Future of Water!

Updated: Jan 19, 2011, 15:54 PM IST

Alexander Rounder

Water is one of the very essential elements on which depends the essence of all lives. Its importance can be seen from the very fact that it is highly regarded as the link between the web of food, energy, climate, economic growth and human security.

Interestingly, water also covers 71 percent of the earth’s surface. But then, as the old adage goes “Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink”, lack of fresh water or water crisis is, today, one of the biggest issues in the world. This woe of water crisis is added by the fact that there is just about 3 percent of fresh water in the world which is usable by us, living beings; the remaining 97 percent is pure sea water which is saline in nature.

This takes us to the question of “What happens of water in the future?”

The Bubble is Close to Bursting, a report by the World Economic Forum warns that water, if not managed in the right way, would affect the world in various ways through the means of agriculture, energy, environment/nature and economy.

According to the reports, while demand for food is expected to grow by about 70-90 percent in 2050, water scarcity would have reduced or affected annual crop production by about 30 percent in 2025, the amount that is consumed by India and US combined annually. This woe will, again, be added by the mere fact that water requirement for energy production in US and EU is expected to grow by way above 100 percent thus affecting the water needed for agricultural production.

On the environmental front, as per report of the WEF, glaciers, regarded as huge water banks of the world, are also expected to disappear in a major way in the next century if they continue to melt at the present rate. According to the WEF report, to supply water for irrigation and reservoirs around the world, nearly 70 major rivers are close to being totally drained.

And at this rate of water disappearing from the surface of our planet, analysts feel that within the next 20-30 years, water would become one of the most sought after commodities and also a reason for war.

Hence, it is important that utmost care is taken to preserve and conserve water and manage it for the future.

Ban Ki-moon, General Secretary of the United Nations, expressing concern over water prior to the World Economic Forum, 2011, said the problem was that “we have not coordinated global management for water in the UN system or the world at large. The World Economic Forum’s effort to develop the economic and geopolitical forecast on water is essential.”

Steps and initiatives are also being taken in various ways by organizations around the world to manage water in the right way. One such is the Forum’s Water Initiative which has been focusing on creating multi-stakeholders in South Africa and India since for the last five years.

Supported by Alcan and Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation, the initiative has been providing ideas for infrastructural projects, develop them into bankable projects to manage water and preserve them.

Besides this, the World Economic Forum is also exploring means of managing water with focus on agriculture water usage and water policy reforms. The WEF is also catalyzing a project wherein experts in industry, government, academics, civil society and farming community will come together to explore and study the various means to manage and preserve water. While issues will be raise, regional and national governments will also be assisted in identifying opportunities and be facilitated with ways to work policies for water management.

And while steps are being taken across the globe by various governmental and non-governmental organizations to find ways and means to preserve and manage water, it is also important for each and every individual to find a ways to manage water in a proper way. No doubt, water crisis is one of the main issues face by the world today and is also one of the main topics to be taken up by the World Economic Forum during their January meet. But keeping that aside, we can perhaps, in our own little ways, help to manage and conserve water for the future.