How to deal with water scarcity?
Water scarcity will increase worldwide and also affect regions where it is still abundant today, according to a report presented at the start of the UN 2023 Water Conference. The conference, which kicked off on Wednesday, is the first on this topic since 1977. Commentators present their own takes on the issue.
A stealthy killer
The consequences of water shortages are in danger of being overlooked, Polityka warns:
“The lack of access to drinking water is not as spectacular and dramatic as floods, earthquakes or wars. Its victims die in silence. They are mainly children in sub-Saharan Africa and in the poorer countries of Asia. Statistically, almost 6,000 children die every day as a result of a lack of clean water and pollution from urban sewage. Few people are aware that chronic diarrhoea resulting from the consumption of microbiologically contaminated water remains one of the leading causes of death among children under five.”
Water must remain a public good
Privatising the water supply is not a satisfactory solution, civil engineering professor Giannis Mylopoulos explains in TVXS:
“The basic law of the market is profitability. ... In the case of water, this characteristic is in complete contradiction to its scarcity. ... This is the main reason why water privatisation has always failed wherever it took place. The enforced increase in the price of water, combined with a deterioration in the maintenance and operation of the networks, has forced a return to public management of the water supply everywhere . ... It must remain in public ownership because the preservation of life, of which water is an essential element, is the top priority of any political or ideological system.”
Use seawater, treat waste water
Turkey should radically rethink its policy to date, T24 demands:
“Although we are not usually very forward-looking, this time we must be. We have to use the seas around us and find a permanent solution to our water problem by purifying seawater. ... We have lost our wetlands where migratory birds broke their long journeys, elegant geese, ducks and flamingos lingered and a host of rare animals lived. And we are in the process of completely losing the remaining areas. Treatment plants are also vital for processing polluted wastewater. We should increase the number of these plants, build more of them throughout the country and promote scientific research on the subject.”