifty years or third of the water supplies in fact treated sewage difference to potable and then the third source which is the one everybody thinks about first but actually turns out to be the most problematic in terms of cost and environmental damage is the obvious want to see water desalination and what the city is talking about now is talking about the new normal is which is where we could accept the fact that there's going to be shocks the system we don't know what climate change has in store for us but we just had a nasty fright so we must assume the worst so we need to make sure that i it's often one bosket that we need to look at alternative sources of water so we're looking at these three of them time to sources and the city starting to roll out
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a program to tap. into the aquifer treating sir geoffry and and some small scale desalination plants which will sort of help spread the risk ok let's stay with an idea of where next because water shortage is a global problem so polo went through a similar crisis to cape town three years ago at the time millions of brazilians had less than twenty days of water supply left the southern indian city of bangalore is losing over half of its drinking water over a lack of proper waste systems there china has also seven percent of the world's fresh water and pollution is making it more difficult to have access to usable water nearly forty percent of beijing's water can't even be used for agriculture or industrial purposes it is toxic in jakarta the illegal practice of digging wells has drained underground aquifers while mexico city imports much of its water from distant sources a quarter of its people have running water for just part of any one day and london gets up to eighty percent of its water from rivers but it's pushing close to
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capacity and is likely to have supply problems by twenty twenty five david ticknor in london may be apocryphal but if you drink tap water in london we're always told it's gone through seven other sets of kidneys before it gets into your mouth but that's maybe a slightly different distasteful conversation do you detect when you look in on them on this problem david do you detect blame shifting amongst different members of parliament different responsible ministers. i think you're touching on quite an important issue there. we can always talk about these water challenges as if they're technical issues and certainly to an extent they are and some of the solutions need to protect nickel as well whether that's building the reservoirs or recharging groundwater or managing demand through rolling out water meters for example fundamentally a lot of the decisions which govern how we manage our water who gets water and who doesn't whether we over allocate our water systems or whether we live within our
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means a lot of those decisions off fundamentally political decisions and i think there is a real challenge now for world leaders for political leaders for captains of industry as well for that matter this time where we need a grown up conversation about how societies how economies live within their hydrological means if you like there aren't many parts of the world where i can really see that conversation happening at least not in terms of long term issues when we get acute situations like droughts then yes politicians suddenly talk about water can happen when there are floods by the way and you get it on the front page of newspapers but there really aren't that many places where politicians are having that grown up conversation listening to experts listening to water users and thinking about those sometimes quite challenging tradeoffs in how we manage and use our water more sustainably alex that we see in nairobi is the situation already
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worse than we think it is because once the level in the dams gets below ten percent that's the point when they switch off the taps that's when they stop the supply going to hoses hospitals hotels places where people need to drink water so you've actually got less water than you thought you had as you get so was that ten percent level. yeah we're exactly in that situation but i think what is also important is that we actually don't even know the real demand for so supply is one thing with all of these false claims that you think about is a higgs a hole in the existing want to supply. context. given the fuck this seventy percent of the population is not an only. nation. a lot of things are happening and happening and hasn't done what i was doing it's so i think we're really
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at a very bad place in terms of partly because we just don't understand enormity of the problem and then partly we just don't have a plumbing in response capability to do basically deal with those and as you say you know i had a point when the tops of time golf the major installations meant facilities but a good part of it is that that's been made that this is a minority problem zali thirty percent of the population basically will will find life looking very different rest of the seventy percent this is their normal they don't have water taps they have to bear want to. get a huge cost from informal brenda's and i think that that is usually informal nature of narrowing is what a system easy is at the heart of the problem and then also makes it very difficult to really get a sense of what the real glove and the ball is and therefore what the op was missions are to be and the test politicians that must be had by politicians but
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also by households and a good part of it is the inequality that it creates. and for and if it was sitting in there some of the uplift this is it's a play want to hear understand that you just want to flush our toilets they get pretty pretty amazed by that level of. of difference in lives to as it will be understood briefly neal because we are heading towards the last couple minutes of the program depending upon which multiple one reads day zero is april may or july assume the worst case scenario april what does the government in south africa have to do between now and that first hit a day zero. well we've just been informed the taser has been officially moved to to najaf which should be deep enough into or any system to save us but that's not essentially saying that day's here comes about because of her no rain whatever it is so at the moment the city is as organized two hundred collection points where so
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dozens will be able to pull to collect wood in twenty five and containers how is that going to do to to business and everything else as is uncertain but like i said it's beginning to look as good under control and the city has been working very hard together with the department of sanitation with their cultural hoods because as it was intimated early on it's not just about the city it's about the surrounding farmland western cape produces fifty percent of. exports and so it's about managing as a whole ok and i'm not even sick not sort of one final point david techno in london david is the golden age of water availability coming to an end. in short yes i think it is in many parts of the world i think is a combination of climate change is going to have a big impact on top of mismanagement of water so we need to governments to get serious about cutting greenhouse gas emissions to reduce risks of droughts as well
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as floods i think in terms of this golden age of water i think this idea that we can we can simply build our way out of water shortages is is probably no longer true in most instances we need to put in place portfolios of solutions which in some places might include some more water storage so that'll help in times of droughts but it also relies much more on managing demands on looking after our land and our wetlands which act as natural sponges in the landscape and help us be more resilient and i think as well we've got to realise that if we continue polluting and over obstructing our rivers and aquifers when drowned does hit that leaves us no where to go so we've got to just days a day take better care of those rivers lakes aquifers reservoirs on which we all depend gentleman the clock has beaten us as ever i could carry on talking but unfortunately we can't thank you so much for your company thanks to our guests neil
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armitage david technique and alex that we thank you to you two for your company and see the show again anytime on the website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion to check facebook page facebook dot com for slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter at a.j. inside story for me b.t.w. and everyone on the team thanks for watching we'll do it at same time tomorrow susan. the scene for us where on line what is american sign in yemen that peace is always
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possible but it never happens not because the situation is complicated but because no one cares or if you join us on sat there are people that that are choosing between buying medication and eating basis is a dialogue i want to get in one more comment because this is someone who is an activist and has posted a story join the global conversation at this time on al-jazeera.


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