Water…and not a drop to drink

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

Taken from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, we are given a chilling picture of being stranded with no water to drink, yet surrounded by the ocean. As we head to a disturbingly similar fate, estimates are that two-thirds of the worlds population will face water shortages by 2025.

It is clear we need to do more to make better use of our natural resources, and protect our natural environment. At The World Water Forum, held in Istanbul, Turkey earlier this month, this was the underlying theme confronting world leaders. Emphasis was placed on the importance of rivers and wetland areas that provide a vital source of drinking water, ensuring healthy and sustainable livelihoods. To invest in good water governance is critical in protecting our water resources, and governments world wide need to take action.

According to the IUCN :

Having the right institutions and processes in place to cope with increasing demands on water resources, under threat from climate change, is key to ensuring a clean and plentiful supply of water for the world’s growing population.“Global change will create many challenges in the next 40 years,” says Mark Smith, Head of IUCN’s Water Programme. “Expanding population, economic growth and accelerating urbanisation will place new demands on water systems. Climate change is projected to intensify water stress and hazards, putting pressure on food, water and energy security. River basins will change, and water systems and water resources management will have to provide solutions.”

“Both man-made and natural infrastructures are needed to meet the multiple and complex goals of water resource management. Investment needs to be made to secure the resources we currently have and, as part of this, decision makers need to recognize the vital services that a healthy natural environment provides, particularly as communities adapt to the effects of climate change,” adds Mark Smith. “Well-managed floodplains reduce the vulnerability of cities downstream, intact mangroves buffer coasts against storms, and healthy forests and wetlands reduce disaster risks.”

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