Yes, it’s World Water Day this Sunday, which coincides with
the last day of the 5th UN World Water Forum, being held in Istanbul, Turkey,
from 16 to 22 March 2009. I know we seem to have a day for everything now, but
if there is one resource which deserves a day of its own, I think water is it
because at the end of the day, it all trickles down to water! Read on to find
quoted in one of my previous blogs, Roberto Lenton, Chair of the Global Water
Partnership technical committee once said: “There are precious few development issues
that can be talked about without reference to water security, whether it is
poverty, hunger, disease, or the environment. In fact, the world community will
have great difficulty reaching the Millennium Development Goals, if it does not
place water security issues front and centre.” What are these difficulties?
Water covers 72% of the world’s surface. However, 97% is saline water and
the remaining 3% (fresh water) is very unevenly distributed: 10 countries share
60% of supplies while another 29 (in Africa and the Middle
East) suffer serious shortages. Today, nearly one billion people are
without access to drinking water and nearly 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation
systems. We need 20-50 litres of water per person per day for basic household
consumption, but we need at least 3500 litres per person per day for our daily
food needs. Pasquale Steduto, Chair of UN-Water and Johan Kuylenstierna, Chief
Technical Advisor of UN-Water pointed out that we must stop degrading the water
we have and instead we must use it more efficiently, by making sure we squeeze out more
benefits from each drop of water. Although there is enough water to sustain the
needs of the global population now, fortunately unlike fossil fuel water is a
renewable resource, the population continues to increase which will cause an
increase in demand for water. For this reason alone, efficient water resources
management and water quality preservation becomes even more important.
can be certain about one thing related to the future: the pressure on water
resources will continue to increase. This is a real challenge, as water
resources, unlike fossil fuels, are an irreplaceable natural resource for human
survival. Faced with climate change, which will result in dwindling fossil fuel,
the search for alternative sustainable energy sources will continue and the
role of water will become even more evident, since water is fundamental for
cooling purposes, to grow bioenergy crops and for storing and transporting
energy (Steduto and Kuylenstierna, UN-Water).
forgetting that water functions as the link between the climate system and
human society; most natural catastrophes are water related, e.g. floods and
droughts. If we manage water we can, to a large extent, manage climate
variability and thus also be better prepared for climate change. In fact a
report published by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy stated that the time is ripe
to identify the interconnections between the three current crises (water, food
and climate) and develop complementary policy options and action steps.
is the United Nations’ mechanism established to foster cooperation and
coherence within the UN-system in relation to water. Follow this link to find out more about World Water Day and to see the events calendar.
Recognising the increasing importance of water, Cabi has increased its water coverage in 2003. If you do a search for water in the CAB Abstracts database, you will have a choice of over 640 000 records to browse through, including articles from journals, books and conference proceedings.