Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Perfect Storm In Pakistan

Recent heavy flooding in Pakistan was intensified, or even created, by upstream timber poaching that denuded slopes. The sediment will raise the river bottoms, leading to more flooding. The money from the timber poaching will be used to buy government officials, quite literally buying bad government.

Our ability to assist the Pakistanis in this matter will be limited, not least by the resemblance of their system to ours. We have a few more bells and whistles, but basically business goes on as usual, with drearily predictable flooding and sedimentation following each rain event. Aid agencies that do not understand the basics of conservancy will be unable to demand the changes or improvements that are needed.

*Fortunately*, the increasing tempo of world development will reveal the needs in short order, as recently happened in Pakistan. Unfortunately, we have a lot less time than we thought.

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