What factor do you think contributes the most to the rise and fall of civilizations? Is it war? the economy? Maybe its disease?Well, those are all wrong.The largest contributing factor that has determined which countries are superpowers, and which countries fade into darkness, is the access to Water.And this is something that most people may not think about, as nowadays…you simply turn on a tap, and water comes out. But how it gets to your tap in the first place, is one of the best indicators in determining the success of a country. And in fact, we might be seeing the creation of some water empires, right before our very eyes.

你认为什么因素对文明的兴衰起着最大的作用?是战争还是经济?也许是疾病?这些都是错的。决定哪些国家是超级大国,哪些国家会陷入黑暗的最大因素在于水的获取。这是大多数人可能不会想到的事情,就像现在,你只要打开水龙头,水就出来了。但是,它最初是如何进入你的水龙头的,是决定一个国家成功的最佳指标之一。事实上,就在我们眼前,我们可能会看到一些水资源帝国的建立。

Why are cities located where they are? Some factors that determined where people settled in the past were things like access to trade routes, nearby valuable resources, and the fertility of the land.But by far the biggest factor was the proximity of the city to a freshwater source. That is why today roughly 90% of the worlds population lives within 10 kilometres of a freshwater source. Even if many of those water sources are running dry. But we will get to that in a second.Right now the 18 largest cities in Europe are located on or near a major water source.And this same pattern has been shown throughout most of history.

为什么城市会坐落在它们所在的地方?一些因素决定了人们过去定居的地方,比如贸易路线,附近宝贵的资源,以及土地的肥沃程度。但到目前为止,最大的因素是这座城市靠近淡水水源。这就是为什么今天世界上大约90%的人口生活在淡水资源10公里以内的原因。即使许多水源正在枯竭。我们马上就会讲到。现在欧洲18个最大的城市都位于或靠近一个主要的水源。同样的模式在历史的大部分时间里都有出现。

For example, Uruk was a city located in present day Iraq. In 3500 BC, it was the largest city in the world with 40 000 inhabitants. And for thousands of years, it was an economic and cultural powerhouse of the world. That was until its key water source, the Euphrates river, began to shift. Around 100 AD the river began to flow away from Uruk, and by 700AD, the river had moved so far away… that the once massive city… was completely abandoned. Ironically, the remains of the city, are now located right next to the new Euphrates river, which supplies many cities in modern day Iraq with freshwater.

例如,乌鲁克是现在伊拉克的一个城市。在公元前3500年,它是世界上最大的城市,有4万居民。几千年来,它一直是世界经济和文化的中心。直到它的主要水源幼发拉底河开始改道。公元100年左右,这条河开始改道不流经乌鲁克,到公元700年,这条河已经改道到了很远的地方,以至于这座曾经庞大的城市完全被遗弃了。具有讽刺意味的是,这座城市的遗迹现在就坐落在新的幼发拉底河旁边,而幼发拉底河为现代伊拉克的许多城市提供淡水。