The water mini theme roundup.
Water was the topic of our first ÛÏmini themeÛ in March, a new little feature meant to complement our larger quarterly themes. This month we introduce a new feature, a blog called ÛÏIn the Journals,Û to highlight recent reports and articles that address subjects related to our mini themes. March was chosen for water namely because March 22 was World Water Day, an event organized by the United Nations (UN).
Water Shortfall: The Associated Press carried news on the UN World Water Development Report warning about a 40 percent water shortfall by 2030. This is a problem of too many people, a finite resource, and the need for better management. As the world population grows to an expected 9 billion by 2050, more groundwater will be needed for things like drinking, along with farming and industry. But many underground water reserves are already running low, and climate change may be altering the historic patterns of rain that many rely on.
Water for Women: In more encouraging news, a Water for Women report released in conjunction with World Water Day says global productivity would improve if more of the world’s poor had better access to water. A case in point: Women in Asia and Africa, on average, walk 3.7 miles per day to get water for their families, as noted by Forbes. The time that women and girls use to collect water ÛÒ about 200 million hours per day ÛÒ could be better spent on things like education. School enrollment for girls improves by 15 percent when clean water and working toilets are nearby and accessible.
Heroes: World Water Day also brought out stories of people like Ross Thurston, a Canadian chemist in Calgary, Alberta. Thurston’s Livestock Water Recycling system recycles clean water from livestock manure. It’s the only such system on the market that can recapture water with zero waste, according to The Royal Canadian Geographic Society.
Thurston recently won the 3M Environmental Innovation Award for his invention. Water from manure is important, if perhaps a little nasty sounding, because agriculture accounts for 70 percent of the world’s water consumption. Being able to use water sustainably and keep it clean is becoming more important every day.
Going Social: But science and technology alone won’t solve the Earth’s water woes. In March, Rajendra SinghåÊofåÊIndiaåÊwas named the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for his life’s work: ÛÏbuilding social capacity to solve local water problems through participatory action, empowerment of women, linking indigenous know-how with modern scientific and technical approaches.”
Singh’s methods are modern twists on old Indian ways of collecting and storing rainwater. They call him ÛÏthe water man of India.Û