What You Should Know About World Water Day 2016
While many of us take water for granted, it is a resource that is severely lacking for many individuals and communities across the globe. Over 70% of the earth is covered in water, yet only a fraction of it is safe for use or consumption. March 22nd has been dubbed World Water Day, and a variety of organizations including the United States government are taking the day to draw attention to one of our planet's most important resources.
The White House held a Water Summit to address many issues that face the US and its water supply. With the recent news of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the drought throughout California, clean water has been on the minds of more Americans. Hope Cupit, CEO and president of the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Program, stated during the summit that 1.6 million Americans do not have access to clean water. To combat domestic and international concerns, the US is unveiling several plans of action. The White House Office of the Press Secretary released the following information:
"Nearly $4 billion in private capital committed to investment in a broad range of water-infrastructure projects nationwide. This includes $1.5 billion from Ultra Capital to finance decentralized and scalable water-management solutions, and $500 million from Sustainable Water to develop water reclamation and reuse systems.
More than $1 billion from the private sector over the next decade to conduct research and development into new technologies. This includes $500 million from GE to fuel innovation, expertise, and global capabilities in advanced water, wastewater, and reuse technologies.
A Presidential Memorandum and supporting Action Plan on building national capabilities for long-term drought resilience in the United States, including by setting drought resilience policy goals, directing specific drought resilience activities to be completed by the end of the year, and permanently establishing the National Drought Resilience Partnership as an interagency task force responsible for coordinating drought-resilience, response, and recovery efforts.
Nearly $35 million this year in Federal grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support cutting-edge water science;
The release of a new National Water Model that will dramatically enhance the Nation’s river-forecasting capabilities by delivering forecasts for approximately 2.7 million locations, up from 4,000 locations today (a 700-fold increase in forecast density)."
On the international front, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is one of the global leaders in water usage awareness. They have shared the findings of the International Resource Panel (IRP) that the water demand will exceed the supply by 40% by 2030. That demand differs in many regions, including sub-Saharan Africa which is projected to rise 283%.
While these numbers in themselves are alarming, the financial implications that they bear are equally as noteworthy. Governments previously have spent on average $40-45 billion to obtain their nation's necessary water supply. This number has increased to $200 billion. To developing nations that may need the water the most, this increase is insurmountable especially given water's supposed imperative nature in economic growth.
Similar to the decoupling with carbon emissions and economic growth that we explored last week, water expenditure should not be linked with growth. All nations--developed, developing, or otherwise--need to ensure their economies are independent of the pollution they emit and the resources they use. However, this daunting task is in the realm of possibility; the UNEP reported, "In Australia, water consumption declined by 40 per cent between 2001 and 2009 while the economy grew by more than 30 per cent." Identifying alternatives, and sharing knowledge with countries that have made significant improvements like Australia, is essential in order to achieve global economic success.
The IRP, along with the UNEP, has given the following guidelines to consider when addressing these issues:
"Investing more in research and development to improve technology that reduces water waste;
Building sustainable infrastructure to improve the efficiency of water use and eliminate water contamination and pollution;
Introducing policies to curb water demand and re-allocate water to sectors where it produces goods and services most beneficial to society while ensuring vulnerable groups are protected;
Strengthening research into the value of ecosystem services and water to human welfare and economic development.
Doing more to assess "virtual water" (the water used to manufacture goods that are traded internationally), water footprints and related impacts to better understand how international trade patterns could be used to support decoupling where it is most needed."
Capsells is dedicated to aiding in the pursuit of clean water for everyone. We offer a variety of solar powered water purification systems, including the Aqua Sun Villager which can produce an astounding 2,800 gallons of clean drinking water in a single day. Whether the consumer's aim is to hydrate an entire village or simply live off-grid while saving money and energy, our water purification systems can aid in anyone's effort to bring clean water into their lives.