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“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”

– Benjamin Franklin

This month, we have covered some of the cutting-edge water treatment technologies and best practices being applied around the world, while also having a look at some of the most pressing issues concerning the water sector.

It is said that we already have enough water in the world to meet everyone’s needs. The problem is that this water is not distributed equally. This creates problems of water scarcity in many regions and countries.

Around 70% of the world’s freshwater is used by agriculture. Due to ineffective or old irrigation methods, overuse of water is a huge problem in agriculture. Sometimes half of the water used may actually never reach the crops. The technologies like drip-irrigation are already there to solve this issue.

But the willingness to adopt them is still missing.

We can understand the gravity of this situation from a recent study done by NASA scientists which says that the location of freshwater is continuously changing around the world. The NASA researchers used satellites and data on human activities to map locations where freshwater is changing around the globe. They found that several factors are involved in the shifts, including water management practices, climate change, and natural cycles. At least 40% of 34 hotspots studied around the world can be linked to human water management activities, such as excessive groundwater pumping for agriculture. These areas include northern India, the North China Plain and parts of Saudi Arabia. As per UNESCO, more than 40% of the world’s population will be living in areas of severe water stress by 2050. The UNCCD has predicted that as many as 700 million people will be forced to leave their homes by 2030 – due to the shortage of water.

The distribution of drinking water is even more uneven. As per WHO statistics, almost 800 million people in the world have no access to it at all. Since 1990, 2.6 billion people have gained access to an ‘improved’ drinking water source, one that is designed to protect against contamination. But in 2015, 663 million people (one in 10) still drank water from unprotected sources. In the developing countries, around 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation situation.

Our coming generation will need to pay dearly for the lack of drinking water and sanitation facilities if we do not mend our ways now. While we can continue the debates, dialogues and discussions on these issues, following them with a timely action will decide the future of our water.

I am very excited to share the updates of the 2nd edition of our annual event – JAL SABHA 2019, Chennai. This is an exclusive forum for the heads of water supply and sewage departments of Municipal Corporations and Smart City CEOs. This -by invite only- forum provides a unique platform for the audience to come together to debate and discuss issues faced by corporations around water supply and sewage, 24x7 water supply, smart metering, STPs, among others. The event, with a gathering of 50 selective delegates from across India, is in line with our vision to create community-specific events.

– Mayur Sharma
Editor, Smart Water & Waste World Magazine

© Smart Water & Waste World. Send us your editorial contributions at mayur@smartwww.in