Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Water: More Precious Than Oil

There are approximately 700 million people in the world who experience water scarcity. This number will probably increase to more than 3 billion by 2025. Because the world’s lakes and rivers are shared between the world’s nations, an integrated cross-border management of this vital resource is crucial, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in a message marking World Water Day.

“The state of the world’s waters remains fragile, and the need for an integrated and sustainable approach to water resource management is as pressing as ever. Available supplies are under great duress as a result of high population growth, unsustainable consumption patterns, poor management practices, pollution, inadequate investment in infrastructure and low efficiency in water-use,” he noted.

“Yet even more water will be needed in the future: to grow food, to provide clean drinking water and sanitation services, to operate industries and to support expanding cities. The water-supply-demand gap is likely to grow wider still, threatening economic and social development and environmental sustainability.”

Diseases such as cholera, typhoid, malaria and dengue could rise due to climate change, which makes availability of freshwater less predictable because of more frequent flooding and droughts.

“For every child that dies, countless others suffer from poor health, diminished productivity, and missed opportunities for education. Much of this illness and death could be prevented using knowledge that has existed for many years,” said UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.

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