Not all water shortages are due to DOR. We must always keep in mind that land-use policies are also a problem and there is little point in preserving the atmosphere if the land is to be devastated by ignorant uncaring humanity. In much of Africa, extensive over-grazing by cattle-raising tribes is the most important cause of expanding deserts. This group of well-meaning but ecologically uneducated meddlers is trying to help the cattle-raising savages to produce even more of their damned hoofed locusts to turn even more of Africa into a desert and drive away the remaining wildlife from even more of the few remaining water holes.
Below is a letter I wrote to one of these ignoramuses I had encountered:
Veterinaires Sans Frontieres A Menace to the Environment
After my conversation with you today, I read the Activity Report you gave me, and found it to be, as I had expected, totally anthropocentric in outlook. I am afraid it confirmed rather than alleviated my concerns about the short-sightedness and lack of ecological sophistication implied by a program that encourages cattle-raising in Africa. The practice of cattle-raising should be discouraged and phased out, not helped to continue to devastate Africa the way it has always done.
I found in your pamphlet no trace of concern for native species of animal life. No mention of any efforts being made to lessen the impact of cattle herds on wildlife population. No mention of any measures being undertaken to protect access to water sources for wildlife. No mention of restricting the numbers of cattle in an area to what the land can support. No mention of any concern that wild animals might be kept away from their only sources of water by herders who want to monopolize all available water for their cattle.
It seems not to have dawned upon the people in your organization that there is something much more important in Africa than humans and their cattle. There is a whole ecosystem there. An ecosystem that is the most diverse and biologically rich on earth. The same ecosystem, in fact, that created the human species among so many others. And unless the inherently highly destructive practice of raising cattle is reined in, it will not last another human generation. That would be a tragedy far greater than the mere economic displacement of a few cattle herders who would be far better served in any case by a program to re-train them for some other occupation that would be both better suited for their prosperity in the modern world and less destructive to the vital ecosystems of Africa.
You seemed in our short conversation to be unaware of the vast body of scientific and anthropological literature on the topic of biocentrism and the concept of Deep Ecology. That is not really surprising since most of the general public is unaware of those fields. But in the case of an activist who is working to promote programs you obviously believe and intend to be beneficial, it is dangerous in the extreme. I urge you to read up on the subject of Deep Ecology. You can find several books on it if you search the internet using search terms like "Deep Ecology", "biocentrism", and "restoration ecology".
I suggest reading Waste of the West, by Lynn Jacobs. It give a lot of scientific detail on the destructivness of cattle grazing to natural ecosystems.
If you really want to do something to help the humans of Africa, the most important thing you could do for them would be to promote birth control. Africa is drasticly over-populated and that is at the roots of all the other problems. Unless something is done to reduce the population, nothing else will help.
I urge you to re-think the long-term goals of your organization in light of the needs of all species, not just humans and their cattle. And please call this to the attention of your co-workers. If you have any further questions or comments, please let me know.