April 20, 2017

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Feeling that they had made an enormous contribution to creating a prosperous and successful Australia, they now felt humiliated by Australia’s response to their plight. 48 Alston and Kent wrote their report in 2003, but the drought was to persist. 49 The impact on individuals varies as well, of course, depending on their level of existence before the drought and factors such as age, gender and support network. These problems, tellingly, have been compounded by what one of the groups of researchers identifies as ‘structural adjustment, the loss of services and an economic rationalist focus on service and infrastructure support’.

In Algeria, however, it is quite clear that a strong, functioning, participatory state could go a long way to improving the country’s resilience in the event of drought, not to mention its water supply under normal, admittedly generally arid, conditions. Here the problems seem less to do with nature, even with climate change, than they are rooted in bureaucracy, incompetence, a failure to keep pace with demographic growth and, increasingly, the prioritisation of those sectors of the economy favoured by foreign capital and IFIs.

In wealthy countries, as Constance Hunt explains, generally the approach has been ‘to set technology-based treatment standards that specified the treatment levels required before an effluent could legally be discharged into a waterway’. More recently, standards have been aimed at protecting specific bodies of water ‘and must take into account the cumulative effect of multiple pollution sources, the sensitivity of local aquatic species, and regional hydrological conditions. ’33 In addition, developing countries are interested in attracting the very companies which are looking to move production from the north precisely because of such standards.

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