The Earth could soon run out of water, warns the Forum of Brasilia

News 19 March, 2018
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    Monday, 19 march 2018, 19:29

    Monday, 19 march 2018, 19:29

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    The UN, as well as many scholars and politicians gathered in Brasilia called on Monday to act quickly to prevent the Earth from lack of water, the first day of the international Forum of water.

    “There is simply no time to lose”, said in his opening speech of the 8th edition of the Forum the brazilian president Michel Temer, whose country, which has 18% of the potable water of the planet is affected since 2012, in the North-east, by the longest drought in its history.

    “There is a consensus,” added the head of State, “life on Earth is threatened if we do not respect the limits of nature”.

    The united nations has unveiled a report particularly disturbing, according to which almost half of the world’s population – 3.6 billion people – lives in areas where water may miss at least one month a year, a number that could reach $ 5.7 billion by 2050.

    Under the slogan “Share the water”, 40 000 people attend the Forum until Friday, including a dozen heads of state, 300 mayors from cities around the world, dozens of scientists and environmental activists.

    “Nearly 97% of the available resources of water in the world are in groundwater-border”, hence the need for “effective management of shared waters,” said Benedito Braga, president world water Council, an institution the seat of which is in Marseille (France) and organizer of the event.

    Use nature for inspiration

    The forum meets at a time when big cities, like those of the Cape, are facing a dramatic lack of water. The metropolis of south africa has been threatened with the cutoff of running water in the next few months because of the drought.

    In the Face of climate change and population pressure which are impacting on the water resources, the UN recommends that countries focus on “green solutions”, taking inspiration from nature rather than to build new dams and water treatment plants.

    Natural processes can act as regulators, cleaners, and water suppliers”, explained during a press conference in Paris, Richard Connor, editor-in-chief of the annual report of the united Nations.

    In Brazil, the government has launched since 2005 the largest project of its History in this area, the deviation of the river San Francisco to combat the aridity traditional of the northeastern region.

    The site’s monumental, of some $ 3 billion budget, will by 2019 from freshwater to the four States of the region, 12 million Brazilians.

    “The transformation of the region is absolutely fantastic,” assured the minister of national Integration, Helder Barbalho.

    Solutions “cost-effective”

    While the demand for water increases, groundwater reserves are being depleted, pumped mainly for irrigation, and the quality of the water is degraded, polluted by industrial and municipal wastewater and agricultural chemicals, warns the UN.

    For the past two decades, the municipality of New York has developed an original policy for the protection of the three watersheds that supply the city and its 8.5 million inhabitants; it participates in programs of preservation of forests and pays farmers for their good practices.

    Result: New York “receives the waters of the cleanest of the United States,” according to Richard Connor, while saving $ 300 million per year on its treatment.

    In another example, Egypt: a pilot project for wetlands constructed in Bilbeis, 55 kilometres north of Cairo, has made it possible to treat waste water and irrigate eucalyptus trees, while being “cheaper” than the usual solutions of wastewater treatment.

    “These solutions are cost-effective” and “don’t cost more,” insisted Connor.

    The main sectors where they could be deployed are the agriculture, but also “growing cities”, in particular in developing countries, said the scientist.

    The use of the systems to natural or semi-natural offers many other advantages. In addition to improving the availability of water and its quality, “it is possible to increase the agricultural production per hectare with improved management of water” and to feed more of the world, has assured Stefan Uhlenbrook, coordinator of the United Nations world programme for the evaluation of water resources (WWAP).

    The “green” infrastructures also play on the erosion and the quality of the soil, the vegetation, the risk of drought and flood, even if for the moment, the use of such solutions remains marginal”.