In Nepal, only 15% of the rural population has access to a safe water source in their homes. The short film Homework, a finalist at the We Art Water Film Festival 5, shows how Sumnima, a village school student, cannot complete her homework because she has to fetch water for her family. All this in a country whose mountains make it the second most water-abundant country on Earth. Nepal is fighting to end this paradox.
India is the world’s largest groundwater extractor. The country is home to 16% of the world’s population but has only 4% of the planet’s freshwater resources. Many of its aquifers are overexploited. The solutions lie in promoting efficiency in local water management. This will only be possible if communities are involved in solutions and if they acquire knowledge and governance rights. A role model for dryland agriculture.
In many rural communities in El Salvador, poor governance, industrial overexploitation, and pollution leave them without access to water. The short film Private Waters, a finalist of the fifth edition of the We Art Water Film Festival, shows how the El Rodeo community has organized itself to guarantee its survival and health.
Science has virtually reached an ultimatum. The next few years are critical to mitigating the climate crisis. We must halve greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 to prevent the atmosphere from warming at its current rate. Failure to do so could derail the world’s adaptation efforts in the face of droughts, floods, rising sea levels, and heat waves. Achieving this is now the priority, and we are running out of time.
Concurrent droughts, occurring at the same time in different regions of the world, are the most concerning phenomena for ending hunger. Their effects, combined with economic crises, wars and political instability, are often devastating in humanitarian terms for the poorest countries and have dire consequences on a global scale. Climate science is redoubling its efforts to improve forecasting. But international political action is essential.
The Sahrawi refugees who have been living in the Algerian desert for 46 years continue to face an uncertain future. The Spanish government’s recent policy shift has rescued one of the world’s longest-running humanitarian crises from oblivion. The short 22nd of April by Cesare Maglioni, finalist at the We Art Water Film Festival 5, shows how difficult it is to wash one’s hands in Smara, one of the five camps that host them, where a daily struggle for water, malnutrition, and hygiene is fought.
What unites such diverse and geographically distant areas? The need to effectively manage water, a scarce commodity. The Smart Water, Smart (Collective) Creativity conference series ends its first phase by promoting a cross-cutting vision among some leading players in human progress: architecture, design, industry, technology, and tourism. The signing of an agreement between the Foundation and the Region of Murcia is an example of the synergies and collaborations needed to preserve the value of water.
Solving the dichotomy between the value and price of water is essential to face a future of significant water risks. Efficient management and raising public awareness of the importance of the water cycle are tools that will allow us to reach an international consensus in the face of the threat of overpopulation and climate change. On World Water Day, we discussed the value and price of water in the World Majlis at the Expo 2020 in Dubai.
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