Typical water stresses and what humanity is doing about it?
Previous blogs posts have been around the issues of freshwater stresses. We know freshwater stress poses serious threats to human lives, livelihoods, business, economic and population stability.
We’re already witnessing some of these impacts play out around the world. Most of the Middle East and North Africa are suffering water stresses. Also, India, USA and Australia have dramatically lower underground reservoirs of water, mostly because of agricultural activities.
In any geography, water stress can be reduced by measures ranging from common sense to cutting-edge. Here are some of the steps, we as global citizens, can be a part of:
Treat, reuse and recycle: We need to stop thinking of wastewater as waste. Treating and reusing it creates a “new” water source. There are also useful resources in wastewater that can be harvested to help lower water treatment costs.
Increase agricultural efficiency: As 70% of all freshwater is used in the agricultural sector, it makes sense to look at it for savings to water. Improved irrigation techniques by using precision watering rather than flooding of fields is a great start. This is starting to become common practice in water stressed environments.
Invest in green infrastructure: The World Resource Institute (‘WRI’) and the World Bank’s research shows that well engineered built infrastructure (like pipes and treatment plants) and green infrastructure (like wetlands and healthy watersheds) can work in tandem to tackle issues of both water supply and water quality.
Finance: The finance sector needs to get behind green investments. Financiers can provide capital for water productivity investments and amend the expectations of what is “adequate returns of capital” to reflect that water is a public good necessary to support life.
Consumers: We should all buy less food to reduce waste. Remember, everything that we throw, has consumed water to grow.
There are undeniably worrying trends in freshwater safeguarding. By taking action now and investing in newer solutions and better management based on available data, we can help solve water issues for the good of people, economies and the planet.