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Water scarcity by 2030: True for every second person on earth, UN says

Published time: October 08, 2013 20:01
Edited time: October 11, 2013 11:13
Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar

Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar

About a half of the global population could be facing water shortages by 2030 when demand would exceed water supply by 40 percent, says United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Opening the Water Summit in Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday, the UN chief warned against unsustainable use of water resources.

Water is wasted and poorly used by all sectors in all countries. That means all sectors in all countries must cooperate for sustainable solutions. We must use what we have more equitably and wisely,” Ban said, as cited by the UN website.

By 2030 nearly half the global population could be facing water scarcity. Demand could outstrip supply by 40 per cent.”

Governments cannot cope with the problem on their own, without the “full engagement” of all other players, including business, Ban underlined. 

Agriculture remains the largest consumer of freshwater. “There is growing urgency to reconcile its demands with the needs of domestic and industrial uses, especially energy production,” the UN Secretary General said. 

He urged industrial giants as well as small farmers to learn to get “more crop per drop” by using advanced irrigation technologies and focusing on “climate-resilient” rather than water intensive crops (i.e. rice).

Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon takes a glass of water as he makes his opening speech for 'Budapest Water Summit 2013' on the stage of the Millenaris Cultural Center in Budapest on October 8, 2013 during the beginning of the summit. Ban Ki-moon pays a visit to Hungary to open this world conference for clean water. (AFP Photo)

Climate change adds to the risk of water shortages in large parts of the world and that is another challenge that nations should cooperate on.

We must make sure that water remains a catalyst for cooperation not conflict among communities and countries,” Ban stressed. 

Global warming means not only more droughts, but also more floods.

That is why we must do everything we can to keep global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” the UN chief said.

Back in 2000, world leaders adopted Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Among them was to halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

While the MDG target for providing access to improved water sources has been reached, 780 million people lack this basic necessity,” Ban said on Tuesday. “Roughly 80 per cent of global wastewater from human settlements or industrial sources is discharged untreated. Water quality in at least parts of most major river systems still fails to meet basic World Health Organization standards.”

About one-third of people on the planet drink water that is dangerous for health, while even a larger part of population lack adequate sanitation, according to the UN chief.

Some 2.5 billion people lack the dignity and health offered by access to a safe, decent toilet and protection from untreated waste. One billion people practice open defecation.”

Such insanitary practices, common for many developing countries, are considered among the main causes of diarrhea – the second biggest killer of children in the world after pneumonia.

Even when it does not kill, repeated diarrhea can cause childhood stunting. These children are more vulnerable to disease and their brains do not develop as they should,” Ban’s speech at the Budapest Water Summit reads.

In his words, investment in sanitation is a down-payment on a sustainable future, with economists estimating that every dollar spent can bring a five-fold return.

Our societies cannot prosper without clean, plentiful freshwater. People cannot thrive without adequate sanitation.

According to the United Nations, Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of water-stressed countries of any region. 

Comments (21)

 

Marlen V Del Razo 19.11.2013 16:55

Riz 10.10.2013 08:50

Give them (free) the infrastructure to build the pipelines, export for free also. Help without wanting a penny in return, it's not rocket science at all.
Help them develop something to help themselves.

This planet has an abundance of water, it's just the greedy that spoil it for others. Just give to others it's that easy.
Have you not heard of help your neighbor?

  



Let's stop focusing on 'the greedy' and establish a system that enables public services and natural resources to be nationalized. Investigate: Living Income Guaranteed livingincome.me

 

Divided States Of America 10.10.2013 04:55

Water should never be bought or sold. I agree.
If you need to set up and industry, then you need to take water in to account like any other decision you need to make.
@ Richard Miller - You decide by making the right choice in the first place. If you bought your house near a sewer plant, then you cant very well cry about it afterwards.
If there is no water at a location, then dont build there.

 

Richard Miller 09.10.2013 22:40

Riz 09.10.2013 18:32



Water should never be traded or sold for profit.

  


How do you measure demand without pricing?

Also, say country A has excess water. Country B is in need of water due to, lets say, its expanding industry. How do you facilitate the water transfer from country A to country B without an economic incentive?

Without the market directing water to where the demand is highest how do you see it being distributed?

How would you decide who deserves the water?

View all comments (21)
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