“AQUATIC RESOURCES” – Βy Vice Admiral (ret) Peter Kavalieros H.N – 15.05.2004

“AQUATIC RESOURCES” Βy Vice Admiral (ret) Peter Kavalieros H.N

Up to recently, environmental nature subjects and more specifically those regarding the availability and management of aquatic resources, were considered of secondary importance and of lower priority compared to subjects of a politico-military, not only in the interior of states, but also in the field of international relations. Today, however, with the consequences of the greenhouse effect phenomenon becoming more and more visible by the day, things have begun to change radically. Typical are the developments with regard to one of the more serious reasons behind this phenomenon, which is no other than the production of energy that according to statistical data currently available has increased by at least 5% annually. The current rate of the increase of energy production, particularly of that emanating from energy resources that are not friendly to the environment such as, carbohydrates, coal, as well as natural gas and are also responsible for the largest portion of the most serious atmospheric pollution, intensifies the greenhouse effect phenomenon and it foreshadows a radical change of the climatic conditions of the entire planet. By the end of the year 2010, the planet’s temperature is expected to have an average rise of at least 1 degree Celsius and 2 degrees by the year 2030, with the worst affected areas those situated in higher geographical latitudes. Under these conditions and according to most valid current scientific data, the average temperature will continue to rise at medium latitudes and even more so at higher ones, such as the Arctic and Antarctic regions, particularly during the winter, accelerating the even as we speak increased melting of the ice-pack. A supposed increase of the average temperature, such as the aforementioned one, could cause other climatic changes like a shift in the annual percentage of rainfall at quite a few regions. A potential increase of the average temperature at high latitudes could significantly increase for its decrease in continental ones. That in turn will cause a shift in the average percentage of humidity in many regions resulting in the barren hypo-tropical zone moving at higher geographical latitudes, causing serious draught problems to many countries, such as the South West part of the United States, Spain, the Near and Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. As a result, it is most likely that the international community is going to face a continuously increasing problem of lacking sufficient water resources, which is bound to get worse by the rapid increase of the planet’s population, the tendency of agriculture to depend more and more on irrigation due to the exhaustion of surface water resources, the rapid reduction of the level of rivers and finally, by the unremitting accumulation of salts on the soil surface. The aforementioned issue is also making its appearance in the Balkan peninsula, as a result of the lack of primary energy sources and insufficient water supplies coupled with an ever increasing demand and last but not least the need for protecting the environment. The relevant as well as obvious interdependence of the Balkan countries in these two areas, namely the use of waters and environmental protection, is often a cause for strife, which covers the whole spectrum of electrical energy production in conjunction with the use of available energy resources. Available data strongly indicates that the potential utilization of aquatic resources. Available data strongly indicates that the potential utilization of aquatic resources is bound to be a major issue of inter-Balkan politics and co-operation during the next decade. A potential crisis with regard to aquatic resources, the availability of which is bound to worsen with time, can have many different types of repercussions. One, it causes the overall standard of living of the societies of t he countries involved to fall and it severely hampers the quality and quantity of rural production due to the insufficient water supplies available for cultivation. Two, it fires political unrest on the intrastate level as well as on the regional level, where the potential for restricting or even interrupting the flow of water and for the establishing of environmental controls can be a effective tool for exercising diplomatic pressure. Third, in most cases, water shortage constitutes a question of vital importance and even survival for most of the states involved, especially those situated in the estuaries, that could spark intense competition, which could likely end up in conflict, as well as mass population movements. It is therefore imperative to take some immediate steps on the intrastate and on the regional level. On the intrastate level : restrictions on the extensive use of existing water supplies, especially in coastal areas; strict control over drillings; effective management of relevant demand and supply; creation of the best possible infrastructure, including the construction of dams, storage tanks etc; and finally the placement of severe environmental controls. On the regional level : effective management of the utilization and environmental protection of existing aquatic resources through the signing of bilateral and multilateral international agreements; states that are members of the European Union should take all steps necessary for the prompt and full implementation of the relevant EU Directive. “

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