Hydroelectric Power in Kyrgyzstan
The increasing demand for centralized electrical power has put growing pressure on the government to modernize Kyrgyzstan’s hydroelectric capacity. 1“’s government has sanctioned the expansion of its energy infrastructure to mitigate extreme poverty and improve access to fundamental necessities in rural communities. As a focal point of its export economy, hydroelectric power modules supply 76 percent of its electricity. With lowering water inflow and deteriorating infrastructure, Kyrgyzstan faces a unique problem in mitigating and expanding its hydroelectric import/export industry while balancing the rampant poverty and income inequality among rural and urban communities. The surrounding Kyrgyzstan economy relies mostly on agricultural cultivations and the cotton export industry. With the increased development of modules of hydroelectric power in Kyrgyzstan, the controlled water supply offers the potential for massive growth in the agricultural industry. As a renewable energy source, hydroelectric energy provides the potential to control the rate at which the water flows and of the amount used, which is crucial to energy production.

Socioeconomic Implications

Traditional agricultural methods that rural communities commonly practice create the potential for extensive economic growth through the implementation of an updated hydroelectric system. Through a controlled system, the irrigation of various crops is more efficient with a renewable energy source that has less pollution. With substantial economic implications, hydroelectric power in Kyrgyzstan encourages more commercial enterprises to migrate to agrarian areas where people cannot access basic public services like running water and education as easily.

With 32 percent under the poverty line, the need for a centralized hydroelectrical grid can have vast socioeconomic implications, with an improved water supply system and improved access to basic health necessities. With Kyrgyzstan’s main hydroelectric infrastructure outdated and in need of a sufficient upgrade the inconsistency attached to this older hydroelectric module creates insecurity in basic necessities. With access to basic social programs tentative on ideal weather conditions in urban communities, the expansion of clean renewable energy sources can potentially create an influx of economic prosperity and improve energy efficiency throughout the country.

A focused effort toward improving consistent energy output will allow the quality of life to improve and give the impoverished a promising start toward economic mobility with increasing hydroelectric power in Kyrgyzstan. Reducing toxic chemicals put into the air from traditional cooking/heating methods in rural communities can allow room for a more comprehensive hydropower infrastructure. Rural communities on average tend to use more fossil fuels with more than 60 percent using those perishables due to inconsistencies within hydroelectric distribution and no updated grid system that would make those other methods obsolete.

Government Legislation

Since its independence, Kyrgyzstan established a network of standard practice in energy distribution with a comprehensive legislative agenda. People are underutilizing the potential for an increased hydroelectric presence as a larger kinetic energy source with geographically crucial bodies of water producing 5-8 billion kW·h per year and the country only using 3 percent. A more consistent hydroelectric grid is necessary for Kyrgyzstan’s economy to boost its agricultural sector. The government introduced the National Energy Program that assists in renovating abandoned hydropower plants and initiates constructing new ones. Additionally, government sectors have committed to actively work on the cultivation of Kyrgyzstan’s massive untapped energy sector. Along with a growing private sector and updated technology to improve the essential food and health infrastructures hydroelectric power in Kyrgyzstan will increase the capacity of its economy.

Adam Townsend
Photo: Flickr

Nile River conflictsWinding through some of the driest regions in the world, the Nile River is a lifeline for more than 300 million people. This vital source of freshwater irrigates crops and deposits silt for fertilizer. In addition, hydroelectric dams generate renewable energy. The rivers, lakes and reservoirs of the Nile basin have sustained people and animals for a millennia. As surrounding countries compete for the limited resource, many Nile River conflicts exist.

The Nile and Climate Change

The Nile River is one of the longest rivers in the world, including parts of: Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt. Egypt had enjoyed monopoly power over the Nile waters for the majority of the 20th century as granted by British colonial rule. But with climate change, a growing population and increased agriculture, the Nile River is becoming an increasingly valuable resource and people are willing to fight for their share.

These environmentally and politically fragile regions are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Climate change significantly decreases the availability of freshwater, making it a severe threat to all those who depend on the Nile. By the end of the century, heat waves could reduce the flow of the Nile in Egypt by an estimated 75 percent.

Water Scarcity

Although it is rarely the sole cause of an issue, water scarcity exacerbates tensions and can act as a trigger in the Nile River conflicts. Both East Africa and North Africa have politically unstable and violent-prone regions. According to the United Nations of Environmental Protection (UNEP), climate vulnerability, water scarcity and the loss of fertile land were underlying factors in the Darfur conflict.

Northern Africa and the Middle East is the most water-scarce region in the world. Five percent of the population only has access to 1 percent of freshwater. As a result, Egypt and Sudan—the upstream riparian countries—rely almost exclusively on the Nile for water.

Some reasons for the lack of accessible water are natural, like low rainfall and high evaporation rates. However, human activity worsens this natural water shortage. The compounding factors include inefficient water use and mismanagement, especially for agriculture purposes, using old water networks, the high population growth, social and cultural issues, pollution of water sources, and inappropriate legal, political and economic frameworks.

There are also Nile River conflicts in East Africa. With dry seasons getting longer and droughts becoming more common, there has been an increase in tribal conflicts over watering holes in Eastern Kenya and Ethiopia.

Improving Water Sources

Improving the management and efficiency for water usage can help address the water crisis. According to various reports, several trends are emerging to improve water sustainability in North Africa and the Middle East. The first focuses on using solar-powered irrigation to boost water, energy and food security. The second is to treat and reuse wastewater. This largely untapped resource can be productively used in forestry, agriculture, landscaping and replenishing aquifers. However, the viability of these solutions depends on the responses of the implicated governments and societies.

Historically limited in how they can use the Nile, the downstream riparian countries are looking for more ways to capitalize on this vital resource. This includes building dams to control water levels and to generate power, as well as rerouting water for irrigation. Unfortunately, many of these activities decrease the already-limited water available for the countries upstream.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is still under construction. As the largest dam in Africa, it will generate up to 6,450 megawatts of energy. It will be a critical source of power to the 75 million Ethiopians who don’t have electricity. The mega-dam could also provide cheaper electricity to neighboring Sudan and can control the seasonal flooding of the Nile. However, the ability to control the Nile will upset political power and threatens Egypt’s valuable source of water. While filling up the reservoir behind the dam, the water levels of the Nile could drop by 25 percent for up to seven years.

Both Ethiopia and Egypt rely on the Nile for freshwater and power more than the other countries, but an agreement must be reached soon as climate change is bearing down on the Nile basin. By 2050, it is likely that all countries in the Nile basin will be officially categorized as “water scarce.”

Water treaties across the world provide successful examples of countries working together to find ways to share this vital natural resource. Any solutions to the Nile River conflicts will also increase political participation, protect the environment and provide some political stability and security.

Programs to Improve the Nile

The Nile River Basin Initiative, formed in 1999, aims to ensure sustainable and equitable use of the Nile River while promoting prosperity and security. Efficient water use and management was identified as a necessary step to achieving this. The ten member countries are also committed to cooperating and working to find solutions that can benefit everyone. Another key objective of The Nile River Basin Initiative is increasing economic integration and eradicating poverty.

The Shared Vision Program is part of a two-fold approach to realize these objectives. Through eight projects, this umbrella program aims to promote collaboration and joint-problem solving by building institutions, sharing information, doing individual capacity building trainings, and creating platforms for discussions.

The governments involved in the Nile River conflicts have begun to realize that this trans-boundary issue requires trans-boundary solutions. Better management within countries and cooperation between countries are both necessary.

– Liesl Hostetter
Photo: Flickr


Water Quality in ArmeniaArmenia is a landlocked country west of Turkey and is one of the world’s earliest Christian civilizations, with churches dating back to the fourth century. Armenia has been controlled by various nations and empires over the centuries despite periods of independence. It most recently gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and joined the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015.

There were large investments in water projects during the Soviet era, but because of poor workmanship and irregular maintenance, the water quality in Armenia suffered. Additionally, a lack of funding after the Soviet-era necessitated major repairs, and upgrades were almost entirely halted. Decades of neglect of the water and wastewater systems caused water to leak and be wasted. Citizens had limited access to water, and the water they had access to was often unhealthy.

Despite this, between 2003 and 2013 significant legislation and institutional reforms were introduced to improve water quality in Armenia. Two projects financed by the World Bank have improved the water quality in Armenia as well as access to it. Thanks to these projects, 332,000 households have gained access to running water 21 hours a day.

The World Bank reported that the Armenian government has partnered with the private sector, and today the country’s water is well regulated and more efficient as a result. Water quality in Armenia began to improve after a private company was placed in charge of the utility company.

In the city of Yerevan, most of the pumping stations are new and efficient, using 40 percent less energy, which saves on electrical costs. Rebuilt wells have reduced operating costs and losses. Nine water sources have had new chlorination stations built or the old ones fixed. Improvements like these have helped resolve issues with the water quality in Armenia, which has bettered the lives of many residents.

Fernando Vazquez

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in AlbaniaAlbania is located in southern Europe, north of Greece. Albanians call themselves shqiptarë, which means “sons of eagles“. Albania gained independence in 1912 and was ruled as a monarchy between World War I and World War II. After WWII, it was a communist state, but new democratic parties developed after communist regimes failed.

25 years later, Albania gained candidate status in the EU after many attempts, but still faces challenges such as finding an economic niche and establishing rule of law. Despite this, water quality in Albania is one thing that has improved over the years.

A 2003 report from the World Bank stated that there was plenty of water available, but the water quality in Albania was compromised because of the poor conditions of its water infrastructure. The country lacked sufficient treatment facilities, the chemical suppliers were unreliable and the maintenance was unsatisfactory. The decaying supply and treatment facilities posed a major health threat and were believed to be a major contributing factor to infant mortality.

In 2015, the European Environment Agency reported that there have been significant measures taken to improve the water quality in Albania. Authorities have made efforts to reduce pollution, and between 2012 and 2015 the quality of bathing waters in Albania has improved significantly.

The Tirana Times reported in May that 86 percent of the bathing waters in Albania met the standards of the EU. In 2016 and 2017, Albanian authorities that reported 92 bathing waters were considered excellent or satisfactory, compared to 78 in 2015, which has helped attract more tourism.

Albania has many challenges to overcome, but the improvement of water quality in Albania is a step in the right direction. The increased tourism as a result of the improved water quality may also help stimulate the economy, which can help it more quickly overcome other obstacles.

Fernando Vazquez

Photo: Flickr

water quality in Côte d’IvoireCôte d’Ivoire used to be an exception in West Africa, a model for other countries of economic success. Since civil war erupted in the country more than a decade ago, that model has deteriorated and largely rendered a mere dream. Now, the country is in dire straits, especially in regards to the quality and conditions of its water supply. Water quality in Côte d’Ivoire is an issue for a staggering 31 percent of rural areas.

Furthermore, the quality of water that is available leaves much to be desired. The civil war has tremendously damaged the water supply infrastructures, and this coupled with the fact that water is exposed to unsanitary conditions often results in water-borne disease. This is not confined to rural areas either; it affects urban areas as well.

Slightly less than half of Côte d’Ivoire’s population (about eight million people) do not have access to proper sanitation facilities. In rural areas in particular, roughly four million people drink water not safe for consumption. As a result, many die from diseases related to unsafe and unclean drinking water, including children.

This crisis has a domino effect on other aspects of Ivorian society. The lack of access to proper and clean water sources means that a lot of energy and resources must be devoted to obtaining it. This results in many Ivorian girls being forced to forego their education in order to seek and provide water for their families.

This is true even in the capital, Abidjan, where a large influx of people into the capital has strained its inadequate urban infrastructure. The large swathes of people that have moved to Abidjan did so largely because of the civil war and the threat of violence.

In other cities, such as the northern town Dabakala, the wells that previously contained water have completely dried up. This has resulted in residents seeking unsafe and unclean water sources. When water is obtained from such sources, such as creeks, life-threatening diseases such as guinea worm and cholera easily affect those in need of water.

However, there have been campaigns to combat this problem. Efforts made by the Global Nature Fund, for example, have met the needs of Ivorians by repairing water pumps. Within a couple of years, the residents of 44 villages, or around 24,000 Ivorians, were able to access fresh groundwater.

The water quality in Côte d’Ivoire and a lack of it is causing severe crises. These calamities were a result of the outbreak of civil war that has successfully dashed the stability, safety and prosperity of the nation. While some improvement efforts have been made, this crisis will only continue unless serious changes are enacted on an international scale that provide a long-term solution to the water needs of Côte d’Ivoire.

Hasan Javed

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Grenada
Grenada is a developing island nation that resides in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. The country is made up of six smaller islands in addition to the main island of Grenada. The country depends heavily on the agricultural sector to maintain its economy. It is well known for its nutmeg and mace crops, which are sold all throughout the world. However, limited access to drinking water has made the water quality in Grenada see a decline in recent years.

The Issue of Water Access In Grenada

Growing periods of dry spells and overuse of water in Grenada has led to dropping groundwater levels. This has allowed the salt water surrounding Grenada to permeate the water layers on the island. The effect of this has been the reduction of the water quality in Grenada. Consequently, this pollution from seawater has made much of the water in the nation unusable for agriculture.

In addition to the continued pollution of the nation’s water supply, rising sea levels have resulted in an erosion of the coasts. Worse yet, hurricanes passing through the region disrupt the agricultural sector and destroy critical infrastructure that the country needs to survive.

Because Grenada depends on tourism and agriculture to maintain its economy, polluted water supply has continued to create negative economic consequences.

Possible Solutions

In conjunction with Germany’s Federal Development Agency (GiZ) and the International Climate Initiative (IKI), the water quality in Grenada has begun to improve. These organizations have partnered up with the government of Grenada to teach locals how to deepen wells and construct more sophisticated irrigation systems to ensure they will have water for the future. All of this work happens alongside education of the locals about preserving water in the water-intensive industry of tourism.

Looking Towards The Future

Although pollution continues to impact many around the world, water quality in Grenada should improve in coming years. With the help of the GiZ and IKI, the government of Grenada has a clear path to address the issue of declining levels of water in their nation. As long as they continue the plan they have created, Grenada is sure to get past this matter they are addressing.

Nick Beauchamp

Photo: Flickr

Toilet to TapThere are over 750 million people in the world living without access to clean water. Because of this, many people are prone to fecal and bacterial-related diseases. While much of the world has limited access to clean, drinkable water, many countries have implemented a way to recycle and reuse wastewater into safe drinking water. The method is called the “Toilet to Tap” concept.

Countries like Singapore, Namibia, India, Mexico, Europe and the United States have implemented Indirect Potable Reuse and Direct Potable Reuse methods, both of which are used to effectively purify water via the process of reverse osmosis.

Reverse osmosis is a common water purification process. First, the water filters through a dual membrane at least three times. After this, the water goes through a UV light as well as a sub-micron filter to clean out any remaining unwanted particles.

Singapore began the initiative in 1998, known as the NEWater Study, in order to determine how safe recycled wastewater is to drink. According to the Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore specifically uses “secondary sewage water that has undergone stringent purification and treatment processes using advanced dual-membrane and ultra-violet technologies.” Through this process, Singapore supplies at least 80 million liters of clean water per day from each of its three facilities.

Some countries – such as India and Mexico – are new to the Toilet to Tap concept, but they are beginning to integrate it into their infrastructures more. India, through its 2021 Master Plan, has laid the groundwork to begin the recycling of wastewater to be able to supply more to areas that do not have consistent access to clean water.

Access to clean water is vital to ensure public health and economic, social and environmental stability. While there are not currently many countries who reuse wastewater, there are several countries now seeking to implement these Toilet to Tap systems as a way to solve water crises around the world.

Rebekah Covey

Photo: Pixabay

Water Quality in New Zealand

A Brief Background
A series of battles between 1843 and 1872 took place between Britain and the Polynesian Maori living on the island of New Zealand. This culminated in a British victory, marking the beginning of the island’s involvement with Western history. The newly- founded colony gained independence from Britain in 1907. New Zealand then participated in numerous wars alongside Britain until modern day. Currently, the nation has a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Water Quality In New Zealand
The water quality in New Zealand is high when compared to other countries around the world. The rivers, lakes and wetlands provide the environment necessary for a wide variety of plants and animals to flourish. Rural areas today have seen no issues with the water quality.

The urban regions, however, suffer from having a substantially lower water quality when compared to the country’s more rural areas. In recent years, increased land use has caused its water to become increasingly polluted. Another reason for the increased land use concerns the nation’s agricultural sector. The beef and dairy industries in New Zealand have little regulation and companies involved often do not take efforts to ensure its waste does not contaminate local water supplies. This increased land use has disastrous implications for the aquatic life, drinking water supplies and water-based recreation in New Zealand’s economy.

As the water quality in New Zealand continues to decrease, so does the country’s available amount of sanitized drinking water. This negatively impacts the nation’s section of its economy that relies on fresh water.

The Plan For 2040
Prime Minister Bill English has created a new action plan to make 90 percent of the country’s waterways swimmable by 2040. The government hopes to accomplish this goal changing its water quality guidelines. Another method being implemented involves increasing subsidies to farms that are not polluting nearby water sources by $2 billion in the next 23 years.

Overall, the water quality in New Zealand is high in its rural regions; however, in more urban areas, increased land use and environmentally dangerous farming practices have reduced its water quality significantly. Nevertheless, the future looks bright for this country as long as the Prime Minister continues his action plan to improve the quality of water in New Zealand.

Nick Beauchamp

Photo: Pixabay

Water Quality in ComorosComoros is a tropical archipelago nation located in the Indian Ocean towards the northern end of the Mozambique Channel. The island has numerous natural resources including fresh water, many species of edible plants and a wide variety of wildlife. Nevertheless, due to having some of the world’s most active volcanoes on the island, water quality in Comoros has become a concern for many living in the country.

Karthala is one of the most active volcanoes on the island and has contributed significantly to the water pollution. Volcanic eruptions have allowed for the introduction of pollutants into the water supply, which has caused the water quality in Comoros to decline in years past. Karthala’s most recent eruptions – two in the past year and a half – have left the island covered in volcanic ash, which has polluted the water supply many in the country rely on.

Despite the extent of the pollution, the water quality in Comoros appears to be improving recently due to numerous programs introduced by the government. As a short-term solution, UNICEF has shipped millions of liters of drinking water into the nation until a more long term solution can be enacted. This action has brought fresh water to more than 150,000 people.

The government of Comoros has continued to work alongside UNICEF to create more long-term solutions to this issue. Together with UNICEF, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office has given $1.3 million to go toward cleaning more than 1,500 reservoirs. This is hugely beneficial, as many citizens use these reservoirs as their primary source of their drinking water.

Overall, the water quality in Comoros has suffered from the volcanic activity in the country; however, the continued efforts by both UNICEF and the government has had a significant effect on improving this issue. This work and its continuation should allow the citizens of Comoros to continue to have a fresh source of water.

Nick Beauchamp

Photo: Flickr

Water Shortage In Antigua & Barbuda

Caribbean countries have suffered in recent years from a prolonged drought, forcing them to implement new methods to control the use of water in their nations. One country in the Caribbean that has suffered from this prolonged drought is Antigua & Barbuda (A&B).

Despite the current situation, the future is starting to look up for the citizens of this country, as new programs have been started to address the issue of the continued water shortage in A&B.

The Plan:
One program the A&B government has implemented in the past few years has been the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA). The goal of APUA is to act as a water rationing program to ensure that all citizens receive adequate amounts of water until the drought begins to go away.

However, as the drought continues, authorities involved with the APUA have struggled to find a solution to the water shortage in A&B. One authority stated in an interview that “as Antigua and Barbuda enter further into a drought, the APUA has seen a depletion of the surface water resources that it relies heavily on.”

The rate of water consumption in A&B has continued to put pressure on the APUA and their ability to provide adequate amounts of water for its citizens. A statement by the APUA reported that authorities told the public that they only had enough water left in their largest containment unit to get the country through the month of February, if they did not see an increase in rainfall.

The APUA has since tried to deal with the issue of the continued water shortage by only providing water at certain times during the day. Although APUA can provide its citizens with enough water to sustain themselves by using this strategy, this work cannot continue for much longer.

The Takeaway:
The issue of a water shortage in A&B is a matter that appears to have no clear solution. The drought continues to be problematic, and the APUA’s task of providing adequate water to all its citizens has not been so simple. The best thing one can do at this moment in time for the people of A&B would be to donate money to organizations or volunteer time to NGOs – which are working alongside APUA to address the issue of the water shortage.

Although the circumstances for those in A&B have been grim, there is hope for the future of these people. Continued effort from the APUA and NGOs should provide increasing relief to the citizens suffering from the effects of the drought.

Nick Beauchamp
Photo: Flickr