Today is World Water Day, and this year has also been declared International Year of Water Cooperation by the United Nations.
Water is an absolutely essential part of the work we do at the Aquarium, and is vital for the animals we look after. It’s also a scarce resource that, if not managed effectively, could become even scarcer. And while our focus is on sea life, it’s important to remember that what happens upstream in rivers will eventually reach our oceans too.
The reality of the global water situation is worrying. The UN’s water website offers these concerning facts and figures:
- About 66% of Africa is arid or semi-arid and more than 300-million of the 800-million people in sub-Saharan Africa live in a water-scarce environment – meaning that they have less than 1 000m3 per capita
- 85% of the world’s population lives in the driest half of the planet
- 783-million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5-billion do not have access to adequate sanitation
- 6-million to 8-million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases
- Various estimates indicate that, based on business as usual, approximately 3.5 planets Earth would be needed to sustain a global population achieving the current lifestyle of the average European or North American
- Up to 90% of waste water in developing countries flows untreated into rivers, lakes and highly productive coastal zones, threatening health, food security and access to safe drinking and bathing water. Over 80% of used water worldwide is not collected or treated
Water cooperation is essential for poverty eradication, social equality, economic growth and environmental sustainability.
National Water Week at the Aquarium
Here’s a recap of what we’ve been talking about during National Water Week at the Aquarium: