Project

Water Wars: Ethiopia and Kenya

While Americans fret over rising gas prices and global tension over oil, the world's poor are struggling to secure access to another, even more basic resource. Water scarcity in East Africa is fueling conflict and thwarting development while growing in step with local populations and rising global temperatures.

Though the actions of industrialized nations are primarily responsible for global warming, its effects are being felt most heavily in less developed regions of the world such as East Africa, where climate change can be tied to detrimental environmental issues such as droughts and melting snowcaps.

Colonial era treaties granting rights to water from Nile tributaries to Egypt are leaving Ethiopian farms without access to irrigation. As dry seasons grow longer in the arid plains of Eastern Kenya and Ethiopia, tribal conflict over access to watering holes is on the rise, exacerbated by the proliferation of arms from neighboring Somalia. With clean water access increasingly scarce, the burden of securing a daily water supply has become a daunting task for women and young children who often spend hours a day carrying water for their families from remote locations. Many Western aid organizations have focused their efforts on improving water access, with mixed successes.

Reporting from Ethiopia and Kenya, Seattle-based multimedia journalists Sarah Stuteville, Jessica Partnow and Alex Stonehill from The Common Language Project, Kenyan journalist Ernest Waititu of AfrikaNews.org and project intern and videographer Julia Marino of Ohio University take an in-depth look at East Africans' struggles for water and how the actions of Americans are both alleviating and intensifying the problem.

October 02, 2009|

Foreign Exchange Episode Dedicated to Water Issues

Last November Foreign Exchange aired a special edition, focusing on the nearly 1 billion people around the world who lack access to clean water and sanitation. The host, Daljit Dhaliwal, highlighted Pulitzer Center's work on water issues in east Africa and how those reports were then used to frame an interactive web portal to engage the public, and in particular students and educators, throughout the world.

May 26, 2009|

Diminishing Water Resources Threaten Peace

A dispute over a one-acre island in Lake Victoria that has fueled talk of war between Kenya and Uganda is but one instance of increasing conflict over shrinking water resources throughout Africa.

Such conflicts pit ethnic groups, races and nations against one another and are likely to get worse, fueled by a toxic mix of climate change, environmental ruin, mounting droughts and famine.

March 28, 2009|

Getting Our Minds Into the Gutter

An estimated 35,000 people died last week as the 5th World Water Forum convened in Istanbul, Turkey. If you didn't hear the news, don't be surprised; the 35,000 deaths the week before, and the week before that didn't grab any headlines either.

One of the biggest challenges facing the thousands of delegates at the forum from water and sanitation NGO's is getting the media to take notice of the startling numbers of people dying each day from water borne illness, and the billions around the globe without access to clean water and sanitation.

March 25, 2009|

Kenya Seeks Cheap Power at the Expense of Turkana

Kenya's Lake Turkana, was in the spotlight in the just ended World Water Forum here, when a claim that the country's second largest lake faced the threat of extinction due to plans to dam Ethiopia's River Omo — the lake's main inlet.

Ms Ikal Angelei told the forum that the Government of Kenya had "traded off," the people of Turkana in exchange for hydro-electric power to be supplied from Ethiopia after the damming of the river.

October 01, 2008|

Lesson Plans: Water Wars

With this lesson plan, students explore Pulitzer Center reporting on water shortage and access in East Africa and gain perspective by participating in related activities.

November 17, 2010|

Nerinx Hall Water Haul

Inspired by Pulitzer Center reporting on water, students from Nerinx Hall High School in St. Louis, Missouri take action to publicize global water issues, and offer their own solutions to the crisis. 

April 14, 2010|

Pulitzer Center Reporting Part of Theater Production on Water

A recent theatrical production brought a Pulitzer Center-sponsored article from the pages of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to the stage in New York City as a part of Jane Catherine Shaw's Thirst: Memory of Water. Drawing on sources ranging from Leonardo's Treatise on Water to first person accounts, the show brought together disparate voices to address the practical and spiritual aspects of one of life's essentials—water.

April 09, 2010|

World Water Day Writing Contest Winner: A Drop of Grace

For many of us, it's hard to envision a time when water will not be readily available. From drinking to cleaning, water is a constant and often underappreciated presence in our lives. But for 884 million people clean water is a precious commodity. And if we continue to deplete our clean water sources, it will inevitably affect us all.