International World Water Day is held every year on 22 March to focus global attention on the importance of water and advocating for the sustainable management of our water resources.
An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio, Brazil. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day, and it has been held annually since then. Each year, a specific aspect of water is highlighted. See Appendix 1 for more information about the themes of previous World Water Days. )http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/)
Concord, Massachusetts, has become the first U.S. city to ban the sale of bottled water, residents voted last Wednesday. We’ve previously discussed municipalities banning the bottle at city buildings or offices, but this ban transcends just a building. Concord residents have voted to ban the bottle city-wide in an effort to promote sustainability.
Many issues were raised both for the ban and against it. Here is a brief rundown of the points Concord residents made during the debate.
Pro: The ban is a symbolic and environmentally positive article that has a chance to make an impact at the state level and could grab attention on a national or world level if passed. Some studies reveal that PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottled water contain harmful carcinogens. The ban will reduce Concord’s overall consumption of plastics. The ban would help support world-wide water shortage and corporate monopolies on water sales. The ban would increase the use of free tap water. The ban could lead to more water fountains in town. Despite the ban, people will still support Crosby’s Market.
Con: The ban takes away a personal freedom and could cause future incursions on other civil liberties. The ban could spur residents to buy less-healthy products instead of water. The ban could turn the public away from other environmental issues if they disagree. The ban could be seen as a form of prohibition – what products are next? The ban has no practical benefits for individual citizens. Article 32 contained no cost analysis. Some prefer the taste of single-serving bottled water. In an emergency, It would take several days to supply Concord with single-serving bottled water if needed. The water itself causes no harm. (April 30,2012. http://www.banthebottle.net/news/concord-massachusetts-becomes-first-u-s-city-to-ban-the-sale-of-bottled-water/)
Key facts and figures
During the second half of the 20th century, world population had a twofold increase, agriculture doubled food production and developing countries increased per capita food consumption by 30 percent.
70% of the blue water withdrawals at global level go to irrigation. Irrigated agriculture represents 20% of the total cultivated land but contributes 40% of the total food produced worldwide.
Agriculture uses 85% to 95% of all water in many developing countries.
FAO estimates that irrigated land in developing countries will increase by 27% between 1996 and 2030, but the amount of water used by agriculture will only increase by 12 percent, thanks to improved irrigation efficiency.
There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050. This means that 70% more food will be needed, up to 100% in developing countries.
Statistics say that each of us drinks from 2 to 4 litres of water every day, however most of the water we ‘drink’ is embedded in the food we eat.
It takes about 1500 liters of water to produce 1 kg of wheat, but it takes 10
times more to produce 1kg of beef!
Roughly 30% of the food produced worldwide – about 1.3 billion tons - is lost or wasted every year.
Diets with excessive food intake are also a source of waste and a cause of growing heath costs.
By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions. (http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/)
Growing demand, limited resources
Limited water resources are already a constraint to development in large parts of the world, such as the Near East and North Africa. As development and population growth continue, this problem is increasing – as are tensions between water users. Agriculture usually faces strong competition from the municipal and industrial sectors, which are able to pay more for water. Government agricultural policy must address water allocation because of its implications for the economy and food security.
Different regions have very different water problems. Sub-Saharan Africa extracts less than 2 percent of available water for all uses and needs to make significant investments in irrigation so farmers can increase their productivity. The Near East and North Africa uses a demanding 59.7 percent of available water, and some countries are already exploiting water resources fully. In Asia, where 14 water is abundant, 14.2 percent of available water resources are used. In fact, land scarcity is often more of an issue than water in Southeast Asia. (http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/)