I recently watched an earth now film called Water Wars that highlighted the world water crisis with a particular focus on Bangladesh, India & even a little bit about New Orleans. Narrated by Martin Sheen, this documentary highlights the problems of alternate flooding and drought in Bangladesh and how India is looking to divert a main river, called the Brahmaputra River, which gives 60% of the people of Bangladesh drinking water, so that it ends up missing the country entirely. Should they put up the dams they propose, the river will instead run through India and be used to create power, so that they can sell it to the surrounding countries. The problems in Bangladesh with drinking water are already forcing people to dig deeper wells which are often contaminated by arsenic, which is increasing the rates of blindness as well as poisoning the food that the water irrigates.
The movie also indicated that there was a worry that China may move to divert the waterway with their own dam. After a little bit of internet digging I did find that they have announced construction on a dam that should be completed in 2015. It doesn’t sound like it will divert the waterway, but I’ve included some news links at the bottom of the page in case you want to read more.
The people in movie worry that if dams that divert this waterway go ahead it could create the potential of great conflict, some in the film thinking it could lead to the next world war. Yet another great topic for discussion and research, and I couldn’t help but want to pass it on. It also makes you think about how much people who have acess to water often take this life giving liquid for granted, when other places in the world it would make all the difference. Here’s the trailer:
Articles about China and India’s dam building: