World leaders need to start planning for a world with very little water.
Due to the growing population and increasing demand along with economic development, the current population consumes 6 times more water than our ancestors used 100 years ago.
In addition, climate change is playing a devastating role in the water cycle. This is hampering the weather system and rainfall patterns so that there is sometimes more and sometimes less rainfall and that too when and where it is needed.
Therefore, the theme of this year’s United Nations World Water Day is ‘Valuing Water’. It is about considering the value of water for the integrity of our home, food, culture, health, education, economics and natural environment. This is necessary because there is a huge gap between the immediate need for water for many uses and the resources needed to address it.
This is not due to a lack of capital, efficiency or solutions – all three are sufficiently available. To better understand the multifaceted value of water, it would be better for everyone to preserve this important resource.
In recent years we have seen how water combines the myriad effects of our health and climate crisis. Billions of people on every continent will face a growing water scarcity future. Covid 19 has made the situation worse.
During the epidemic, we all repeatedly requested hand washing – a directive that was difficult for the squatters in Rio, Nairobi, Jakarta and Mumbai, and the 3 billion people deprived of basic hand washing facilities.
In a world without water, food production will stop, cities will stop working, economic activity will stop, and greenery will turn into a desert. The 2020 Global Risks Report, published by the World Economic Forum in January, puts the risk of water scarcity above the risk of infectious diseases or food shortages.
In 2021, we are experiencing all three of these problems together, with Covid 19 increasing global food insecurity in more than 2.7 million lives worldwide and in every household in every country.
The World Bank estimates that an additional १ 1 trillion will need to be invested over the next 10 years to meet the २ 2.2 billion demand for safe drinking water and to utilize 80 percent of the water currently polluting the environment, carrying disease and wasting.The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), an international environmental organization working with the public and private sectors to fight climate change, has invested just १० 10 billion in 2018, compared to १०० 100 billion a year to improve water and manage wastewater worldwide.
This means that २०१ 546 billion in funding from governments, companies and households available to fight climate change in 2018 has attracted 2 percent less water projects. The National Weather Plan, in which countries plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, rarely includes water projects.
First, water projects have been given a prominent place in the national adaptation plans of countries like China, Ghana and Bangladesh. These schemes help communities identify and accept the effects of climate change, such as water scarcity and drought.
Large investors and banks are playing a role in addressing the water crisis by mobilizing the capital market to value water as a financial risk through groups such as the Valuable Water Finance Task Force, and are influencing other companies to do the same.
However, funds for climate adaptation tend to attract only a fraction of climate finance. And that must change.
Second, the fight against Covid 19, which is consuming huge sums of money, is forcing us to think more strategically about where to invest the scarce public resources.
In the post-epidemic world, we need to use the interconnected systems we have learned to build a better future. The GCA said in its State and Trends in Climate Adaptation Report 2020 that climate smart adaptation measures will help the economy recover faster and better from an epidemic by delivering three times more results in the economy, health and weather.
The small truth, for example, is that wetland areas such as the Flow Country in Scotland and the swamps in Southeast Asia can store twice as much carbon as forests, making these areas the most efficient carbon sinks in the world. Investing in natural solutions to restore the environment from wetland can have many benefits, such as controlling carbon emissions, flooding and drought, water purification and conserving biodiversity.
Another opportunity is increasing wastewater management. Unprocessed waste not only carries germs and pollutes the environment, it also creates dangerous greenhouse gases such as methane, which increases global warming.
Modern wastewater management machines use bacteria to break down organic matter. The resulting biogas can be used for cooking, heating and cooling, and for renewable energy. Therefore, investing in wastewater management is good for us, our health, the environment, the economy and the weather.