Humans have been wasting and misusing water, one of the most valuable resources on earth, to such an extent that water scarcity is now threatening ecosystems worldwide. In many countries water shortages are so acute that clean and safe drinking water are hard to come by while the few water self-sufficient ones are anticipating shortages soon. Education and raising awareness of the need to conserve water is a global priority.
In the Arab world, most of it arid and receiving very little precipitation, water availability is decreasing and water shortages increasing rapidly, threatening food and national security and even political stability of countries. Climate change is projected to intensify the problems as the region is considered most sensitive and vulnerable to its impacts.
It is high time people stopped taking water availability for granted and started applying basic water conservation strategies. Experts in the field have suggested several solutions to conserve water. Major suggestions include:
- Recycling waste water and agricultural drainage, very little of which is being done at present.
- Increasing irrigation efficiency: Agriculture sector is a major consumer of water. Using high-tech farming techniques (Greenhouses, vertical farming, hydroponics etc) and extensive use of modern irrigation systems (Sprinkler, drip, fountain and other precision irrigation systems) can make a big difference. Growing crops suitable for local climate which consume minimum water works well too.
- Water harvesting: Rain water harvesting is a key solution. While already being widely implemented, there is huge scope for improvement.
- Reduction of water loss in distribution networks.
It is imperative for everyone to act on reducing water footprint and to optimise usage in whatever capacity, even individually. Our future depends on it.