Friday, March 22, 2013

World Water Day 2013

Today is World Water Day 2013. The theme for this year is International Year of Water Cooperation. This is of course very relevant to ensure water security for many countries since there are many transboundary river basins in the world.

Here are some interesting facts from the UN-World Water Day site:

  • 780 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation.
  • There are 276 transboundary river basins in the world (64 transboundary river basins in Africa, 60 in Asia, 68 in Europe, 46 in North America and 38 in South America). 
  • Each person in North America and Europe (excluding former Soviet Union countries) consumes at least 3 m3 per day of virtual water in imported food, compared to 1.4 m3 per day in Asia and 1.1 m3 per day in Africa (Zimmer and Renault, n.d.)
  • Up to 90% of wastewater in developing countries flows untreated into rivers, lakes and highly productive coastal zones, threatening health, food security and access to safe drinking and bathing water Over 80% of used water worldwide is not collected or treated (Corcoran et al., 2010).

Whilst Malaysia is not affected by international transboundary river basin issue, we do have a certain issue with state transboundary rivers. Also, we have a very high water use/demand per person per day. So think about where the water is coming from the next time you shower, flush the toilet, wash the car or water the garden.

PS: Tomorrow at 8.30pm is Earth Hour. Though it is good to see many public events lined up (e.g. Shah Alam, Sunway Pyramid, KLCC etc.), I am somewhat aggrieved that World Water Day did not garner as much interest as Earth Hour over here, sigh.