March 22 is World Water Day, 2010’s theme is “Clean Water for a Healthy World.”
It is estimated that one is six people on the globe do not have access to clean drinking water, this is about 1.1 billion people whose water supplies are contaminated and unsafe to use. “More people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war… The world has the know-how to solve these challenges and become better stewards of our water resources. Water is central to all our development goals… let us protect and sustainably manage our waters for the poor, the vulnerable and for all live in Earth” Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the UN commented.
On World Water Day in Australia there has been call to price water according to its actual worth. Water supply in Australia fluctuates substantially, however the price of water does not reflect these changes in supply and demand. The Environment Institute’s Director, Mike Young advocates pricing water according to availability, where all users pay the same price for every cubic metre. “Inclining block tariff schemes should be phased out,” he said. “They are very inequitable. Only help those in need and use targeted programs to do this. Consider increasing Centrelink and pension payments instead.”
Studies released by the OECD to coincide with WWD, say that correctly pricing water encourages more sustainable usage investment in water infrastructure and a reduction in pollution. These products of putting the right price on water could help the world achieve the Millenium Development Goal of clean safe water for half of the 1.1 billion without access to safe water.
On March 24, the first Water Wednesday forum for 2010 falls in the same week as the World Water Day. The topic is “Is storm water flowing out to sea really wasted?” To reserve a place at this seminar click here.