AGENDA ITEM: Sustaining Water Resources within Legal Boundaries
Water; the topic of the past, present and the future. Sustaining and using water is a pressing matter that is getting recognized increasingly as years pass, especially when global warming is taken into accord. The global water crisis is a matter of too much, too little, and too polluted. We are able to see floods, drougths and dirty waterways all in the same century, at the same time. 768 million people lack access to sufficient water of safe quality for drinking. Around the World, providing water to all those who need it still remains a challenge. Even in countries where access to safe water is given, we are facing an uncertain future. Water resource managers in urban areas are tying to adapt to the increasing water demands as well as increasing unpredictability in water supplies. One of the respondents to this crisis is the World Bank Water Global Practice which launched a new strategic action plan that centers on interrelated pillars.
- Sustaining Water Resources
- Deliver Services
- Build Resilience
SUSTAINING WATER RESOURCES:
Supports clients’ efforts the enhance water security by managing resources more productively and sustainably. Sustaining water means improving resource management at the river basin, country, and transboundary levels. Less than 1% of the water supply on Earth is fresh water which tells us how important it is for us to keep it intact for as long as possible. 69% of our fresh water supply is consumed by the agricultural industry, 21% for municipal use and 10% for industrial use. Adding to this the population around the world is skyrocketing. There are some actions that people can take to help water conservation which include:
- Protecting fresh drinking water resources
- Saving money on household utilities
- Conserve energy needed to pump, heat and treat fresh water
- Reduce harmful erosion caused by agricultural irrigation
- Maintain essential aquatic ecosystems
- Save exorbitant amounts of money spent annually on recycling, cleaning, and purifying water.
Actions as simple as upgrading to a low flow showerhead or installing water-saving appliances can save 40,000 gallons per household. This will of course vary based on the country one is living in but generally with support from every member of the community, the government can save a large sum of money and use the resources already available in the country instead of buying and transporting it from another.
We took the matter from the perspective of the community so far, but what can the government do? What has it done already? Let’s look at some examples. In urban areas, the policy response has been to try and charge users for the water they use, so that the costs of water supply are recovered from water users. This is not as successful as it should be. In England, water suppliers have been fully privatized, so that water if supplied by private companies whose ultimate goal is profit. This has been a particular challenge in developing countries, which often lack the necessary government fund to invest in water treatment and water supply infrastructure, and who depend on private investments to provide these services. Everyone needs water. When the average wage is $2-3 a day, recovering the costs of water supply can be very difficult.
On the other hand Australia tried a very different approach when faced with the same problem. In rural areas, strict limits have been placed on water use. Access to water has been capped so that no new water rights can be issued. In southern Murray-Darling Basin, it is now impossible to go to the market and purchase the water that you need. When access is capped, enabling water trade is essential to support future development opportunities in the basin. Water marketers help increase the efficiency of water use in rural areas. In Australia, the majority of water trade is temporary trade- so the seller retain the right to receive water in the future, and only sell what they don’t need in any given year. Australia has also invested over $12 billion in recovering water for the environment, it has experienced extreme droughts where aquatic ecosystems suffered greatly. More environmental plan was urgently needed. There is now a new plan for the Murray-Darling Basin that commits to providing much more water to maintain the health of rivers and wetlands.
From the $12 billion, $3 billion will be used to purchase environmental water on the market. New organizations have been set up to hold and manage these environmental water rights, which can be traded in turn.
Whether it be encouraging others and notify them of the importance of water socially and governmentally or actually taking action and deciding to help the community you are taking a part in, trying to save our water resources and actually reaching water is one of our vital rights as a human. With the linear increase of salty water with global warming the government and the citizens alike should work their hardest for this cause. It is just a matter of taking a step and putting your heart in it
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