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.
This summer's floods in the Mediterranean have exceeded all forecasts. The tragedy in Libya shows the lethal vulnerability of the combination of a cyclone and the neglect of water facilities. Implementing the Global Early Warning Initiative becomes urgent, as does the visibility of the most exposed areas of the world with the most vulnerable water facilities.
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.
Groundwater extraction and large dams affect the tilt of the Earth's axis and the rotation speed. These are irrelevant phenomena, but they invite us to reflect on our accumulated power.
Losses from natural disasters reached USD 275 billion in 2022. Only 125 billion were covered by insurance. The World Bank takes action and warns that poverty is synonymous with vulnerability. Climate forecasts force us to take a different approach and face a management challenge that cannot be postponed.
Water science is essential for understanding and managing groundwater resources. It provides knowledge that should be accessible to all, especially those without access. It is the basis for agricultural self-sufficiency, health, and dignity. Our experience recovering wells and water bodies corroborates its importance in facing droughts with sustainable facilities.
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