The trouble with water – and there is trouble with water – is that they’re not making any more of it. They’re not making any less, but no more either – there is the same amount of water on the planet now as there was in prehistoric times.
People, however, they’re making more of – and all those people are utterly dependent on water for their lives, for their livelihoods, their food, and, increasingly, their industry. Humans can live for a month without food, but will die in less than a week without water. Humans consume water, discard it, poison it, waste it, and heedlessly change the hydrological cycles, indifferent to the consequences. Too many people, too little water, water in the wrong places at the wrong times and in the wrong amounts. The human population is burgeoning, but water demand is increasing twice as fast.
Water is in crisis in China, in south-east Asia, in south-west America, in North Africa – indeed, in much of Africa except the Congo, Niger, and Zambezi basins. Even in Europe there are shortages: drought is no longer a word alien to England, where water tables have been dropping since the early 1990s. In many parts of Europe, downstream towns and cities are beginning to feel the consequences of the careless alteration in age-old hydrological eco-systems, as rivers suddenly rage out of control, wetlands dry up, and contaminants enter the groundwater.
And in all these places, the quality of the water that is available is bad, and getting steadily worse. There are, therefore, not one but two overlapping water crises: the crisis of supply and the crisis of quality. Or, to put another way, there is a sufficiency of water on the planet if we manage the resource correctly; the real problem is providing consumers with water that is fit to drink.
Extract from Water Wars by Marq de Villiers
(Published in Sublime Magazine Issue 4)
Sublime joins the UN’s efforts towards tackling Sustainable Development Goal 6 “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. As water is a basic human right and a desperate need for every human being on our planet, we believe that in coming together collectively through celebration, collaboration and conscious effort; we can help create a world where clean water is not only a luxury that is accessible to only a few countries.