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Global solution to the water crisis is urgent

来源:人民日报 作者: 李志伟 阅读:312 网友评论0 Updated: 2019-12-11 08:57 Source: People's Daily Author: Li Zhiwei reading: 312 2010 0 comments

A huge poster at Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa is alarming: In the picture, a small drop of water drips from the faucet, next to it, "Do not let it be the last drop." Earlier this year, the reservoir in Cape Town, South Africa, was almost depleted. A recent report released by the World Resources Institute shows that the world is currently facing an increasingly severe water crisis. It is expected that by 2040, 40% of the world's irrigated crops will be affected by water shortages. Experts call on all countries to work hard to reduce water waste, improve water resource management, and strengthen technological innovation to meet the severe water shortage challenge.

In recent years, water shortages have become increasingly serious in Africa, Asia, and North America. A recent report released by the Washington-based World Resources Institute states that increasing global population has led to increased water demand, domestic and industrial water use has further increased water demand, and climate change has also exacerbated global water shortages. "From Cape Town to Mexico From the city to Sao Paulo, the problem of water shortages continues to spread ... "

The report states that--

Middle East and North Africa region faces extreme water stress

In North Africa, satellite maps show that Morocco ’s second largest reservoir, Mesira Reservoir, has shrunk by 60% over the past three years. Droughts in the area a few years ago have directly halved local agricultural production.

In India, water scarcity is worrying in several regions. The Economic Times of India reported that from 2016, severe drought began in India's Tamil Nadu. This summer, the four reservoirs that provided the source of life for the 8 million people in Chennai, the capital, gradually dried up, and the water storage capacity dropped sharply below 1% of the total capacity.

A huge poster at Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa is alarming: In the picture, a small drop of water drips from the faucet, next to it, "Do not let it be the last drop." Earlier this year, the reservoir in Cape Town, South Africa, was almost depleted.

World Water Council Association Chairman Lovac Fuchon described the region from southern Spain to Pakistan to the Horn of Africa as a "thirst triangle", and it is estimated that there are about 2 billion people with water shortages in this region.

Researchers have also found that water shortages have become an important factor in exacerbating the refugee crisis in Europe. Part of the outbreak of the Syrian civil war was also caused by drought and water shortages. Water shortages have caused 1.5 million Syrians, most of them farmers and herders, to lose their livelihoods, have been forced to leave their homes and many have fled to Europe.

According to the World Resources Institute report, the level of pressure on water resources in the Middle East and North Africa is "extremely scarce." According to the study, by 2040, 14 of the 33 water-stressed countries will be located in the Middle East and North Africa. Water scarcity is also a potential cause of conflict that is difficult to ignore in the Middle East and North Africa.

Experts think--

Without the water crisis, people will not have sustainable food security

Sarah Walker, senior manager of the Water Resources Project at the World Resources Institute, told this reporter that the pressure on water resources in most parts of the world will rise in the future. By 2050, world food production will need to increase by 56% to meet the needs of a growing population. To feed the world, countries need to pay more attention to the rational use of water resources. "If we can't take measures to manage water resources more sustainably and the area of arid farmland will continue to expand, human food security will be difficult to guarantee."

The World Resources Institute recently released the world's first tool for analyzing water resources and food security, "Water Pressure Assessment for Food Production" (also known as "Water Pressure Map"), which identifies wheat, corn, soybean, rice, and cotton Risk distribution of irrigation water resources for more than 40 crops. This tool is designed to help governments, businesses, and people understand more about long-term water-related threats and their impact on food security, so they can make more scientific decisions.

Water pressure assessment is based on the ratio of annual water consumption to recyclable water supply in a region, and is usually affected by two factors, climate change and demand change. Data show that by 2040, nearly 67% of wheat, 64% of corn, and 19% of rice-producing areas will be located in areas of extreme water stress. The "extreme water shortage" state refers to a recyclable water supply in which agricultural water exceeds 80%. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, these three crops account for more than 40% of the world's heat supply, of which wheat is the key crop to ensure global food security.

Currently, 72% of the world's farmland relies on rainwater, and 28% is irrigable. Rain-fed crops are particularly vulnerable to the effects of arid climates, and reduced rainfall caused by warming has exacerbated the problem of farmland water shortages. Irrigated crops account for only a quarter of global farmland, but produce 40% of the global food supply. About one-third of the world's irrigated crops are currently located in "extremely water scarce" areas. Irrigation water also faces competition from energy agencies and households. Walker believes that the supply of water resources has decreased while the demand has increased, and the competition for water resources will become more intense in the future, especially when water resources are poorly managed. "If the water crisis is not addressed, people will not have sustainable food security."

Scholars call for--

Strictly control the development and utilization of water resources to ensure proper water resources management and reasonable allocation

In order to cope with the increasingly severe water resources situation, many experts have called on countries to exercise stricter control over water resources development and utilization to ensure proper water resources management and reasonable allocation.

The World Resources Institute points out that strengthening land and water management can effectively expand food production. Globally, agricultural water consumption accounts for 70% of total water consumption, and it consumes more than any other sector. Of the 300 million hectares of major farmland in sub-Saharan Africa, if 25% of land and water management practices are improved, food production could increase by an additional 22 million tons.

"We need to take action at all levels. From the farmland to the dining table, from the government to institutions to the people." Walker said farmers need to adapt to climate change, collect and store rainwater, and use more efficient irrigation, such as drip irrigation. Technology to improve water resource utilization. At the same time, measures should be taken to reduce food loss and waste from production to sales to food. In fact, a quarter of the world's agricultural water is ultimately lost due to food waste. In addition, the public should also improve their dietary habits, such as eating more food that consumes less water in the production process. At present, the consumption of beef of the same weight is 50 times that of potatoes.

Fu Xiaotian, director of the China Water Project of the World Resources Institute, told this reporter that in order to ensure water demand and sustainable development and utilization of water resources, it is necessary to start from the water-energy-agriculture connection, and consider the demand for ecological water and coordinate management To promote the rational use of water resources.

According to Fu Xiaotian, China has adopted the most stringent water resources management system and set the "three red lines" for water resource development and utilization, and has proposed staged goals and requirements for total water use, water efficiency and water pollution prevention and control. The "Water Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan" issued by China further calls for improving water use efficiency in different fields such as industry, agriculture, and cities. At the same time, the state also uses water resources tax and water rights trading and other incentives to improve water resource utilization efficiency and promote the rational allocation and use of water resources.

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