Another New River in the Mediterranean Sea
Monday, July 14, 2008
First there was Barcelona, and now Cyprus is also importing water.
Like Spain, Cyprus is suffering from a severe drought that has left its reservoirs at 7.5% full. In fact, according to Reuters, the first shipment of 40,000 cubic meters of drinking water from Greece is “more than double the quantity in all of the Mediterranean island's 17 main reservoirs.”
In this project, described as “unprecedented in its scale,” there will be a total of 5 tankers delivering water over the next 6 months, though we can't help imagine a continuous line of smaller ships of the line plying through the waves of this ancient sea for many years to come, until global warming is reversed or the Cypriots decide to leave en masse, a river encased in metal, with tributaries from other hydrologically well-endowed regions, and meandering just like any other by means of propellers.
One wonders what the geopolitical implications of this new international trade could be? Will these maritime sea lanes be considered as strategically important as the Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Malacca, in which any disruption always poses a threat to national security and are thus constantly patrolled by naval forces and monitored from above by a constellation of spy satellites? Will calls for UN trade embargo be sought against countries threatening these vital routes?
You can live without oil. You can live without high-priced rice while the current food crisis rages on. But you can't live without water.
In any case, we wonder as well what the contours of the geopolitical landscape would be like if Israel were to import water not just from the European side of the Mediterranean but, out of the gravest of gravest necessity, from its Arab neighbors also, for instance, tapping the Tigris or the already overtapped Nile? As inconceivable as this scenario may be, the reality of it is that climate change will reconfigure new artificial river valleys in the most unlikely combination of countries.
Meanwhile, instead of tankers, how about dirigibles retrofitted with solar panels? During the rainy season, they graze along the canopies of the Amazon, soaking up fresh tropical water. Enterprising landscape architects on an eco-tour of the rainforest will record their mesmerizing whirs of rotating blades — the eco-soundtrack of New Nature — and then sell the DVDs on eBay or at a farmer's market.
Come the dry season, they migrate to Cyprus and Barcelona.
A New River in the Mediterranean Sea