http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/297137

Leaders in water meet in Stockholm

Posted Sep 6, 2010 by KJ Mullins
A gathering of 2,500 leading water experts are in Stockholm for the 20th annual World Water Week opening today. The experts hope to find better ways to address the challenges of the world's global water crisis.
Water experts are meeting in Stockhom this week to discuss the global water crisis.
Water experts are meeting in Stockhom this week to discuss the global water crisis.
World Water Week
This year's there of "Responding to Global Changes: The Water Quality Challenge" comes at a time when water issues and the solutions to those issues are becoming more complex.
"Bad water kills more people than HIV, malaria and wars together, affecting the lives of families and the economic development of many countries around the world. We are also increasingly seeing that ecosystems and their services are being degraded by pollution, which will affect all functions of society," said Mr. Anders Berntell, Executive Director of Stockholm International Water Institute, in his welcome address at the opening session.
Issues will be raised not only on water but on the effects that come when healthy water is not available such as poverty and public health.
Twenty ministers are joining the experts to tackle those issues and other concerns such as climate change adaptation, urbanisation, water governance, the human rights to water and sanitation, and the growing strategic water concerns for businesses.
The 2010 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Dr. Rita Colwell, warned today that shortcomings in addressing the issue of water quality is coupled with climate changes that lead to outbreaks of water-borne diseases that affect a nation's economic status and their security.
Africa is struggling now with the effects of climate change. The continent has the lowest water supply and sanitation coverage in the world. The economic loss in Africa due to lack of access to safe water and sanitation is estimated at $28.4 billion a year. By 2030 the urban population in Africa is expected to have doubled since 2000.
Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource
Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource
World Water Week
In Africa each year 1.4 million children because of diarrhoeal diseases that are preventable counting for 43 percent of deaths.
Asia has been facing challenges to provide water and sanitation to the hundreds of millions of their nations urban residents. That population is expected to have doubled by 2030. Half of the 884 million people in the world who still rely on ponds, streams, irrigation canals and unprotected dug wells are found in Asia. The poor are paying 20 to 40 times more for their water than those who have a connection to water pay.
In Europe ground water is used quicker than it can be replenished even though it is made up by more than a million lakes. Only five out of 55 rivers in Europe are considered pristine. In fact, twenty percent of all surface water in the EU is threatened by pollution. Already 46 percent of Europe's population live in the eight countries (Germany, England and Wales, Italy, Malta, Belgium, Spain, Bulgaria and Cyprus) that are water stressed.
The world may be covered in water but 97 percent of that water is salt water. Of the remaining 3 percent of fresh water 70 percent is frozen in polar icecaps and almost 70 percent is present as soil moisture. That leaves a mere 1 percent of fresh water for human use.
For children in the developed world water is not as big a concern, they consume 30 to 50 times as much water as a child born in the developing world.
In just twenty years 47 percent of the global population will be living in areas of high water stress. Not only are there concerns about the lack of water but what is in the water that is available to people. According to a press release for World Water Week water entering our sewage works today contains increasing amounts of nano substances, chemicals and residues from pharmaceuticals. Those changes in the water affect not only people but aquatic animals and plants. During the past thirty years the average freshwater species populations have been reduced by half.
Water experts are meeting in Stockhom this week to discuss the global water crisis.
Water experts are meeting in Stockhom this week to discuss the global water crisis.
World Water Week
According to the UN World Water Development Report, 2009, almost one-tenth of the global disease burden could be prevented if water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources was improved. Proper hygiene would reeducate the 1.2 billion people who still defecate in the open according to UNICEF and WHO.
There is only one certainty about the effects of water and climate change. If improvements are not made now the world's water crisis uncertainty will be the only certainty.