Written By: Emma Websdale
The world needs to promote global water conservation, said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, as he warned that in less than two decades half of the global population could be facing water shortages.
Speaking at the opening of a four-day Budapest Water Summit yesterday, Ban Ki Moon cautioned, “By 2030 nearly half the global population could be facing water scarcity. Demand could outstrip supply by 40 per cent.”
Pointing out that agriculture remains the largest consumer of freshwater; the UN Secretary General encouraged farmers to take action by harvesting “more crop per drop” by replacing water intensive crops such as rice with climate resilient crops, while using advanced irrigation technologies.
Ban also stressed how the threats of climate change –flooding and droughts, contribute to water shortages, urging nations to cooperate on tackling the problem.
“We must make sure that water remains a catalyst for cooperation not conflict among communities and countries. That is why we must do everything we can to keep global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”
Ban also described the current state of access to clean drinking water, warning that approximately one-third of all people are consuming water that is hazardous to their health, with an even larger number of people lacking adequate sanitation –the second biggest killer of children.
“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”, said Ban.
He added, “Even when it does not kill, repeated diarrhoea can cause childhood stunting. These children are more vulnerable to disease and their brains do not develop as they should.”
Ban urged businesses to help address the growing problem, saying that governments cannot handle the problem alone.
“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.
For information on how Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation (OTE), its supporters and 300+ investors are helping to provide clean and abundant fresh drinking water to our children please visit our “Answers” page.
Meanwhile, here are ten simple and easy ways to help tackle water poverty by reducing your water consumption.