During the past few decades, wars have been fought and a heavy price paid in human, material and financial resources for the rich countries to gain control of the remaining oil and natural gas resources in the world.
Most independent political analysts believe this was the secret agenda behind the war the United States launched in Afghanistan and Iraq where hundreds of thousands of people were killed or injured and billions of dollars wasted on the basis that the US wanted to wipe out terrorism.
But after the US troops left Iraq, the death toll from sectarian violence among rival Islamic groups is more than during the war and the people of Iraq continue to suffer. For the US, the victory is that its trans-national corporations have been able to take control of huge untapped oilfields in Iraq and they will make billions of dollars in the months and years to come.
World political analysts believe that within the next decade there may be similar wars by the rich countries to take control of the remaining clean and fresh-water resources and Sri Lanka might be one of the main targets here.
This one-time paradise isle has been blessed with five major rivers, canals, lakes and plenty of rain. Rich and middle-class people living in cities and suburbs often take water for granted and many of them use or waste it unaware that even in some parts of Sri Lanka and in conflict areas such as Syria, people walk more than a kilometre to get a bucket of fresh water for their basic needs.
Aware of the desert experience or the catastrophe that lies ahead, Israel—whatever its political agendas may be, has worked out effective systems to ensure it will have clean water even if the rich countries go to war for fresh water resources.
So much so that as our giant neighbour India searches for ways to provide cleaner water to the nation’s 1.2 billion people, it is increasingly turning to Israel, which has solved many of the same problems that India is now experiencing.
About three months ago, a delegation of 16 Indian engineers went to Israel. They visited waste-water treatment plants, met some leading environmentalists and agronomists and saw the latest technology that keeps the desert country green.
Israel has been a global leader in the fields of drip irrigation and desalination, two ventures for which it has contributed ground-breaking technology. This technology helped the country of eight million pull itself out of a severe water crisis in the early 2000s.
In 2011, India and Israel signed an agreement to foster cooperation on urban water systems. This came after more than a decade of joint research, development and shared investment in the countries’ respective water technologies.
Israeli officials and green technology specialists saw the recent visit as a preview to the influx of Indian officials they expect in October for the country’s annual conference on water technology and environmental control.
Though India and Israel have been cooperating in hi-tech management of drinking water and waste water for about 25 years, implementation has been difficult because of the huge difference in size.
But Sri Lanka, being only a little bigger than Israel, could implement the hi-tech process where there are two or three pipelines in every home for drinking water and recycled water while different systems are in place for the provision of water for industry and agriculture. It would be good for Sri Lanka to act now to save our clean drinking water before we drown in crisis.