The future of food security depends on achieving maximum efficiency in agricultural water use. Nearly three quarters of the freshwater we withdraw is used for crops and livestock. Irrigating efficiently and developing low water footprint methods will enable us to cope with the water stress that climate change is only increasing.
Meeting physiological needs remains unsafe for more than 962 million people without adequate facilities. The global achievement of health, full schooling, and gender equality depends on one of the simplest and most inexpensive elements of sanitation. On World Toilet Day, the UN reminds us that we are still far from having toilets for everyone.
The large Nile basin is the stage for the biggest political disagreement over access to water resources in recent times. The interests of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia represent the dramatic dependence of agriculture, energy, security, and the environment on water management. Partnerships must prove that we can meet and overcome a challenge of this magnitude.
The dissemination of fake news and campaigns aimed at discrediting the SDGs and the science behind them has increased in recent years. Denialism and conspiracy theories exploit climate alarm to confuse public opinion with clear political intent. Knowing how to communicate science and solidarity-based solutions is the antidote.
Securing clean water and safe sanitation and hygiene facilities is essential but not enough. Knowledge must go hand in hand with achievement. Schools are the foundation for health and hygienically efficient behavior, and students guarantee that communities keep moving forward. Two new projects in India give us a broader perspective.
We are not progressing as we should to meet the 2030 Agenda. Despite improvements in some goals, the lack of progress is troubling in eradicating extreme poverty, improving food security, and climate and environmental action. There is also a slowdown in water and sanitation. A recent UN report summarizes a situation that we must reverse.
Water stress is increasingly present all across the world. If we do not take measures in the short term, the situation will be critical by the middle of this century and will seriously threaten the world's geopolitical balance. The data are compelling. Demographics, the growth of extractivism, and climate change are against us. On the positive side, we have the growing awareness of governments and companies and increasingly knowledgeable citizens.
The urgency of finding new forms of collaboration was a recurring message at World Water Week. We have exceeded the planetary water limits, and the need for a change of mindset in innovation and governance must involve all sectors and all countries.
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