Simple processes of the water cycle, such as evaporation or condensation, may trigger the energy of several nuclear bombs every day. Hurricanes such as Matthew are phenomena that take millions of lives every year and lead millions of people to poverty, illnesses and starvation. Science needs to play an important role with forecasts, but prevention is not enough, we need to know and to manage all the factors involved before, during and after the catastrophe.
No matter how much a city has abused nature, there is always something we can do to ease the damage: to recover water. That is the conclusion reached by the ambitious and complex project Mexico, Lakeside City by the Mexican architect Alberto Kalach: The severe water deterioration problems caused by large cities may be solved with inventiveness and social education.
We need to face this fact: water is too scarce to use it only once. It is a resource that will become increasingly difficult to obtain due to over-exploitation and climate change. Its reuse will be more and more necessary if we want everyone on the Earth to have access to it.
The future of the planet depends on young people. It will not be possible to achieve a safe access to water and sanitation for everyone, to adapt to climate change and to reduce its effects without the awareness of schoolchildren. Boys and girls need to act now as active agents in the creation of a social knowledge that makes them resilient in those less favoured communities that are threatened by global warming. Education is the key factor.
There is something worse than not having any water: not having anyone aware of it. In the big data era, the figures we have at hand on the access to water and sanitation are inaccurate: they do not reflect the reality of many obsolete installations, there are no reliable population censuses and many factors that make the access to water difficult are unknown or they are beyond the control of the responsible institutions. This invisibility is a second condemnation to oblivion: if we do not see them we cannot help them. Within these unregistered groups of population, women and girls are even more marginalized.
Being able to drink high-quality water is a privilege that depends on the rigorous control systems we do not see. However, we would not be able to live without them. A reflection on the quality of drinking water raises our awareness of its vulnerability and of the high cost of wasting and polluting it.
The short film by Bertrand Ndukong, winner of the We Art Water Film Festival 3 in the micro-fiction category, denounces the harsh reality of millions of African women who, due to the lack of access to water, need to make the most of the little water they are able to carry with the risks this implies for their safety, health and education.
Maximize takes place in Cameroon, one of the countries with the greatest climate contrasts in the world. One “miniature Africa” that shows us the range of water access problems suffered by the inhabitants of the continent.
The We Are Water Foundation collaborates with the Vicente Ferrer Foundation promoting the installation of photovoltaic panels to operate the pumps that draw water from the subsoil and distribute it in a drip irrigation system. The goal is to revolutionize the farming productivity and water management in the Anantapur and Kurnool regions, some of the poorest areas hit by desertification and threatened by climate change.