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Thursday, 29 March 2018

The global water crisis explainer

The global water crisis explainer: Egypt’s water crisis is not unique. As a matter of fact, the country is but a tiny node in an ever-growing global water crisis caused by population and development growth, poor water resources management and climate change, according to National Geographic. Fourteen of the world’s 20 megacities are now experiencing water scarcity or drought conditions. As many as 14 bn people already live in regions that experience severe water stress for at least one month of the year, according to a 2016 study in the journal Science Advances. Cape Town made history earlier this year by becoming the first major city where water will officially run out.

In wetter climates, the issue sometimes is too much water. When flash floods and deluges fall, the human and economic consequences are sometimes disastrous as when Hurricane Harvey hit the US.

Lesson #1 for Egypt: It’s simply not enough to tackle general human consumption. typical home use of water—for washing, flushing, and cooking—represents only about three percent of humanity’s total water consumption, says says Arjen Hoekstra, a professor of water management at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Agriculture uses the lion’s share, consuming 80-90%, followed by energy production and industry. This water, which often goes largely unseen, is often called “virtual water.” From water-intensive crops to the manufacturing of virtually everything, every good produced and exported amounts to an export of water. One single half liter can of soda actually costs 175 liters of water to make. Hoekstra and others are pushing for a concerted global effort to make sure sensible water management inspires economic policies, where water intensive

For us here, the government has begun to act. Besides launching a water rationing policy and consumption awareness drive, the irrigation and agriculture ministries have launched a new project with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to support sustainable water management in reclaimed land, according to a FAO statement. “This project will set up and test an automated water consumption monitoring and water accounting system at selected pilot areas of the newly reclaimed area,” in addition to a remote-sensing system to collect and analyze data for the Agriculture Ministry. The project comes as Egypt is beginning to focus on the sustainable use of groundwater resources to irrigate reclaimed land.

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