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    'Day zero' water crises: Spain, Morocco, India and Iraq at risk as reservoirs shrink

    12 Apr 2018

    Shrinking reservoirs in Morocco, India, Iraq and Spain could spark the next “day zero” water crisis, according to the developers of a satellite early warning system for the world’s 500,000 dams.

    Cape Town recently grabbed global headlines by launching a countdown to the day when taps would be cut off to millions of residents as a result of a three-year drought. Drastic conservation measures have forestalled that moment in South Africa, but dozens of other countries face similar risks from rising demand, mismanagement and climate change, say the World Resources Institute (WRI).

    The US-based environmental organisation is working with Deltares, the Dutch government and other partners to build a water and security early warning system that aims to anticipate social instability, economic damage and cross-border migration. A prototype is due to be rolled out later this year, but a snapshot was unveiled on Wednesday that highlighted four of the worst-affected dams and the potential knock-on risks.

    The starkest decline is that of Morocco’s second-largest reservoir, Al Massira, which has shrunk by 60% in three years due to recurring drought, expanding irrigation and the increasing thirst of neighbouring cities such as Casablanca. Despite recent rains, the WRI said water was now at the lowest level in a decade. The last time the dam was so depleted, grain production fell by half and more than 700,000 people were affected, it said. Pressure on this water source will grow later this year when a new water transfer project links it to the city of Marrakech.

    theguardian

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