A Global Perspective

The world water forum opened today in Istanbul, Turkey amid a growing global fresh water and clean water crisis. Not only is demand higher today because of population growth, but also because of an increased need for energy production.

China, a nation with an enormous population and an intense appetite for energy has been using the world economic downturn to buy up natural resources at an alarming rate. They are also known as great polluters leaving rivers, lakes and underground aquifers littered with industrial pollution. Nearly a quarter of the rural population lives with unsafe drinking water and many Chinese cities’ water quality doesn’t meet the nation’s standard, according to World Watch.

And China is just one example. India is quickly sucking dry their aquifer and Sub-Saharan Africa’s water supply leaves 340 million people without access to clean, safe drinking water.

That is why this fifth World Water Forum has focused on good governance as key to meeting global goals for safe, abundant fresh water. A report released at the conference has found that government corruption and crooked contractors are hindering causing progress.

A big brouhaha arose when some damn clean river advocates from California unfurled a banner decrying the use of damns. Turkish authorities are deporting them unless they choose to stay for a year in a Turkish prison.

Canada and the US share the Great Lakes – we are second to Russia for the largest fresh water holdings. Such status requires us to be good stewards and demands that we restore the Great Lakes for future generations. Great Lakes states may get worried when Sunbelt states drool over our fresh water reserves, but when you look at the big picture, we have a lot more to worry about than the fair weather migrants.

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