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.
The heat absorbed by cities affects the health of their inhabitants, alters local weather, and pollutes water. Fighting this phenomenon is possible and necessary for a future in which more than 70% of the population will live in cities. Bringing nature back into the asphalt and concrete is the solution.
International action to protect the seas has not yet begun. Although we understand its importance now more than ever, the recent Ocean Conference in New York has not resulted in any agreement beyond declarations of good intentions. Promoting and disseminating the idea of thinking about water, regardless of whether it is fresh or salty, is a necessary step to unblock the disastrous international standstill that is undermining all SDGs.
Millions of households around the world need water from tanker trucks to live. Droughts, overexploitation, pollution, and lack of investment in infrastructure make this population grow by the day. It is an essential type of supply when all else fails, but it is often informal, unregulated, and without health guarantees. We must consider this so that this solution is fair for everyone and does not jeopardize the future of access to water.
Urban runoff from heavy downpours releases a vast amount of water that is lost, pollutes, and causes flooding. Controlling this water that cannot flow through impermeable soil and taking advantage of its enormous potential is one of the keys to the regenerative city envisaged in SDG 11.
Achieving universal access to sanitation requires us to develop decentralized alternatives that, disconnected from sewerage networks and centralized treatment, allow the most disadvantaged communities to obtain the minimum conditions of health and dignity. They are a valuable option in slums and remote rural areas where neither a sewerage network nor centralized treatment plants are feasible. They are an option for communities to reap the benefits of the circular economy and self-management.
Small-scale rainwater harvesting enables many families to drink, cook and wash when supplies fail. It is an increasingly useful resource when aquifers are polluted or depleted, and a tool for adapting to climate change in many dry and depressed areas.
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.
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