“Water is life”—a slogan that arose from the anti-Dakota Access Pipeline movement is one that resonates not only in the U.S., but around the world as millions still lack access to clean, safe water.
World Water Day on March 22nd gives us an opportunity to reflect on the one simple truth: water is life.
I listened to a Haitian farmer share solutions with neighbouring water users on how best to allocate scarce water resources. I learned about the resolution of inter-village water conflicts after sitting in a longboat for hours on the Ganges Delta in Bangladesh. On the dry floodplains of Ethiopia, I heard how local solutions benefitted women and outperformed ‘imported’ ones.
Water is a finite resource. With a growing population, an expanding global middle class and a rise in energy and industrial production, the demand for water is reaching new levels. According to the OECD, global demand for freshwater will increase by 55 percent between 2000 and 2050. By 2050 it is expected that roughly 6.4 billion people will live in cities, making urban water management an essential building block for resilience and sustainable growth.
During the final exams of Spanish official high school of journalists, a student was asked by the panel of professors-examiners: If scientists discover that there is water in Planet Mars, how would you announce this news, what would be your title? The student did not hesitate a second: “There is life in Mars!” The student was graduated with the highest score.
In Asia, it likely will not be straightforward water wars.
Though key to good health and economic wellbeing, water and sanitation remain less of a development priority in Africa, where high costs and poor policy implementation constrain getting clean water and flush toilets to millions.
As Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries continue to build on the momentum of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and the 22nd
Conference of the Parties (COP22) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakech in 2016, special emphasis is being placed on agriculture as outlined in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
New evidence is deepening scientific fears, advanced few years ago, that the Middle East and North Africa risk becoming uninhabitable in a few decades, as accessible fresh water has fallen by two-thirds over the past 40 years.
Mudasir Ahmad says that two decades ago, his father made a prophecy that the lake would vanish after the fish in its waters started dying. Three years ago, he found dead fish floating on the surface, making him worried about its fate.
The most severe drought in decades, which has struck parts of Ethiopia and is exacerbated by a particularly strong El Niño effect, has led to successive failed harvests and widespread livestock deaths in some areas, and humanitarian needs have tripled since the beginning of 2015, the United Nations warns.
Bina Sharma, a member of the Melli Dhara Gram Panchayat Unit in the southern part of India’s northeastern Himalayan state of Sikkim, is a relieved woman.