24 Aug ‘SEEING THE UNSEEN: THE VALUE OF WATER’
August 23 to September 01 in the year 2022, is the week where the water experts, enthusiasts and environmentalists will gather in Stockholm, Sweden. The reason being the WORLD WATER WEEK CONFERENCE which invites all stakeholders to participate and deliberate on the status of the water and its related issues. The theme is ‘Seeing the unseen: The value of water’.
DETAILS OF THE CONFERENCE
The conference has been organised by the Stockholm International water Institute(SIWI) since 1991 to bring all stakeholders at common place and discuss the ways to deal with water issues. It brings out the participation of NGOs, water activists, research scientists, business enthusiasts and various international organisations.
WATER AND ITS UNSEEN VALUE
The Earth is possibly the only known planet which hosts a significant amount of the water. Surface has 71% area occupied by the water leaving 29% space for the continental landmass. The water distribution is highly uneven in the world and thus makes it more significant.
WATER AND LIFE
Of overall water on the surface hardly 2.5% is drinkable freshwater in different forms and thus involves use by the living. It is possibly the mutual relation of the solar radiation and the water which makes life on the surface possible. In fact, of the living body it forms a significant proportion like for example the human body is made up of almost 60-70% water which can be tagged as ‘water body’. Water by means of hydrological cycle re-circulates and maintains its balance over the globe.
WATER AND CULTURE
Water is the most important determinant of the civilisation of humans. Even in ancient times, the preference of humans to settle was in the periphery of the lake,well and river which gives circular, semi-circular patterns of settlements. It is no wonder that the most ancient and enriching civilisations flourished on the banks of the rivers. The best example is Indus valley civilisation at the banks of the Indus, Egyptian at the Nile and Mesopotamian at the Euphrates-Tigris. Even in technology bombarded civilisation of modern times the preference for sea facing apartments and lake view houses shows the affinity of man towards water.
Many festivals of the world are water related and depend on the nature of water. As Songkran in
Thailand, Thingyan in Myanmar are a few examples. The water sports are also common and promote tourism as in Kerala’s snake boat race.
WATER AND ECONOMY
Water dependent economy is the major thrust behind the current civilisation. Almost all major industries are dependent on the availability of water, for example the steel industry in Jamshedpur. Also the water as a means of transportation actually drives our economic growth. In the world, almost 80% of world trade by volume is by marine routes and additionally supported by the inland navigational channels. Also booming water exporting industry, meat and processing, fishing and canning and tourism are major parts of the water economy.
WATER AND POLITICS
Water is a major driver of politics in the world and with incremental development of mankind the importance of water as a political tool will, no doubt, increase. The world can trace many political disputes originating from the water as it negatively impacts the federal character in India. Almost 10 water dispute tribunals are formed till date and many more demands are in the pipelines. Even internationally, there are numerous examples of countries fighting for water but rare examples of cooperation like the Sankosh river treaty between India- Bhutan.
WATER AND ECOSYSTEM
Water is the most important abiotic component of an ecosystem. It activates all major ecosystems phenomena and makes them enriching the earth. Water is an important biological resource which when utilised to the fullest potential can bring degrading ecosystem balance backtrack.
Thus water is “life” and everyone of us has to take his own part to make it more equitably and sustainably available to everyone (flora and fauna). Governments are taking their part seriously now with few exceptions and conferences like this are real breeding ground for water changes. The need is also to promote individual responsibility as problems like water scarcity can only be solved by it.