03/15/2006, 00.00
ASIA

More than one billion people without drinking water

The World Bank says water is lacking above all in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. The fourth World Water Forum is about to start, to decide on intervention to fight this atavistic thirst.

Mexico City (AsiaNews/SCMP) – The fourth World Water Forum kicks off tomorrow in Mexico City. A shortage of drinking water affecting more than one billion people in developing countries will be discussed.

World Bank statistics indicate that the shortage will hit three billion people by 2035, nearly all the lesser developed countries, especially in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Added to the hardship it causes in daily life, this deprivation obstacles economic development and prevents millions of people from overcoming poverty.

The Forum will discuss investment needed to fight the shortage with collaboration between donor states and developing countries, private entities and local communities.

Rich countries have long had access to efficient, capillary hydraulic systems and they exploit their resources. They are also favoured by mild climates, regular rains and a low risk of drought or flooding. In less developed nations, however, there is extreme variety of rains, while floods and periods of drought deal heavy blows to the economy and loss of life.

There is need, therefore, for less developed states to equip themselves with improved hydraulic structures and more careful management and distribution of resources. There is need to provide water to people, but also to improve irrigation installations and those for the creation of energy, as well as preventing drought and flooding.

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