Speakers: Demand for water will rise by 50% by 2050

The demand for water will increase by 50% by 2050, said speakers at a program.

The 6th International Water Conference of ActionAid Bangladesh was held on Friday, read a press release issued yesterday.

MP Saber Hossain Chowdhury, while addressing the gathering as the chief, said: “By the year 2050 the demand for water will go up by 50%.”

Besides, four billion people in the world face water scarcity at least for a few months of year, said the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry.

He also mentioned that Covid-19 has made us rethink that water should be taken care of from a holistic point of view which ranges from the source to distribution, economic cycle, agriculture, and then coming back to nature.

About the unique geographic feature of Bangladesh and its relationship with river and water, Professor Saleemul Huq, director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCAD) said that for every single area of this country water is the key part as Bangladesh is a deltaic country of three main rivers.

About the drought and flood situation of Bangladesh he also mentioned that the Barendra areas are drought prone and people are dependent on groundwater for their irrigation, which is getting depleted.

During the dry or winter season water scarcity is a big problem he added.

Swiss Ambassador to Dhaka Nathalie Chuard said that water as a common good, and key natural resource, is important for bilateral relationships. “We should learn to peacefully manage our common water and Covid-19 is a wakeup call that we cannot afford to ignore.” 

Ken O’Flaherty, COP26 regional ambassador, Asia Pacific and South Asia, FCO-Cabinet Office COP26 Unit Joint Team, said that the UK has clearly stated that to achieve the sustainable development goal all countries need to be helped, and adaptation and resilience is the top priority for the UK government.

During the first thematic session on Water and Climate: Grassroot innovations and Solutions, the speakers emphasized on the grassroots innovations and solutions over the technological solutions.

Dr Dipak Gyawali, academician and former minister of Water Resources, Nepal, said that local community sees the water resource management from a different angle.

Local solutions and innovations such as brushwood dams or rubber dams are more useful, he mentioned. “These innovations see natural resources like water as common pool goods.”

Dr Liyan Zheng, professor and director, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, China mentioned how China has innovated local solutions for the water crisis.

She stated that for some of the flood prone areas they have special community-based design solutions.

Zheng also appreciated Bangladesh Water Museum as it has used some simple solutions made with locally available materials.

She also argued that policy makers should have careful investigation and study on grassroots innovations and solutions before developing any policy.

Farah Kabir, country director, ActionAid Bangladesh, in her closing remarks on the last day of this International Conference, said: “We should shift from the land-centric to water centric approach.”

She also appreciated that the three-day International Water Conference brought out of the box perceptions.

Since women and young girls are the key manager of household water resources, they should have access to water related decision making, Farah also added.

Among others, Ibrahim Khalil Al-Zayad, member of General Assembly, ActionAid International Bangladesh Society; Dr Bushra Nishat, environmental specialist, South Asia Region Environment Unit of World Bank; Dr Vanh Mixap, Business Innovation Program lead at Melbourne Water; and Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, professor, department of International Relations, Dhaka University were present In this closing sessions the International Water Conference.

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