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Water Facts and Figures

The following is list of things which should really terrify you:

Shortage Facts

  • The Oasis of Azraq was a symbolic site for Jordanians, and was named an international wetland heritage site in 1977. Jordan, like the middle east in general, is desperate for water. In 1982 they began tapping the Oasis to send water to Jordan's capital city, Amman. By 1993 the oasis was a dusty garbage dump. (Barlow & Clarke, 2002, p. 21).
  • As Global Warming continues, the glacier that is feeding Alberta's Bow River will melt quickly enough that by 2055 there will no longer be any water in the Bow. (Barlow & Clarke, 2002, p. 42).
  • The Ogallala Aquifier stretches underground from the Texas panhandle to South Dakota. It is North America’s single largest water-bearing unit. Fossil water, it has barely any sources of replenishment. Mined by over 200 000 wells, 50 million liters of water are taken out of the Ogallala every minute – a rate of withdrawal which is 14 times faster than nature can restore the aquifier.
  • The Nile, the Ganges, the Yellow River, and the Colorado River, no longer reach their respective oceans with regularity.

Pollution Facts

  • Not a Vegetarian yet? Why not? Large-scale farms producing feed animals ALSO produce manure. Some hog farms produce enough manure to equal a city of 360 000 people. Millions of gallons of liquefied animal feces are stored in open lagoons that emit over 400 dangerous compounds into the atmosphere, and, of course, seep into water systems.
    It takes 15 000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of beef. To produce soybeans requires only 2% as much water. (Barlow & Clarke, 2002, p. 33 and 47).
  • 50 to 70% of the drugs you take pass through you and can find their way into water systems. Tests in Canada and Germany have found estrogen from birth-control pills, and compounds for antidepressants, blood-pressure medications, ibuprofen in local water supplies.(Barlow & Clarke, 2002, p. 35).
  • One billion pounds of industrial weed and bug killers are used throughout the U.S. each year. Because most of it runs into the water system, nearly 40% of U.S. rivers and streams are too dangerous for fishing, swimming or drinking. (Barlow & Clark, 2002, p. 29).
  • 75% of Poland's rivers are so contaminated that their water is unsafe even for industrial use!(Barlow & Clarke, 2002, p. 31).
  • In one week, a typical cruise ship generates:
    210,000 gallons of sewage;
    1,000,000 gallons of "gray water" from showers, sinks, dishwashers and clothes washers;
    37,000 gallons of oily bilge water;
    more than eight tons of solid waste;
    toxic wastes from onboard operations like dry cleaners and photo processing laboratories.
  • 90% of the Third World's Wastewater is discharged untreated into local rivers and streams. Pollution from waterways kills 25 million people each year. Every 8 seconds a child dies from drinking contaminated water. Every year, diarrhea ills 3 million children.(Barlow & Clarke, 2002, p. 52).
  • Along the U.S./Mexico border are export-processing zones known as the “maquiladora.” The water in these areas is so filthy and toxic that babies are given Pepsi and Coca-Cola rather than water.


  • Of the largest 100 economies in the world, 53 are transnational corporations, rather than nation-states.(Barlow & Clarke, 2002, p.84).
  • ExxonMobil has more total revenue than all but 22 nation-states in the world, and Wal-Mart is larger than the economies of 178 countries (ibid).
  • Amongst water-companies, the two biggest are Vivendi and Suez. They rank 91st and 118th on the Global Fortune 500 (ibid, p. 85).

From Stuff in the Air


From Stuff in the Air

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