Just like oil and minerals, it is possible to measure and calculate the global supply of water. One example is the Stockholm International Water Institute. An important difference between oil and water, however, is that fresh water is considered a human right, which means that more information is public, and it is easier to reach a consensus on access and consumption. Therefore, it is theoretically possible to create joint plans for how water is managed. By distributing this information and knowledge about opportunities for cooperation the chance increases of achieving sustainable development.
Because of lack of access to drinking water, toilets and sanitation, 3900 children under 5 years die every day in the world. [WHO].
The need of drinking water is one of the goals that today is fulfilled to 83% [UN].
The goal of sanitation means that an additional one billion urban residents and 900 million rural, should have access to improved sanitation services [UN].
40% of our food comes from irrigated land. 70% of all available fresh water is used for irrigation [Sandra Postel, WWI].
Access to water
The flow of water through the Earth’s ecosystems are about 110 000 km3 per year. 2/3 of the rainfall creates green water. That is, temporary stores which quickly returns to the atmosphere. 1 / 3 of condensation becomes blue water, i.e. in rivers. Withdrawal is now 80% of blue water, mainly for irrigation in agriculture. A switch to using more green water is thus an important strategy to meet a growing need for fresh water.
Map showing countries’ access to protected water sources. Click on the map to get it enlarged.
Food production (which is very water intensive, needs about 1,300 m3 per year per person) are today mostly done in countries near the equator.
Approximately 34 million people in developing countries starve and thirst to death each year and about 1 billion people suffer from malnutrition and water-related diseases. In the meantime in industrial countries people suffering of obesity diseases in the same order of magnitude, due to too a dysfunctional diet.
Read more about environmental conflicts here…