WHERE IS WATER?
By Steve Cutts
In order to use and properly manage our freshwater resources we need to know how much we have at our disposal but also where we might find it. But is that easy? We know how much liquid freshwater is available today for human use: 1% of the whole amount of water present in the planet. Where is it? Hydrological and hydrogeological maps can greatly help to visually present complex data and information. In fact we are used to see surface streams of water, such as rivers or lakes, but perhaps it is not known that 97% of that little 1% is actually invisible to us as it is contained in the ground below our feet. However, knowing the geographical distribution of water it’s only a part of the answer to the original question. In fact, water can also be imported or embedded inside the food we eat during the production processes. The concepts of ‘virtual water’ and ‘water footprint’ dig into the dynamics of international trade and show how water has increasingly become a geopolitical asset. Agriculture and industry are intensive water users, so it is incumbent for these sectors to implement innovative technologies for water saving. By applying ever-improving management and conservation strategies, it is possible to ensure the world has enough and safe freshwater to meet the needs of today and of generations to come. We are also personally responsible for the global water consumption thus we need to optimize our domestic water usage (particularly in developed countries) and be aware of the products we buy and consume in order to minimize our water footprint.
Steve Cutts is an illustrator and animator currently living and working in London. His work looks at social and political subjects and uses satire and dark humour to convey social messages within his films. Amongst a number of successful short films, “MAN” has been nominated for various awards including the Digital Content Award at the Environmental Media Awards and has been endorsed by Dr. Jane Goodall. His art and film is mixed in humor and sometimes a more serious spin of man’s interaction with our environment and how it impacts the world we live in.
Below you may find a selection of resources related to the topics displayed and discussed in the short movie. This is a non-exhaustive list which only serves to provide with additional background material. Most of the subjects tackled have been covered by different World Water Development Reports which are listed in a separate section, followed by a number of external resources.
“Virtual Water: Tackling the Threat to Our Planet’s Most Precious Resource” by Tony Allan
A thirst for power: A global analysis of water consumption for energy production (Dr. Edward Spang, University of California, Davis, US)
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