Lorena Rivera- The best-said commonplace: water is life

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A drop, a glass, a river. Fresh water, that resource that seems so ubiquitous, is running out. It is the sad irony of a planet mostly covered by water, but less than 2.5% of the vast expanse is fresh and only 1% of that figure is available for human consumption. The rest is trapped in glaciers, the polar ice caps and underground aquifers.

As the world's population grows, this finite resource decreases.

Scarcity is not a new phenomenon and water is under increasing pressure: climate change, population growth, pollution, over-extraction and mismanagement have exacerbated this crisis, making it more pressing and visible.

The UN World Water Resources Assessment Programme, in a recent report, indicated that “2.4 billion people live in countries under water stress”, the figure is alarming and is not static, because the trend indicates that will increase even more in less time.

By 2050, at least one in four people is expected to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring freshwater shortages.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the climate crisis has led to an intensification of the water cycle, meaning that humid regions will become wetter, while dry regions will become even drier.

Thus, the connection between freshwater and climate change is inextricable.

One of the most worrying phenomena is the melting of glaciers and ice sheets. Mountain glaciers are vital as freshwater reservoirs. Millions of people depend on glacial melt for drinking water, agricultural irrigation and hydroelectric energy production.

In addition to this, underground aquifers, which provide drinking water to 30% of the global population, are being depleted at an accelerated rate.

If it was believed that water has no economic value, a bigger mistake.

A new report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), titled The High Cost of Cheap Water, estimates for the first time that the annual economic value of water and freshwater ecosystems is $58 trillion. , equivalent to 60% of the world's Gross Domestic Product (GDP); Furthermore, it highlights the risks of undervaluing it.

The report, presented yesterday within the framework of World Food Day, warns that the water crisis is a serious threat to human and planetary health.

Millions of people do not have access to drinking water or sanitation services, food vulnerability intensifies and water-related threats to agriculture and industry are magnified.

The world's largest rivers are no longer flowing naturally or are dry, a third of wetlands have disappeared since 1970 and 83% of freshwater species populations have declined and their disappearance is advancing at a worrying pace. Unsustainable extraction, pollution and climate change-related impacts are to blame.

This worrying trend has led to a growing number of people facing lack of water and food supply problems. Bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes, are depleting, pollution has intensified and food sources, such as freshwater fishing, have declined.

The WWF highlights that freshwater ecosystems provide a variety of benefits, both direct and indirect. Directly, they provide economic benefits that include the supply of water for homes, agriculture and industrial sectors, which represents at least 7.5 billion dollars annually.

In contrast, invisible benefits, such as water purification, strengthening soil health, carbon sequestration, and protection against extreme floods and droughts, are seven times greater, approximately $50 billion annually.

Despite the above, the value of water is underestimated.

In this sense, the report points out that the Rio Grande or Bravo River, which should be the fifth longest river in North America, dries up near El Paso due to factors such as the construction of dams and agricultural overextraction, affecting the supply of water to six million people in the United States and just over 10 million in Mexico. These actions demonstrate the undervaluation of water and it is crucial to intervene to ensure the future of the river and the communities that depend on it.

The WWF report calls for urgent action to protect and restore freshwater ecosystems. This includes investing in nature-based solutions (improving the health of rivers, wetlands and aquifers), sustainable water infrastructure, reducing pollution and combating climate change.

It is important to raise awareness about the true value of water, encourage people to use it wisely, save water through innovative technologies and promote sustainable management.

In addition, public policies must be designed for sustainable agriculture that ensures fair prices and curbs food waste.

It is not unreasonable to say that sooner than we imagine there will not be a drop in the tap.

Redefining how we value, use and protect this resource is life or death.

Author Profile

Nathan Rivera
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Nathan Rivera, a dedicated journalist who has had the privilege of writing for the online newspaper Today90. My journey in the world of journalism has been a testament to the power of dedication, integrity, and passion.

My story began with a relentless thirst for knowledge and an innate curiosity about the events shaping our world. I graduated with honors in Investigative Journalism from a renowned university, laying the foundation for what would become a fulfilling career in the field.

What sets me apart is my unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth. I refuse to settle for superficial answers or preconceived narratives. Instead, I constantly challenge the status quo, delving deep into complex issues to reveal the reality beneath the surface. My dedication to investigative journalism has uncovered numerous scandals and shed light on issues others might prefer to ignore.

I am also a staunch advocate for press freedom. I have tirelessly fought to protect the rights of journalists and have faced significant challenges in my quest to inform the public truthfully and without constraints. My courage in defending these principles serves as an example to all who believe in the power of journalism to change the world.

Throughout my career, I have been honored with numerous awards and recognitions for my outstanding work in journalism. My investigations have changed policies, exposed corruption, and given a voice to those who had none. My commitment to truth and justice makes me a beacon of hope in a world where misinformation often prevails.

At Today90, I continue to be a driving force behind journalistic excellence. My tireless dedication to fair and accurate reporting is an invaluable asset to the editorial team. My biography is a living testament to the importance of journalism in our society and a reminder that a dedicated journalist can make a difference in the world.