Friday August 31, 2012

Today concludes World Water Week, held annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute. One of the seminars was titled, “Addressing the Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus: Challenges and Solutions in (International) River Basins”. The seminar focused on the Mekong Basin and similar systems where rivers and the resources they provide are shared by several nations. Water Week brings together high-level officials and CEOs from multiple sectors, including representatives from governments, financial institutions, industry, the sciences, and conservation groups. This unique forum highlights the many ways that water is integral to human health, economic growth, and biodiversity. For many of us around the world, we simply twist the tap and drinkable water flows. Who knows where it came from? Who knows where it’s going? Though some of us may take water for granted, it influences nearly every aspect of our lives. From the production of bottled beverages, to the cooling of industrial machinery, processing of fabrics, extraction of minerals, fisheries, production of electricity and timber; not to mention agriculture, transportation, recreation, and water for household cooking, cleaning, showering, and drinking; we use a lot of water for a lot of purposes. Apart from the obvious economic benefits to society, aquatic systems also hold their own inherent values, attracting us for their beauty and supporting a wide variety of organisms. As severe droughts are becoming more frequent across the U.S. and the world, perhaps water will be at the forefront of all our minds before long.

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