Global water crisis 'is looming'
Manama, March 22, 2010
Two-third of the world's population could be short of water within 15 years, according to campaigners.
Water consumption is rising at double the rate of population growth, it emerged as World Water Day is marked today.
It will be highlighted at the Bahrain Polytechnic in Isa Town at noon today at a lecture for students and staff by Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife senior environmental specialist Rehan Ahmed.
The day is observed on March 22 every year and this year's theme is 'Clean water for a healthy world'.
Nature conservation is paramount to ensuring water supplies, according to a report 'Water, Wetlands and Forests: A Review of Ecological, Economic and Policy Linkages', being released today by the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
'In our rapidly urbanising world, clean water is a precious commodity whose economic value is greater than the money gained from clearing forests and wetlands that provide it,' said Bahrain-based UN Information Centre director Nejib Friji.
'The report shows that intact forests and wetlands ensure clean and reliable drinking water. Poor environmental management of these ecosystems, however, tends to result in poor water quality.
'Significant amounts of money are spent rectifying this problem - often through expensive water treatment infrastructure.
'The report provides evidence that this money is often more effectively spent by restoring the ability of the natural environment to fix the problem for us.
'Estimates suggest that by 2025 two-thirds of the world's population will be living in areas of high water stress, with some 1.8 billion people living in regions with absolute water scarcity,' Friji said.
Bahrain today joins other nations in marking World Water Day.
The global event aims to raise the profile of water quality to a political level and enhance awareness among people.
Works Minister in charge of Electricity and Water Authority (EWA)Fahmi Al Jowder described the issue as top priority in Bahrain.
He cited the decision of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa to set up the Water Resources Council which is tasked with drawing up a national plan to ensure the sound management of the kingdom's limited water resources.
Al Jowder pointed out the tough challenges facing Bahrain and other countries in the region because of exorbitant costs of water desalination and excessive consumption, which bleed the national economy.
Meanwhile, the EWA has lined up a series of events to highlight the vital importance of water. The awareness campaign focuses on public and private school students and a ceremony will be held at Dohat Arad featuring speeches, poems and songs.
The EWA has already started distributing booklets and stickers. A water-theme exhibition will also be held in co-ordination with Bahrain University at its Sakhir campus.-TradeArabia News Service