March 22 is World Water Day, and its theme this year—water and food security—couldn’t be more pressing. But what do we really know about water—where it goes, what it’s used for, and how to preserve it?
World Water Day Archives - Page 2 of 2 - State of the Planet
Over the past decade, average global food prices have more than doubled, with 2008 and 2010 seeing excruciating price spikes that each had far-reaching economic, geopolitical and social consequences.
The global population, now 7 billion, is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 and will require 70 percent more food than we are producing today, and much more water for agriculture, drinking and industry. Will we have enough water to meet the demand?
Rice is the world’s third-largest crop after wheat and corn; by some estimates it accounts for fully one-fifth of the total calories consumed by the human race. Given these facts, it’s not surprising that countries that have historically struggled with devastating famine would do whatever it takes to ensure strong production of the grain, even if it meant promoting growing practices that would ultimately prove unsustainable.
In order to maintain the status quo, let alone to grow, cities like Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang and Zhengzhou need more water. But the South-North Water Transfer Project–which when completed will transfer 174 times more water per year than the city of Los Angeles receives from various diversions of the Colorado River– is putting in place a fundamentally unsustainable growth trajectory that could undermine the stability so vigorously sought by the leaders of the nation.
Recently deciding to end the sale of bottled water on its campus, the University of Vermont joins a growing group colleges and universities attempting make more environmentally friendly decisions. Although largely student driven movements, these changes are not always met by acceptance and praise by everyone in the community.
It seems that this year the world is experiencing a crisis of both too little water and too much. And while these crises often occur simultaneously in different regions, they also happen in the same places as short, fierce bursts of rain punctuate long dry spells.
Debates about the human right to water, and the role of the state or private companies in ensuring access, illustrate that water provision is anything but apolitical.
Guest Post By Colin Sabol, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for ITT’s Fluid and Motion Control division
Today, World Water Day, is a day designed to draw attention to the state of one of the world’s most precious resources. This is a global issue with many regional and local implications. Here in America, drinking water is under threat from many forces, but none so consistently overlooked as aging, deteriorating infrastructure.