“A global meeting on water opened in France on Monday with demands to provide billions of poor people with clean water and decent sanitation and address the spiralling demands of the future.
“The challenges are huge and the problems are deep-rooted,” French Prime Minister François Fillon said as he opened the sixth World Water Forum in the southern city of Marseille.
“The number of human beings who have no access to clean water is in the billions. Each year, we mourn millions of dead from the health risks that this causes. This situation is not acceptable — the world community must rise and tackle it.”
“As many as 20,000 participants from 140 countries are expected for the six-day event, including scores of ministers for the environment and water and a scattering of heads of state from francophone west Africa.
“Separately, a massive UN report, issued only once every three years, said water problems in many parts of the world were chronic.
“Without a crackdown on waste will worsen as demand for food rises and climate change intensifies, it said. “Pressures on freshwater are rising, from the expanding needs of agriculture, food production and energy consumption to pollution and the weaknesses of water management,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in the report.
“Climate change is a real and growing threat. Without good planning and adaptation, hundreds of millions of people are at risk of hunger, disease, energy shortages and poverty.”
“Demand for food will increase by some 70% by 2050, which will lead to a nearly 20% increase in global agricultural water consumption, the UN’s Fourth World Water Development Report said.
“Abstraction of aquifers has at least tripled in the past 50 years and now supplies almost half of all drinking water today. “In some hotspots, the availability of non-renewable groundwater resources has reached critical limits,” the report said.
“The report demanded an overhaul in the use of water, especially by curbing waste. Smarter irrigation, less thirsty crops and the use of “grey,” or used water, to flush toilets are among the options.”
Read more: Bworldonline