Once again Dominica joins the rest of the world in the observance of World Water Day.
Every year on March 22nd, the international community pause to focus attention on this important, life-giving but finite commodity called water. This year the theme chosen by the United Nations for the observance of WWD is “Nature for Water”.
The intention therefore is to bring into focus the many challenges mankind faces in sourcing water. The research also states that “damaged eco-systems affect the quantity and quality of water that is available for human consumption”.
It is estimated that 2.1 billion people live without safe drinking water at home. Thus the impact on human life is significant. The impact of water scarcity on health, education and livelihoods are just a few of the issues that world governments have to address in the interest of safeguarding the well-being of their citizens.
As the observance takes place on that day (March 22nd) and the days ahead, here are a few facts about world’s water supply.
1. 844 million people are living without access to safe water, while 2.3 billion people are living without access to improved sanitation.
2. Each year 1 million people are killed by water, sanitation and hygiene related diseases
3. Ninety-five percent of water used daily is wasted.
4. The world’s total water supply equates to 332.5 million cubic miles
5. In 2015, the United Nations agreed to a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030 for the improvement of water
6. “Thousands have lived without love, not without water” – W.H Auden
7. “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water’. – Loren Eisley
8. ‘Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.” Lao Tzu
9. “Water is the driving force of all nature.” – Lorenzo da Vinci
10. “For many of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it.” Marcus Samuelsson
Here in the Dominica the impact of water scarcity was felt in the days, weeks and even months following the passage of Hurricane Maria on September 18th 2017. Even as Dominica joins the rest of the world in this observance, there are a few more communities without that essential resource delivered at their home. The cost of restoring the service up to 96% costed the utility in excess of $12, 000,000.00. Even then the service is still very susceptible to the vagaries of inclement weather patterns. It will require in excess of $40,000,000.00 to build the type of resilience for the sector that can mitigate the impact of these destructive storms.
Another major consideration for the optimal management of our resources is the existing, denuded landscapes. As a consequent, the water courses (rivers) are exposed to the sun’s rays, resulting in accelerated transpiration and so we lose hundreds of thousands of gallons of water every day to the atmosphere. Notice too the prolific growth of algae in many of our rivers. This s as a direct result of the increased exposure to the sunlight. This massive growth of algae has the effect of lowering the oxygen levels in the water and its attendant impact on the aquatic life as well as a lowering of the quality of water for human use. We need therefore, to bring back the lost forest cover for all the benefits it provides, not least the reduction of evapo-transpiration.
So the lesson for the observation of WWD in Dominica is clear for all of us.
– We must act collectively to safeguard the well-being of our rivers.
– We must resist the temptation to waste water and to use this important natural resource in a judicious way for the benefit of mankind.
– We must all remember that this is a finite resource. Meaning? It can he exhausted. Once lost it will cost us the hundreds of millions of scarce resources, we do not have, or that we need for other development purposes, to produce potable water in the quality and quantity that is needed.
Water is life. Let us therefore cherish it.