World Water Day focuses on food security

LIHU‘E — World Water Day 2012, coordinated by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, was observed throughout the globe Thursday. This year’s WWD was focused on water and food security.

“Unless we increase our capacity to use water wisely in agriculture, we will fail to end hunger and we will open the door to a range of other ills, including drought, famine and political instability,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his official message for WWD 2012.

There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050, according to the UN website.

Every day, each person drinks from half a gallon to a gallon of water embedded in the food they eat; producing a pound of beef consumes roughly 2,000 gallons of water while a pound of wheat uses 200 gallons, states the UN website.

The Nature Conservancy website states the average water footprint of an American is  751,777 gallons a year.

“Ninety six percent of this water is ‘hidden’ water used to grow and make things you eat, wear and use and to generate energy,” states the Nature Conservancy website.

The top eight crops with the largest water footprint, according the Nature Conservancy, are grazing grass for livestock, cotton, soybean, wheat, fodder crops (livestock feed), coffee, barley, barley and corn.

In the aftermath of the storm on Kaua‘i earlier this month, residents and visitors were asked to conserve water during the Detect A Leak Week.

Water conservation efforts are crucial during heavy rains. Waste water makes its way to water-saturated grounds, contributing to flooding and cesspool back up, which in turn can cause significant financial losses.

International WWD is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources, states the UN website. Each year, WWD highlights a specific aspect of freshwater.

An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The UN General Assembly responded by designating March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day.

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