injustice of water in Asia

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Interactions between Western nations and Asian countries have a significant impact on peoples’ livelihoods. The partnerships began during the pre-colonial period, progressed to the colonial era, and are now in the post-colonial period. Initially, western powers annexed Asian countries with the aim of exploring the globe. Europeans from the West were satisfied with the sites they visited as a result of their interest in learning about and exploring various parts of the world and therefore built a village. The migrants eventually became farmers and started farming. Later, their numbers increased, and eventually, the leaders of home countries started to rule the land occupied to protect the interests of its citizens. The settlement of the Western Europeans had both positive and negative impacts. The Asian countries benefited from the economic development realized and more civilization. However, their culture was drained away, and they adopted that of their colonizers.

The present interaction between the Western countries and the Asians facilitates resource utilization and other negative impacts on the local citizens of the Asian Nations. Apart from the use of resources, they promote culture shift, and the Asian residents adopt their culture. The interactions of the western industries with the Asian nations encourage economic disagreement on many issues. Therefore, it matters that the all the nations check into the laws governing the interactions. Failure to that, the Asian nations will not cease to experience economic challenges as a result of the unfair interplay. In this paper, we shall look at the water justice. Water is a resource that forces the citizens and the NGOs to join hand and fight the laws that promote unfair allocations. In the struggle for water justice, the citizens and non-governmental organizations join forces in global movements to oppose the water initiatives of capitalist nations that undermine their rights.

Water Allocation Injustices

Water is a useful resource in all stages of life and development. Everyone requires water to survive and carry out their activities so that they can advance economically. As such, water is highly contested by all nations whether developed or developing. The universal approach of water laws encounters many challenges from those concerned. Every country wants to have, and equal share of the resource but the rules do not allow that. The citizens and humanity groups are against the water injustice that is rampant in the Asian countries. Lack of enough share of the water is detrimental and leads to the slow development of projects. This paper analyses and discusses the sharing of water resources and the rights to access and use it. The paper as well looks at the distribution, reviling how such allocations are justified in differing ways by different nations at different levels, with significant outcomes for the access and usage of water. Therefore, the condition for water sharing an issue arises for looking at water challenges as problems of justice.

Competition for water is extremely high, and thus the theory of water justice becomes an important factor of concern. Water as a resource is scarce and at the same time, it is a vital requirement in life. Even though there is little recording about the economic disputes arising from the sharing of water, Asian countries do not get enough share for it. The non-governmental organizations and the United Nations are among the bodies that look into the problem and attempt to solve them by ensuring equity. Since little is known about the laws governing water resources among the citizens, most people do not have a concern on how sharing and rights to access are distributed. However, for the government that is responsible for development is much worried about the laws. Therefore, the government tries to amend the rules governing the water resources that were set by the Western colonizers.

In India, the issue of water justice revolves along the historical inequalities in the sharing of resources. Amendments to the water laws affect the available water flows, makes new patterns and ways of access, enhance new usage rights and consequently promote economic development in those countries. Accessibility to water resources has a lot of impact on the daily life and development of a nation. Largely, the difference between the developed countries and the developing is the problem of accessing water. The rules that govern the water sharing and access are discriminating as the Western people in Asia formed them. Water laws are critical to every nation willing to advance economically. Therefore, the Asian countries, such as India, should fight harder to achieve amendments to the legislation to ensure water justice.

The challenges surrounding water allocation are understood as a cause of capitalist transformation that is due to globalization and neocolonialism. The most developed economies have high access and the right to usage of water. Since these nations help the developing countries regarding technology and financing their projects, they have greater input in the resource allocation. India is a big country, but most part face water challenges due to inadequate laws governing the supply. Parts of India that face much water shortage include Odisha and Maharashtra. The residents sufficiently lack water to carry out essential cores. The Indian government, therefore, should initiate discussions with the other governments and the international bodies to facilitate changing of the water laws. In so doing, the citizens and the industries will have enough water for their use. The neo-liberalist economic logic for resource allocation is a significant threat to the development of the Asian countries.

Water Challenges in Asia

Asia is a home to more than 2.5 billion people. The population calls for more water allocation for both domestic and industrial use. Most of the cities in this continent experiences water challenges, and thus water rationing is common to the occupants. Research conducted in India found that twenty-two out of the thirty-two cities in the country face water shortages. As such, water for domestic use and recreation exercises is insufficient. The report further explained that most people spend much time in the waiting queues to have some water. In other places, water that is available is sold at high prices and thus creating a gap between the wealthy and the have-nots. The economically stable people purchase water at high prices, and thus the poor residents cannot afford. Due to the situation, the economically challenged citizens end up protesting in the streets for the government to intervene and facilitate water availability to all.

High demand for a commodity results in price hiking. Everyone needs water for use. According to research conducted by a non-governmental organization in collaboration with the United Nations, an adult citizen requires about fifteen liters of water in a day. However, ten liters can as well sustain a person. Nevertheless, the water distribution in the Asian countries is a serious concern since the finding of the research indicated that on average, a person could only get less than five liters in a day with equality in water allocation. Due to water injustice in the countries, only a few people have access to enough water while the rest are suffering. The demand for water and its shortage is a challenge to development. The prices for acquiring water are continually rising and creating a gap between the poor and the rich. Since the economically stable people can afford to buy the resource even at high prices, it brings about inflation.

Causes of Water Problems in Asia

The causes behind the water challenges are numerous. Of most important is the water injustice that prevails in the continent. The colonizers created the laws that govern the water allocation and access and thus they favor them. Most of the countries do not have enough water to sustain their population and for the industrialization and farming purposes. The water allocation and right to access water bodies should be reviewed to ensure equity in the distribution. The western nations have dominated the water resources for a long time and thus hindering the development of the Asian countries. Failure to look at the challenges, there will be much hostility between the countries with the rights to access and utilize water and those that do not have the rights.

Another cause for the problem facing water accessibility and usage is poor management. Most of the governments in Asia do not have the proper measures put in place to ensure water security for their citizens. Some of the ways to facilitate water supply security are by having large storage facilities. It is important to devise ways of storing water during the rainy season and keeping it safe for use during the dry season of the year. The government should educate their citizens on water management ways so that they can know how best to use the little available water and avoid wastage. Using the available water in the right ways without wastage is an important progress in solving the water problem. If only there is proper management of the water and conservation of the sources, there would be little or no problem at all.

Industrial development is another issue that affects the water supply and accessibility. With the increased development of factories, there is continued pollution. Emission of the industrial gases such as carbon dioxide affects the weather conditions of the nation. Industries contribute much to the contamination of the available water. Manufacturing industries have no proper channels of disposes of their waste. As such, the waste is disposed of in the open environment, where the water passes. As the water flows, it sweeps the waste materials, becomes contaminated and thus making it unsafe for use. Such practices should be discouraged, and the government should take action on the factories that engage in such practices. This will save the water sources and thus much water to use for the citizens.

Human activities are another cause for water challenges. Cutting down of trees and farming of livestock leads to water shortage. Tree attracts rainfall, and thus protecting them is of much importance. Deforestation makes a land to experience less rainfall and thus less water available for use. The Asian governments have a responsibility to preserve the rain catching areas by discouraging deforestation. Rearing of livestock in large numbers creates water shortages, as the livestock require a lot of water. According to research conducted by the UN, there is about 15 billion livestock as compared to the 7 billion people in the world. Livestock rearing should be limited to a certain amount to reduce water usage.

Effects of Water Shortage

The Battle for Water

The international relations and the political competition over resources have resulted into the power struggle. Many nations struggle to control the water sources, such as dams and rivers. The western countries have acquired the highest power due to their economic status. As such, the Asian nations are left with little water sources which are insufficient to serve their large populations. The United Nation has intervened in many cases to ensure peace by calling for equitable distribution of resources. Every nation recognizes water as a valuable resource that could trigger a war between the nations.

Water is a natural resource, but is incomparable to other resources. Natural resources, such as coal energy and oil, can be replaced by electric power from steam or internal combustion engines. However, there are no a natural resources that can be used instead of water. Therefore, all nations struggle to have access and right to use the natural water resources. When the western countries invaded other parts of the world for colonization, they facilitated the unjust water allocation. Now that the all the countries are independent, they are fighting to have the rights of usage. The condition accelerates hostility and at times the occurrence of war. Many countries import fuels, mineral ores, fish, timber and other resources available on other parts of the world but no country imports water. Water has a high density than oil and thus makes it hard to transport it using water or airways. The nations, thus, fight for the right to use the water within their reach such as natural dams and rivers flowing through their territories. The world has witnessed great wars such as Fukushima catastrophe in 2011, which revolves around the problem of water allocations.

Nations in the world establish relationships by making agreements on matters, such as trade and movement, but there are no treaties on the issues of water. People can move their goods from one country to another. The circulation and settlement of people do not have many barriers as there are in the water allocation and utilization. These shows how important water as a natural resource is. Many countries treat water as a matter that concerns the national security. Therefore, the data on water allocation and climate data are processed as confidential and cannot be disclosed to other nations. For instance, the Asian government like India and Pakistan treat the hydrological data as a secret and highly classified. Even at places, where there exist treaties of data sharing, the nations do not disclose their data for water.

The closed data systems for climate conditions and water information in the word compromise the government’s ability to make informed decisions. The government is not able to plan, as it cannot access detailed data. For this reason, the climatic conditions such as floods, landslides, and earthquakes cannot be avoided. Data sharing helps in the planning, management, and execution of ideas that assist in making the world a safe place for all. Therefore, keeping the data as private entity hinders the planning and improvement of situations affecting the nations. The Asia Foundation published a report meant for enhancing the access and sharing of data or information on the rivers that cut along the boundaries. The report calls for the access of information on the rivers passing through Bangladesh, Nepal, and India.

Government Intervention to Solve the Water Problem

The governments of the Asian nations have tried to put up measures to curb the situation, but the problem is not yet in control. Some of the measure that the governments have tried to do is to find an alternative measure to provide water. The alternative measures include digging of boreholes. The process costs the government a lot of money, and thus only a few wells are available. Another method used to enhance water security is educating the citizens on the water conservation measures. Conservation techniques include recycling of water. Water can be used in performing two or more purposes. By conserving the water, people can utilize the available water in a better way, and it will last for a long time.

Water collection and storage is another approach applied by the government to solve the problem of water shortage. Collecting and storing water is important as it promotes water security. Everyone should have water-storing tanks or well covered underground storage to collect and store the rainwater. The process enhances the collection of water during the rainy season and using it during the dry spell. However, most of the Asian nation experiences low rainfall, and so there is little to store.

The governments of the Asian countries optimize existing infrastructure to facilitate the water security. The support includes the water production and treatment plants, reservoirs and the water network for transmission. The available capacities are utilized efficiently to supply water to more people as the government proceeds with its mission of making ways that are more helpful. The management of the facilities should ensure that they run in a way that there will be efficient utilization for the problem solving. Once the available services are efficiently utilized, the leaders then plan for the construction of other facilities and preparing for the expected increase in population. For instance, several Asian governments collaborate with international funding organizations to build water plants and connecting water to more households.

Another method used to solve the water problem is setting up measures to ensure affordability. It is the responsibility of the government to establish rules and regulations and govern the allocation. Some of the government doings are reducing the taxation. Even if the water belongs to the government, the suppliers are both private and public organizations. Therefore, to ensure that every citizen has access to water at affordable prices, the government may either scrap the tariffs or even subsidize the process of water connection. The initiatives facilitate water availability to all at affordable prices.

Creation of local customer service is another method used by to facilitate the water availability. The residents collaborate with the elected leaders to call for customer-oriented services in their localities. The process makes the water providing organizations to offer the best services to their clients. The services include the availability of water, which is safe for the intended service. The collaboration, therefore, keeps the water provider on the track to offer excellent services.

Conclusion

The interaction of the western world with the Asian nations had both the positive and adverse effects. The problems that arose since the beginning of interaction are still evident up to date. One of the problems is the water sharing injustice. The western nations awarded themselves the right to water use preventing other countries including those in Asia. As a result, of water injustice regulations, based water access rules, poor water management, and the changing climate, the world and especially the developing countries face the challenge of water allocation. Even if water is a natural resource, the sources are not evenly distributed. The water injustice creates hostility among the nation and in some instances war arises. Water is a security entity, which is essential to any society. The data concerning water sources and sharing remains confidential to the governments.

Organizations on the human rights have tried much to resolve the water challenge, but up to date, the injustice is not resolved. International bodies such as the UN have a great role to play to ensure that water is shared equally among all nations. Failure to do this, the hatred among nations will result in war. The water injustice is something worthy to solve for the nation to be at peace and harmony among many nations. The government has a role to play to facilitate better ways of utilizing and preserving the available water within their territories. Water is a valuable resource that no creature can live without its access.

Bibliography

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K.J. Joy, Seema Kulkarni, Dik Roth and Margreet Zwarteveen. “Repoliticising water governance: exploring water re-allocations in terms of justice.” Local Environment 19, no. 9 (2014): 954-973.

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