UAE Press: No country is immune to the world's growing water crisis

ABU DHABI, 24th March, 2023 (WAM) – This week’s international water conference in New York – remarkably, the first such meeting since 1977 – has achieved anything, is a wake-up call to the fact that water scarcity, and the many other serious challenges tied to it, is an issue that is certain to affect everyone on the planet, according to a UAE English daily.

" This is a call that needs to be heard. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who described humanity’s overuse of water resources as “vampiric”, the conference heard how it is cities that will bear the brunt of the crisis,” said The National in an editorial on Friday.

UN research suggests that a billion people in cities around the world already face water scarcity, with that number to more than double by 2050. According to the World Bank, nearly seven out of 10 people will be city dwellers by that time. If this trend is combined with worsening water shortages, it could spell ecological, economic and social disaster, the newspaper explained.

“Although the signs are ominous, there is a growing understanding among international bodies that water scarcity is connected to and drives many other issues. It is frequently contextualised as part of a triple crisis: that of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Each of these can fuel conflict, displacement and uncontrolled migration, creating security crises for countries that are already struggling,” the daily added.

Some national governments and the international community are serious about backing green technology. One example is CityTaps, a team based in France, Kenya and Mexico that developed a smart pay-as-you-go system that allows low-income populations to pre-pay for their water in micro amounts, avoiding debt and disconnection. Another is Solvay Solution’s Oxystrong 15 peracetic acid which disinfects waste water with a lower environmental impact, allowing it to be used for irrigation, the editorial pointed out.

Amid these high-tech solutions, the newspaper noted, there has also been a renewed focus on the wisdom of previous generations who, it seems, managed their water resources somewhat more responsibly. These so-called nature-based solutions, for example using forests, wetlands and grasslands to filter water, regulate water flow, and protect communities from floods and droughts, have been employed by indigenous communities for centuries.

“International action such as the UN’s High Seas Treaty that was signed earlier this month, and the continuing engagement on climate action before COP28 in the UAE later this year is encouraging. Hopefully, this UN water summit will lead to similarly resolute steps – but there is no more time for complacency,” the Abu Dhabi-based daily concluded.