World's Water Report
Who Controls the World's Drinkable Water Supply?
2003 is the International Year of Freshwater. Under the auspices of UNESCO, a wide-ranging UN joint effort to compile a global picture of the state of the world’s water has resulted in a document none of us can afford to ignore. The World Water Development Report was officially launched on World Water Day, 22 March 2003, during the 3rd World Water Forum.
To compile the report, every UN agency and commission dealing with water worked together to monitor progress against water-related targets in such fields as health, food, ecosystems, cities, industry, energy, risk management, economic evaluation, resource sharing and governance. The 23 UN partners constitute the World Water Assessment Programme.
Every 5 June since 1972, World Environment Day is marked. The theme chosen this year refers to the 1.1 billion people with no access to improved water supply, and the 2.4 billion people with no access to improved sanitation.
“Of all the social and natural crises we humans face, the water crisis is the one that lies at the heart of our survival and that of our planet Earth,” says UNESCO director-general Koïchiro Matsuura. “No region will be spared from the impact of this crisis which touches every facet of life, from the health of children to the ability of nations to secure food for their citizens,” says Mr Matsuura. “Water supplies are falling while the demand is dramatically growing at an unsustainable rate. Over the next 20 years, the average supply of water world-wide per person is expected to drop by a third.”
Despite widely available evidence of the crisis, political commitment to reverse these trends has been lacking. A string of international conferences over the past 25 years has focused on the great variety of water issues, including ways to provide the basic water supply and sanitation services required in the years to come. Several targets have been set to improve water management but “hardly any”, says the report, “have been met”.
“Attitude and behaviour problems lie at the heart of the crisis,” says the report, “inertia at leadership level, and a world population not fully aware of the scale of the problem means we fail to take the needed timely corrective actions.”
Many countries and territories are already in a state of crisis. The report ranks over 180 countries and territories in terms of the amount available per capita of renewable water resources, ie all the water circulating on the surface, in the soil or deeper underground.
The poorest in terms of water availability is Kuwait (10 cubic metres available per person, per year) followed by The Gaza Strip (52 cubic metres), United Arab Emirates (58 cubic metres), Bahamas (66 cubic metres), Qatar (94 cubic metres), Maldives (103 cubic metres), Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (113 cubic metres), Saudi Arabia (118 cubic metres), Malta (129 cubic metres) and Singapore (149 cubic metres). (Source: UNESCO) .
This article is distributed by the Share International Media Service.
Email this article Sign up for free Progress Report updates via email
For an example of the dangers of water monopoly, read this shocking story
What would be a fair way to ensure water access for all persons? Tell The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?