World Water Day 2012

March 22, 2012, 11:17 a.m.

World Water Day 2012

Today marks World Water Day 2012, a day created by the United Nations that is meant to focus on the importance of sustaining freshwater sources.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the world will have to produce up to 70 percent more food to feed the 9 billion people expected to inhabit Earth by 2050.  It said this will ultimately require better water management.

Water consumption by agriculture is expected to jump 19 percent by 2050, but the U.N. World Water Development Report warns that the figure could be even higher if crop yields and production efficiency do not improve.

The FAO said water scarcity affects over 40 percent of people on Earth, and two-thirds could be living under water-stressed conditions by 2025.

Some ways people may be able to help conserve water on World Water Day is by drinking water from the tap instead of buying it in a bottle.  According to Whole Living magazine, it takes three liters of water to make every one-liter bottle of water, not including the water put in to drink.

The magazine also said that it takes 2,900 gallons of water to make a single pair of blue jeans.  Also, if a family saved 9 to 11 flushes on their toilet, it could save 45 to 55 gallons of water a day.

According to Whole Living, nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will experience water shortages by 2025, and some residents in California already are having to truck in bottled water to bathe their kids.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in 2008 that the average family may use up to 400 gallons of water every day in America.

World Water Day 2012 comes at a time when certain areas in the U.S. have seen the affects of life without water.

Texas A&M University agricultural economist Travis Miller said Texas’ 2011 drought was the most expensive drought ever suffered by any state.  The University’s AgriLife Extension Service said Texas lost about $7.62 billion due to the 2011 drought.

Miller said that millions of acres of Texas crops never even got off the ground last year.

Source: redOrbit (http://s.tt/17W2o)

 

World Water Day 2012

Today marks World Water Day 2012, a day created by the United Nations that is meant to focus on the importance of sustaining freshwater sources.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the world will have to produce up to 70 percent more food to feed the 9 billion people expected to inhabit Earth by 2050.  It said this will ultimately require better water management.

Water consumption by agriculture is expected to jump 19 percent by 2050, but the U.N. World Water Development Report warns that the figure could be even higher if crop yields and production efficiency do not improve.

The FAO said water scarcity affects over 40 percent of people on Earth, and two-thirds could be living under water-stressed conditions by 2025.

Some ways people may be able to help conserve water on World Water Day is by drinking water from the tap instead of buying it in a bottle.  According to Whole Living magazine, it takes three liters of water to make every one-liter bottle of water, not including the water put in to drink.

The magazine also said that it takes 2,900 gallons of water to make a single pair of blue jeans.  Also, if a family saved 9 to 11 flushes on their toilet, it could save 45 to 55 gallons of water a day.

According to Whole Living, nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will experience water shortages by 2025, and some residents in California already are having to truck in bottled water to bathe their kids.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in 2008 that the average family may use up to 400 gallons of water every day in America.

World Water Day 2012 comes at a time when certain areas in the U.S. have seen the affects of life without water.

Texas A&M University agricultural economist Travis Miller said Texas’ 2011 drought was the most expensive drought ever suffered by any state.  The University’s AgriLife Extension Service said Texas lost about $7.62 billion due to the 2011 drought.

Miller said that millions of acres of Texas crops never even got off the ground last year.

Source: redOrbit (http://s.tt/17W2o)

The focus of this year’s World Water Day is food security. Just back from the World Water Forum in Marseille, France, and looking ahead toward the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, two of WWF’s water experts reflect on recent successes and remaining challenges.

Lifeng Li is Freshwater Programme Director at WWF International.
Flavia Loures is Senior Programme Officer and specialist on the UN Watercourses Convention.

Q: Why are gatherings like World Water Forum important?
Flavia: The forum and similar meetings offer opportunities to build partnerships across a broad array of stakeholders. It’s a chance for direct dialogue between technical experts and ministers or heads of state. This is especially important to the effort to bring into force the UN Watercourses Convention. It’s much easier to build consensus when people are speaking face to face -- it becomes clear that our dependence on water should unite us, not divide us.
Lifeng: They are also incredible learning opportunities. The science of conservation and the challenges we face are not static. They evolve, and we have to keep sharing the best available experience and expertise to deliver solutions. I think the organizers of this year’s World Water Forum made a wise decision to focus on solutions and commitments. This kept everyone action-oriented, and builds transparency and accountability as we go forward.

Q: What was achieved during World Water Forum 2012?
Flavia: The week started with an offer by France to host the first conference of the parties upon entry into force of the UN Watercourses Convention -- a strong show of support. This was followed by commitments by Luxembourg and Denmark that they will formally announce ratification within the coming weeks. The two new contracting states would bring down to only nine the number of additional ratifications needed for the Convention to come into force.
Lifeng: We heard representatives from China, Mexico and the World Bank express support for environmental flows -- the minimum amount of water needed to maintain the health of lakes and rivers. We also welcomed new standards from the Alliance for Water Stewardship and the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, illustrating an emerging trend toward balancing development and environmental protection. These standards aren’t final or perfect, but they show significant movement in the right direction.

Q: What are some key challenges that remain unresolved?
Lifeng: The World Water Forum is always an exciting week, but what follows is the hard work to carry forward the good discussions and bring pilot projects to scale. In particular, those in the water sector need to expand our spheres of influence to those who don’t see themselves in this arena. These might be policymakers with responsibility for energy, agriculture or health. Single-sector responses aren’t getting the job done -- we need to help people see the connections.
Flavia: We need to shore up efforts to cross the finish line on the UN Watercourses Convention. Once in force, it will strengthen the regulatory framework for the management of freshwater resources, thereby setting the stage for more advanced discussions on the links between energy, water and food security.

Q: Looking ahead to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), what would be some key successful outcomes?
Lifeng: The Ministerial Declaration of the World Water Forum specified three priorities:

  • Accelerate the implementation of human right obligations relating to access to safe drinking water and sanitation for everyone’s well-being and health, in particular for the most vulnerable, and improving wastewater management.
  • Recognize the inter-linkages between water, energy and food security, and ensure full policy coherence and well-functioning water-related ecosystems, with a view to exploiting synergies and avoiding adverse consequences across sectors, as a basis for sustainable growth and job creation.
  • Incorporate water in all its economic, social and environmental dimensions in a framework of governance, financing and cooperation, taking into account the progress achieved toward the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and beyond.

We are in a time with multiple challenges and demands, so it’s essential that all our solutions, policies and practices are consistent and coherent. I would be very happy to see these priorities advanced in Rio.
Flavia: There is a good chance that some of the countries that we have been supporting are ready to announce ratification of the UN Watercourses Convention or their intent to do so by June. To our knowledge, countries including Niger, Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Ireland, UK, Italy, Slovenia, Poland, Honduras and Papua New Guinea are all well advanced in the process. This kind of global momentum could yield significant progress for the convention.

 

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