In the progress towards global sustainability, the access to water and sanitation plays a double role: it is at the same time a tool and a goal of the solutions. From agriculture to the domestic supply, it provides essential information to attain SDG 6. To achieve it, governments and companies need to take into account the enormous existing asymmetries and ensure that no one is left behind.
The overexploitation of aquifers is worsening the problems caused by the natural pollution of water in many areas with hydric stress. The levels of fluoride, arsenic and other chemical compounds that are harmful to health affect millions of people all around the world, causing a very serious health issue. This is the case described by the Mexican short film Necesidad que mata (A need that kills), finalist of the We Art Water Film Festival 3.
The access to water or the lack thereof defines two types of homes: the comfortable ones, which allow a dignified and healthy life, and the ones which cannot provide their owners with anything remotely similar. Many of the 2.185 billion people with no safe access to water dream of having it at home. This is the case of the Cameroonian protagonist of the short film Utopia, finalist of the We Art Water Film Festival 3.
Extreme heat and irregular monsoons are the worst threats for India. The adaptation to the global climate crisis is particularly urgent in the large Asian country, where the life of its population directly depends on the water cycle.
Water shortages in many Venezuelan cities are worsened by power cuts and the deterioration of public services, especially affecting the poorest neighborhoods. Most of their inhabitants fight every day to obtain water outside the cities with the serious risks it entails. Others have been implementing a water survival strategy for decades. This is featured in the short film La camisa sucia (The stained shirt), finalist of the We Art Water Film Festival 3.
Water with fecal waste is one of the main causes of food contamination and its spreading in a community. The solution is to ensure safe access to water and adequate sanitation and to implement personal hygiene practices in those who prepare the food and those who eat it. The short film Pollution Cycle, finalist at the We Art Water Film Festival 4, shows how easily unclean water can spread infections through a simple sandwich.
The climate crisis can cause a severe demographic imbalance in countries that already experience a considerable water stress: uncontrolled internal migrations, less visible than cross-border ones, but with increasingly uncertain consequences. A study by the World Bank draws the attention of the international community and takes a first step towards the creation of a model to follow up a phenomenon that may affect more than 140 million people.
In India, the enormous challenge of achieving the sustainable growth of a country that in a few years will be the most populated in the world, should be based on avoiding the ruin of small farmers, empowering them to fight drought, the degradation of the land, single-crop farming and social imbalance. The construction of small self-managed reservoirs brings life to the most impoverished farmers and is a development model to be followed in semiarid regions.
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