Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

This is World Water Week

by Danielle Nierenberg and Eve Andrews

The U.N. General Assembly declared 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation. And the theme of this year’s World Water Week, September 1st-September 7th, is “Water Cooperation: Building Partnerships.” This week, scientists, nonprofit organizations, and policymakers all over the world will convene at the Stockholm International Water Institute in Sweden to discuss new research and developments in water conservation – and most importantly, what needs to be done to ensure the protection of one of Earth’s most valuable resources for future generations.
According to the most recent estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation, 768 million people do not have access to clean water, and two and a half billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities. Contaminated water plays a significant role in malnutrition—vomiting and diarrhea caused by water-borne diseases prevent the absorption of key nutrients in food, and are responsible for the deaths of approximately 1.3 million children every year.

Meanwhile, crops that are nourished with contaminated water can carry dangerous pollutants, such as mercury and arsenic, which can inhibit crop growth and potentially sicken people who consume the crops. Unfortunately, agriculture is not only a primary contributor to global water use – approximately 70 percent of the world’s water use is concentrated in farming – but also to water contamination. U.N. Water estimates that the food sector contributes 40 percent of organic water pollutants in industrialized countries, and 54 percent in developing countries. And the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) reports that if everyone in the world had the same consumption habits as North Americans and Europeans, a 75 percent increase in water resources would be necessary to sustain them.

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