Daily Management Review

Quick Corrective measures are needed to avoid the worldwide water shortage


As per the report tabled by Mr. Richard Connor, the lead author of the World Water Development which was submitted to the UN on World Water Day, unless corrective measures are taken by governments worldwide, the picture that is painted by the media, is likely to come true.

However, instead of focusing on matters which are better suited for movie studios, the need of the hour is the adoption of quick corrective measures by governments, which bring in measures for smarter, better, more sustainable water consumption patterns all over the world.

The United Nation’s report on World Water Development was released on the 20th Of March 2015. Coincidentally this date is celebrated as World Water Day. The report spells out a number of significant findings which are a pointer to the irresponsible usage of water by corporations and nations which need a series of urgent course corrections.
The lead author of the said report, Richard Connor, clarified that despite the media hype which focused on a “doom and gloom” scenario based on his findings, the report is not all negative.
What the report does say is that given the trend and pattern of our usage of water, by 2050 it is probable that there will be a 40% shortage of water, because the demand for it is forecasted to rise by 55%, thanks to increased industrial demands.
Given the quantum and the present outlook towards our water resources, the report estimates that around 20% of the word’s natural aquifers are over-used and this exploitation is likely to lead to increased regional conflicts over water access rights. It is probable that water related issues are likely to be the leading cause of increased inequalities and is likely to act as a series of hurdles towards sustainable development.
It is true that it can be construed that the report portrays a very grim picture, but Richard Connor, the lead author begs to differ when he spoke to the media at the U.N.’s headquarters in New York.
“Most of the media attention has focused on one message, a bit of a doom and gloom message, that there is a looming global water crisis. The report is not a gloom doom report. It has a road map to avoid this global water deficit,” he clarified.
As per Mr. Connor the gloom and doom scenario that the media has focused upon will only happen “[If] we don’t change how we do things …”. If we continue to over exploit our natural resources, if we do not consciously take steps to stem our excessive utilization of water, if we do not follow sustainable methodologies, then and only then it is very likely that the scenario depicted in the report will kick in.
Thus the content of the report is not negative. It only provides a ‘what if’ scenario based on our current consumption patterns. In fact the report is positive and forward looking for it focusses on aspects of frameworks which institutional and governments can frame so as to promote, protect and provide water security for itself and the citizens of this planet.
“The fact is there is enough water available to meet the world’s growing needs, but not without dramatically changing the way water is used, managed and shared. The global water crisis is one of governance, much more than of resource availability, and this is where the bulk of the action is required in order to achieve a water secure world,” states the report.
What is needed to side step this dooms day scenario, are investments in better technologies that improve the recycling and sanitation of water. Smart and efficient use of water is a major pathway and a means to ensure water security and sustainability. It is critical to ensure that water is used and re-used in a smart, efficient and sustainable way.
Given the fact that we are the creators of the problems that we face today. Given the fact that we are the ones who have brought about the pains of climate change that the world is facing today, the report spells out possible solutions to these problems in the form of developing more effective storage facilities for water, re-using waste water and rainwater harvesting.
It is very important that Governments finance water projects in a sustainable manner so as to provide water security for citizens. For as Connor clarified, “The benefits of investments in water greatly outweigh the costs.”
Speaking at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Ms Bianca Jimenez, who is UNESCO’s director of hydrology called Mr. Richard Connor’s report “positive,” but went on to emphasize the fact that quick corrective measures are needed so as to avoid horrific consequences of worldwide water shortages.
“This calls for greater determination from all stakeholders involved, to take responsibility and take initiative in this crucial moment,” said Jimenez.