The most important issue of the 21st century: Water

Water which is the main building block of the ecosystem, seems to be our main issue in the 21st century. Water resources rapidly drain away and are polluted because of the reasons like drought, wrong water management, climate change, growing population; the need for water is increasing day by day.

Apart from the main consumption of it, water is used in different fields like agriculture, industry and power plant. For this reason, depleted water sources are becoming a subject that we need to think and talk about more. While the importance of water is increasing, meeting, events, movements, conferences are held all over the world to protect the water and create solutions about the issue.

World Water Week Conference

One of the conferences about the water is World Water Week which is organized by Stockholm International Water Institute. The conference that brings together science, civil society, business world and policymakers every year was held in between 26-31 August this year in Stockholm. The event has been gathering people that have common concerns on water issue for networking, learning from each other and creating a mutual agenda for global water security since 1991. This year’s theme of the conference where every year different theme is discussed was “water, ecosystems and human development”.

During the 5 days alongside the sessions and discussions on the determined theme, subjects like the roles of women in water management, community knowledge creation, citizen science projects, the politics of infrastructure development and investment, and the dam building industry’s positioning around the climate change were talked.

 

70 % of existing water resources are used by agriculture.

There is a direct link between the human development and water. This is especially true for rural communities where access to water is a necessity to undertake subsistence agricultural production and to attain a minimum health standard. Many of the world’s rural poor are incredibly reliant on ecosystems in which they inhabit. About 2.5 billion people depend, directly, on farming as a livelihood worldwide, and are working to provide food for the world.

The agriculture activities use 70 percent of this rapidly disappearing resource. Overutilization of the water and poor water management causedby agriculture, result in depleting groundwater resource and reducing water quality. It leads to damage ecosystem and the effects of this are becoming visible as the world is going through an unprecedented heatwave and drought condition now. Farmers throughout the world are struggling for freshwater sources. Worlds water balance is changing

Water Management and Its Risks

When it comes to water management, lack of empowerment of farmers to make decisions in rural areas of developing countries remains as an issue, especially for women. Changes in climate add new tasks to women’s existing daunting tasks in many regions of the world. Researches and development projects have shown that women empowerment can make women more effective in protecting water resources and ecosystems.

Water risks are not only limited to agriculture but also being felt in the mining and energy sectors.  This summer’s heat waves in France forced four nuclear plants to temporarily shut down when they were unable to withdraw cooling water from unusually warm rivers.[1]Nuclear plant operations in Sweden, Germany, and Finland were curtailed for the same reason.

Global beverage companies also face growing water risks. Consider the case of Nestle, whose water bottling operations in California and Michigan have faced public opposition due to water availability concerns. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, which have faced consumer boycotts in India due to similar concerns.

Küresel içecek şirketleri de su riskleriyle karşı karşıya. Örneğin; Kaliforniya ve Michigan'daki su şişeleme operasyonları olan Nestle, su mevcudiyetiyle ilgili endişeler nedeniyle kamusal muhalefetle karşı karşıya kaldı. Benzer endişeler nedeniyle Hindistan'da tüketici boykotlarıyla karşılaşan Coca-Cola ve PepsiCo’yu da bu örneklere dahil edebiliriz.

 

According to the UN Report, 40% of global water demand in 2030 will not be met from agriculture, mining to energy and entertainment, every business in the world relies on water. As population growth, water pollution, hotter and more volatiled weather events strain the world’s freshwater supplies, companies and investors can no longer ignore the critical water issue. According to the United Nations report, unless companies, investors and governments step up water management and stewardship efforts, 40 % of global water demand will not be met.[2]

One of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is to guarantee the sustainable and flexible agricultural production applications which protect the ecosystem, by 2030. However, this mission is not so easy. More than lie under the base of 17 Global Development Goal water is the main source for the ecosystem. As water resources are not well managed and irresponsibly destroyed, it will continue to affect everything from marginal groups to investors.

 

Sources:

https://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/734/reflections-on-world-water-week-2018-water-ecosystems-and-human-development

https://www.ifad.org/web/latest/story/asset/40756829

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mindylubber/2018/08/29/investors-increasingly-engaged-on-world-water-issues/#5d9f4e5d316a

 

[1]https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/france-nuclear-reactors-shut-down-edf-europe-heat-wave-a8477776.html

[2]https://www.voanews.com/a/un-report-world-faces-40-percent-water-shortfall-by-2030/2690205.html

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