0547 GMT September 19, 2018
On the threshold of summer, water crisis becomes more egregious; therefore, it is necessary to pay much more attention to this issue. The fact is that global, regional and national trends all indicate worsening situation in the field of water.
Climate change is evident; according to reports, the average global temperature at 0.76ᵒC is rising from the pre-industrial period.
The hot air is drawn to the oceans and even deep oceans; Arctic ice caps are disappearing three times faster than expected and it has dropped by 2.7 percent every decade on average.
Unfortunately, despite the depth of the crisis, some countries, including the United States, are adding to the deterioration of the situation by leaving Paris climate agreement.
Under these circumstances, developing countries will incur 75 percent of the damage caused by climate change in such a way that 2ᵒC warming leads to a 4-5 percent reduction in GDP in Africa and South Asia.
By 2050, the world's population will reach 9.5 to 10 billion, of which two thirds will be urbanized. In the same period, the global GDP growth rate will be around 2.5 percent.
Moreover, global demand for agricultural products and energy (mainly food and electricity) will grow between 60 percent and 80 percent.
Currently, more than two billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water while nearly four billion people do not have aseptic sewage systems.
With this growing population, global demand for water will increase by 30 percent by 2050.
Almost half of the world's population lives in areas potentially exposed to water scarcity. Anymore, 70 percent of the world's water consumption accounts for 20 percent of the agricultural sector and 10 percent of the rest.
Based on evidence, there is an increasing demand for consumption in all of these sectors.
The water crisis has disastrously led to the destruction of the ecosystem. Nearly, two thirds of the world's forests are subject to destruction.
Most of the world's soil resources, especially in farmlands, are in poor condition.
This is intensifying and it adversely affects the water cycle by increasing the rate of evaporation and the amount of runoff and erosion. The more complicated problem in this regard is uneven dispersion and distribution of water in the world.
Statistics indicate the shocking reality that 80 percent of the world's population only has access to 20 percent of the world's soft drinking water. However, the way of dealing with these critical conditions is, on a global level, one of the goals of sustainable development, ensuring water availability and sustainable management.
Countries need to apply unique and operational strategies as well as rapid, agile and strategic planning in this area.
As stated, the main consumption and waste of water in the country is in the agricultural sector. In this regard, changes in the pattern of cultivation, the expansion of greenhouse cultivation, the development of new irrigation systems and the transfer of spring to winter crops are important solutions.
In fact, behavior must change. For instance, changing the pattern of cultivation in the cultivated fields in southern Italy with an area of 5,000 square kilometers, which was mostly dedicated to winter crop cultivation, has, over the last 15 years, succeeded in changing the pattern of successful crop management in surface water and underground water.
Through diversification in cultivation, instead of relying on rainbow wheat in winter and tomato in summer, they turned to a wide range of products, including olive, grape, and other fruits and vegetables.
The situation is the same for water consumption in the industrial sector.
Some of the solutions of this sector include optimization of consumption, use of treated water, promotion of productivity, use of cooling and so on.
In household consumption, which is much smaller, but it is important, conservation is an essential solution. In this regard, the pattern of consumption of the community should be corrected.
*Mohsen Tabatabaei Mozdabadi is the secretary general of Iran Urban Economics Scientific Association (IUESA).