Water is the elixir of life. It’s one of the most abundantly found things on and around our Earth, yet it is also among the most scarce.
Ironically it is its pattern of distribution that is a cause of great concern. Part of the planet may face being underwater due to floods, and yet another part may be fighting drought and its associated devastation, at the same time.
Probably the biggest problem that the world faces today, is that of water security.
Water first, everything else later
Parts of the world are fighting extreme water scarcity today. The population who face drought conditions are unable to obtain enough water to drink, let alone being able to wash or bathe,
The majority of countries in Africa, several countries in Asia and South America are among the worst hit by water scarcity. For them, water is the primary need of the hour. Everything else, even food, is secondary.
Problem of Abundance
At the same time, several major cities in the world saw devastating floods. Lahore in Pakistan, Bangalore in India and several cities in the US were in the news for a big part of the year because they were submerged under the water.
Governments tried to rescue as many people as possible. They even tried to provide adequate rehabilitation. But given the danger major coastal cities face due to rising sea levels owing to climate change, is it enough?
What must be done?
Providing water security would need sustained efforts from all global stakeholders. COP27 brings together such leaders and institutions that are most capable of helping the world fight.
The world needs to provide water to those at risk of losing their lives because of its scarcity. Most of these people, according to data, live in Africa.
Action for Water Adaptation and Resilience (AWARE) was launched to share knowledge and initiate steps to establish a pan-Africa hub, to help combat water scarcity and its associated consequences.
But more capital is required
Global governments need to encourage people to save water through behavioral changes. These include the use of drip irrigation in agriculture and rainwater harvesting amongst other things. Governments across the world can ask for private players to come up with better innovations that save water.
To save more people from the wrath of floods, early warning systems need to be installed and implemented. These need to be more innovative and accurate than ever before. More research needs to be encouraged into the sector along with greater subsidies and better policies.
What can you do?
All of the above steps would need greater investment, better partnerships and more research. Along with the government, the private sector is also a big stakeholder in water security.
NGOs have the task of educating people on the urgency of the matter and how they can change their behavior to save water.
With better research, there needs to be more innovation that brings about products that can make saving water easy. Products that allow people to adapt to drought may also be advantageous.
A great portion of any new investment needs to go to Africa and Southeast Asia as these are among the worst-hit areas.
Without water, there is no life in the future. Help us in water security, and give this world a chance to even have a tomorrow.