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The Escalating Global Water Crisis: Challenges and Responses

Water Crisis: how to manage Sustainability of groundwater

In a historic turning point, human civilization has breached the planetary boundary for water, highlighting the urgency of the global water crisis. The United Nations (UN) water conference, convened at the UN Headquarters in New York after nearly five decades, is grappling with colossal challenges.

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The Planetary Boundary

The concept of planetary boundaries delineates nine crucial limits within which humanity can evolve and flourish for generations. Transgressing these boundaries escalates the risk of triggering extensive and irrevocable environmental transformations.

Water Crisis: Planetary Boundary over time

Magnitude of the Water Crisis:

  • Daunting Demand-Supply Discrepancy: By 2030, the worldwide demand for freshwater is projected to surpass supply by a staggering 40%.
  • Impact of Climate Change: Approximately 80% of the causes of climate change manifest through water-related issues.
  • Access to Safe Drinking Water: In 2020, a significant portion of the global population faced water accessibility challenges. A staggering 2 billion individuals lacked access to safely managed drinking water, while 771 million lacked basic drinking water services.
  • Geographical Disparities: Access to safely managed drinking water services exhibits significant geographical disparities.

Situation in India:

  • 163 Million Indians lack access to safe drinking water.
  • 210 Million Indians lack access to improved sanitation.
  • 21% of communicable diseases are linked to unsafe water.
  • 500 children under the age of five die from diarrhea each day in India.
Water crisis in India

Global Response to the Water Crisis:

  • UN 2023 Water Conference: A critical moment unfolds as 193 countries converge at the UN 2023 Water Conference in the United States from March 22 to 24. The primary objective is to advocate for transformative water management policies and practices.
  • Commitment to Global Water Challenges: The world now possesses a more profound understanding of the water crisis facing nations. Notable commitments include the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically SDG-6, which centers on “Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
  • UN’s Vision: The UN has prepared five concept papers to guide interactive dialogues, focusing on themes such as
    1. water’s role in health,
    2. Water for sustainable development,
    3. Water for climate resilience, environmental conservation,
    4. and fostering cooperation
    5. “Water Action Decade.”
  • International Dimensions: The freshwater crisis injects an international dimension into the realms of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

The unprecedented breach of the planetary boundary for water serves as a wake-up call. Thus emphasizing the dire necessity of collaborative and resolute actions to address the escalating global water crisis. As nations unite at the UN conference, it is an opportune moment to chart a sustainable course for the future. The global water crisis has profound implications, not just for sustainability but also for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

Read Also: Sustainability of groundwater

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