Wowww! Young Water Leaders Summit, 2014 No doubt it’s superb event for the youth so much of diversity in thinking, lot of ideas, thousands of issues I am just surprised to experience it that all the kind of things Challenges, opportunities and Leaders are on one table let’s have a look what has been discussed what was the agenda something has planned or not? Is there any kind of road map the young leaders have or not?
This event assembled different youths from all over the domain to have debates concerning water concerns. YWLS sessions have weighty role in informing and in inspiring these youths. Different issues were on the table about water and sanitation, water security and water stewardship. Water security clutches about water availability Water underpins the very fabric of human life – our food and drink, the clothes we wear, the landscapes we enjoy, the societies we live in, the length and quality of our lives. The essential role that water plays in national life – in energy supply, infrastructure, economic growth, healthcare, education and culture – makes water a central concern for national policies.
Because the water cycle is global, the availability, use and security of water transcend local, national and even continental boundaries. Water security is under severe pressure from many sources; a world population explosion, rapid shifts of people from rural to urban areas, the impact of dietary change as countries develop, increasing pollution of water resources, the over-abstraction of groundwater and the not insignificant issues created by climate change. The world is far from water secure. In many parts of the world the demand for water is already much greater than the available supply. This is not an issue that affects only developing countries, where water infrastructure is poor and where many people do not have access to safe drinking water, but also the developed world, where burgeoning demand simply cannot continue to be met. Water for agriculture and, therefore, food is not given sufficient attention on the global stage, where water supply and sanitation issues currently dominate. In order to move water for agriculture up the agenda on the global scene, water engineers, farmers, economists and policy makers will need to improve their communications with one another.
Water has traditionally been regarded as a free resource. Any costs for water are usually associated with the cost of processing and delivery alone, rather than assigning any inherent value to the resource. There is growing interest internationally in the use of water pricing to reduce demand as well as to generate revenue to cover the cost of providing water supplies and maintaining infrastructure. Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have many other serious repercussions. Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water. Poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness, health systems are overwhelmed and national economies suffer. Without WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), sustainable development is impossible.
On the other hand, water and sanitation talked about water treatment and clean water. We have more than half of the earth covered by water. Only less than one percent of these water is freshwater that is used by human. The availability of irrigation water of good quality was always a scarce resource. The impacts of climate change further reduce the fresh water availability for agriculture in arid and semi-arid regions. Irrigation has more significant importance for cash crops like cotton in the developing countries. To overcome the water shortage the use of marginal quality ground water and irrigation return flows are becoming more pronounced particularly in arid regions.
Pakistan’s economy is primarily an agrarian based as agriculture sector is contributing about 21% to its GDP, nearly 50% of its work force, and providing livelihood to more than 67 % of its population, which is residing mostly in the rural areas. The irrigated agriculture is practiced at about 16 million hectares (Mha) while rainfed crops are being grown at four Mha. Since agriculture uses 96% of the diverted water resources in Pakistan, irrigation water management is directly related to poverty reduction. So the discussion helps to have a look to my homeland it’s issues, challenges and what can be possible all the stuff is discussed by the young water leaders.
These actions, no matter how big or small they are, have an impact to society and environment. The YWLS gave opportunities to youth on discussing and networking with different sectors. This forum enables me to have different choices on what I wanted to focus regarding water. Water is a very huge topic. It can be subdivided to different branches in order be precise. This summit helped me understand more and be aware more on different water issues.
By Abid Sarwar