martedì 24 marzo 2009

The 5th World Water Forum

The 5th World Water Forum, held in Istanbul (Turkey) from march 16th to 22nd organized by World Water Council, has just finished its works.

At this event delegations from more than 100 countries partecipated in order to discuss the problem of the progressive water scarcity for a larger part of world population in a period of demographic pushes, migrations, urbanization, soil degradation and erosion and desertification.

The Forum highlighted the hope for the adoption of measures and interventions capable to improve international cooperation about disputes on water, better resources' management and wells', rivers' and lakes' pollution prevention. Yet criticism has been biased by the incapability to define water access as a "human right": in the final document it has been defined as a "basic human need".

Many questions linked to the effects of climate change on drinkable water still remain open. The present out-of-control pollution is not only a problem of the air we breath: increases in temperatures, due to the greenhouse effect, have dramatic impacts in the acceleration of the hydrogeological cycles, glaciers' destruction, sea levels' increases and progressive desertification in wider a wider areas.

Another key-issue is linked to the right to water access.

More than 1 bl people has no access to clean water while in other parts of the world water is too often dissipated or mis-used (above all in agriculture). In the meanwhile the process of water privatization is going on transforming a right into a private business.

What's going on in Italy?

In Italy, in 2006, agriculture used 49% of the total amount of water, industry 21%, civil sector 19% and energy sector 6%. Italy is a country rich of water but it is often dissipated because Italy lacks a global strategy to rationally manage this resource. Inefficiencies involve those firms using water for thier activities for example farms. In agriculture better land management systems, efficient irrigation methods (microirrigation), no leaks during transportations etc. are an urgent need.

In the same time many inefficiencies at territorial level must be urgently solved reducing leaks, re-using water, collecting water in winter, restructuring old pipes, fighting chemical pollution, protecting rivers, etc.

In Italy a perspective shift should act as a prerequisite also to concretely promote positive experiences and punish water wastes and abuses. In this, local authorities must have a primary role in making controls and adopting those legal sanctions required to fight abuses and environmental crimes.

An interesting report on water in Italy (in italian) can be found here.

In Italy there is also the critical issue of the mineral water business about which I suggest the reading of the following reports (in Italian)

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