This photo, taken from our Flickr group, shows the importance of water for life on this planet: it sustains us, it is home to marine life, and it is a source of joy and celebration – a connection with nature.
The United Nations World Health Organisation recognises access to water as a basic human right, and places the responsibility on governments to provide all people with sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
Demand for clean, fresh water is steadily increasing due to the growth in populations and cities. Already, demand is exceeding supply in many parts of the world. Water shortages are also caused by periodic drought, pollution, poor infrastructure and inefficient water use. In sub-Saharan Africa, a third of all people have no access to safe drinking water or sanitation. It is estimated that by 2025, more than 60% of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas that are vulnerable to water shortages.
The United Nations has prioritised water access among its Millennium Development Goals, because a lack of access to safe water contributes to widespread suffering, including increased poverty, high infant mortality, low levels of education and political instability. Due to contaminated water, an average of 4 500 children die each day from waterborne diseases like diarrhoea.
Climate change is likely to increase our demand for water even further, particularly in already water-scarce regions like Africa. In Southern Africa, scientists are predicting changes in the intensity and seasonality of drought and rainfall. This means that the dry areas of our country (such as the western half) will get drier, with longer periods of drought, while the much wetter eastern half of South Africa is expected to receive heavier rainfall over shorter periods, with a higher risk of flooding.
Climate change is likely to have a significant impact on water and food security. It could threaten access to sustainable, fresh drinking water and sanitation, especially for vulnerable people. Natural vegetation and animal migration patterns could also alter as climate change intensifies.
It’s time to get water-wise. Visit FLOW: For Love Of Water to find out what you can do.
Source: Smart Living Handbook