Why Ensuring Our Water Supply Should Be Our Focus
Most people are familiar with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 goals, which the organisation wants to make progress on, were agreed in 2015. Among them are goals such as eradicating poverty, having no hunger and climate action.
Clean water and sanitation for everyone in the world is also one of these Sustainable Development Goals. An article for the World Economic Forum (WEF) has argued that, in order to make progress on the other 16 goals, we need to begin with water.
As the organisation pointed out, all the other goals are, to a greater or lesser extent, reliant on having a clean and reliable water supply.
For example, it noted that to achieve the goal of zero hunger we will need to ensure that agriculture becomes both sustainable and productive. Given that the agriculture industry accounts for 70 per cent of global water usage, it’s easy to see how securing a clean and sustainable water supply will help achieve this aim.
Better health and wellbeing is another of the UN’s goals, which again will be greatly assisted by ensuring everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The WEF pointed out that it’s estimated that water-borne illnesses account for the deaths of 297,000 children under the age of five every year.
Gender equality will also be advanced by ensuring water supplies for all, given that women and girls are responsible for 80 per cent of water collection in households that do not have a water supply in their properties.
Where businesses are concerned, industrial productivity too could be advanced through ensuring access to water. The WEF noted that it has ranked water stress as one of the top five global risks in terms of its impact in the last five years.
“Water stress makes supply more unpredictable (and expensive), affecting operational capacity, profit margins and reputation,” it asserted.
This is why it might also be sensible to switch business water suppliers if you are finding that your water bills are higher than you are expecting and therefore having an impact on your business’ bottom line.
Climate action, life on land and peace were the three other goals where the WEF revealed securing clean and sustainable water supplies could make a material difference to humanity’s ability to achieve them.
When it comes to the goal for world peace, the organisation noted that water scarcity is often a factor in forced migration and conflicts, which means that tackling this problem could help to reduce some forced movement of people.
However, it also stressed the scale of this problem, given that 700 million people are expected to be displaced by 2030 as a result of the impact that climate change is predicted to have on global water supplies.
The article concluded: “Reliable, accessible and sustainable supplies of clean water are the strongest foundation we have to ensure the long-term success of our other challenges.”
According to the UN’s data, water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the world’s population, and in 2015 just 39 per cent of the world’s population had safe sanitation.
However, 80 per cent of countries have laid the foundations for integrated water resources management, according to the UN’s figures.