Water Forum in Brasilia: Cultivating without thirsting the Earth, a challenge

Rationalizing the use of water for food production, when the Earth is thirsty more than ever: specialists and politicians are addressing the issue on the second day of the International Water Forum in Brasilia.

In the wake of the publication of a worrying UN report that 5.7 billion people may be short of water by 2050, agriculture must learn to be less greedy in this area. [19659002] For this, technology provides valuable assistance, with intelligent irrigation systems, drones, satellites or agricultural machinery connected to databases. The idea is to take advantage of each drop of water at the time of cultivating the land.

Perfect example of this concern: Brazil, the host country of this 8th edition of the Forum, which brings together 40,000 people including fifteen heads of state, 300 mayors of cities around the world, dozens of scientists and environmental activists.

The Latin American giant, one of the world's leading suppliers of food, spends more than 50% of water from rivers and lakes to the agricultural sector

"We want to reduce this quantity, develop more efficient plants, improve production systems and create more efficient equipment", explains to AFP Mauricio Lopes, president of Embrapa, the National Institute of Agricultural Research

"There is a boom in water management practices to save this resource, and also in plant genetics," he adds, and "this revolution is already here. "

Forum, Mr. Lopes participated in a roundtable on how the available water is consumed: "blue water", that of natural reserves like lakes, traditional source of crop irrigation, and "water green ", captured in soils and woods.

– Agriculture defends itself –

 Visitors to the Citizen Village, on the sidelines of the Water Forum in Brasilia, where we discover the need to clean the oceans. March 20, 2018. (AFP - Sergio LIMA)

Visitors to the Citizen Village, on the sidelines of the Water Forum in Brasilia, where we discover the need to clean the oceans. March 20, 2018. (AFP – Sergio LIMA)

"At a time when we are under constant pressure on the quantity of water available, it is important to do everything possible to use these resources in the most Claudia Sadoff, director of the International Water Management Institute, headquartered in Sri Lanka.

"There will be places where traditional watering will be essential. and very effective and others where soil water and biomass will be the best option.This is a subject we will need to pay more attention to in the future, "she warned.

Another aspect of the complex relationship between water use and food production is the impact on the environment.

M. Lopes stresses that Brazil, a country with the richest biodiversity in the world and whose territory is home to nearly 18% of the world's drinking water, has "still" 66% of its territory covered by native plants.

" It is very important to discuss the link between water, nature and foods.Brazil is an extremely diverse country, there are six biomass, we have very sensitive areas and to maintain this biological richness, it is necessary to water, "points out the agronomist.

" We must lead an intelligent management of the water resource in order not to lose (this) balance, "he adds.

 Visitors discover a reconstitution of life on the Brazilian base in Antarctica, on the sidelines of the Water Forum in Brasilia. March 20, 2018. (AFP - Sergio LIMA)

Visitors discover a recreation of life on the Brazilian base in Antarctica, on the sidelines of the Water Forum in Brasilia. March 20, 2018. (AFP – Sergio LIMA)

Preserving the water does not prevent to watch also the farmers: the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Isabel Garcia Tejerina, thus evoked the use of the technology like a way to revitalize the rural world, essential for food production.

"We are implementing an ambitious broadband satellite internet coverage program across Spain as a way of to have a more connected campaign, which is crucial to give the same opportunities to young farmers and to keep them in rural areas, "she said.

The all-powerful agro-sector -industrialist, criticized by environmental advocates for his responsibility in deforestation, seized the opportunity of the Brasilia Forum to ensure his defense.

"We want to take advantage of this moment to demystify these topics and prove that the producer ru he takes care of the water and the land more than anyone, because in the end, if he destroys the water sources, he will destroy his own heritage ", pleaded the president of the Confederation of Agriculture and Fisheries ( CNA), Joao Marins, by unveiling a new irrigation program.

8th World Water Forum in Brasilia: towards nature-based solutions

SHARING. This Monday, March 19, 2018 opens in Brasilia ( Brazil ) an 8 e World Water Forum that proves strategic. Titled "the sharing of water", this triennial meeting takes place just before two crucial meetings: the political forum next July (it will gather in New York most of the leaders on the objectives of access to the drinking water and sanitation by 2030) and December COP 24 in Poland on the climate where water appears as a priority in 93% of national contributions to the fight against global warming . This is the moment also chosen by Unesco to publish its world report 2018 . This sum of data gives an idea of ​​the challenges facing humanity.

World water consumption increases by 1% per year

Men currently harvest 4600 billion m 3 d water per year. Domestic use accounts for 10% against 60% for agriculture and 30% for industry. This world consumption increases by 1% per year and should reach 6000 billion m 3 per year in 2050. But access to the resource should undergo major upheavals. First, the increase in the population will increase the needs of agriculture, particularly in groundwater, which is more difficult to renew. 800 billion m 3 are now collected in the groundwater. Excessive pumping could lead to severe shortages in already stressed areas. The management of domestic water will be impacted by the growth of cities, 66% of men living in urban areas in 2050 against 54% today.

In red, areas where water shortages are already noted . The impacted areas will be more extensive in 2050, particularly in India and China. © Unesco.

80% of industrial and municipal wastewater discharged into rivers without treatment

" The deterioration of water quality is expected to intensify over the next few years decades, which would increase threats to human health, the environment and development "says Unesco citing a report of the multinational Veolia. Currently 80% of all industrial and municipal wastewater is discharged into rivers without any prior treatment. Agriculture remains the main source of nitrate increases in the natural environment and the use of chemical pesticides increases by about 2 million tonnes per year. In Europe, where the situation is much more favorable than in the rest of the world, 30% of the rivers and 40% of the lakes harbor too much phosphorus.

The evolution of the quality of water in the world. The situation is worsening mainly in East Africa, India and China. © Unesco

If the participants of the Brasilia Forum are preparing for the climate change negotiations (COP24) at the end of 2018 in Poland, it is because the issue of water is central for many states on at least two plans: rising temperatures are disrupting water availability and global warming will disrupt the water cycle and increase droughts and floods. Already, 1.8 billion people live in regions affected by desertification and drought, making it the most serious "natural disaster" for humanity. Floods have affected 2.3 billion people since 1995. Between 2005 and 2014, there was an average of 171 floods per year compared with 127 in the previous decade.

Focusing "green" infrastructures on infrastructure " "

It is these new and distressing situations that are studied throughout the week in Brasilia. With, however, reasons for hope. First, there is enough fresh water on the planet to water 10 billion people. Then, management techniques (rational irrigation, water distribution, savings in industry) exist and can be deployed quickly. Finally, the preservation of the quality of the resource uses simple and inexpensive techniques. It is on this aspect that Unesco emphasizes. " There will always be need to build dikes, to make pipes and purification plants, statue and Richard Connor, editor-in-chief of the report of Unesco. But next to these "gray" infrastructures, we have a whole panoply of "green" infrastructures relying on the ecological engineering and the use of the role played by the ecosystems "

The protection of the catchment areas of its drinking water This allows New York City to save 25 million euros a year in the cost of potabilization. In Madagascar, the "intensification system of rice" which favors a better management of water and soil has saved 25 to 50% of water and 80% of seeds while increasing the production of 25 to 50%. " Worldwide, it is estimated that agricultural production could increase by almost 20% thanks to greener practices of water management ," says Richard Connor. The margin of progress is immense. According to a report cited by UNESCO on agricultural development projects in 57 low-income countries, more efficient use of water and improved plant cover, particularly through agroforestry, have improved agricultural yields. 79% without increasing the use of pesticides

Earth could soon run out of water, warns Brasilia Forum

The UN and many scholars and politicians gathered in Brasilia on Monday urged action as soon as possible to prevent the Earth from running out of water on the first day of the International Water Forum.

" There is simply no time to lose, "Brazilian President Michel Temer, whose country, which has 18% of the country's drinking water, said in its opening speech at the 8th edition of the Forum. planet, is affected since 2012, in the Northeast, by the longest drought in its history.

"There is a consensus," added the head of state, "life on Earth is threatened if we do not respect the limits of nature. "

The UN unveiled a particularly troubling report that nearly half of the world's population – 3.6 billion people – live in areas where may be at least one month a year, up to 5.7 billion by 2050.

t of "Share Water" order, 40,000 people attend the Forum until Friday, including some fifteen heads of state, 300 mayors of cities around the world, several dozens of scientists and environmental activists.

"Nearly 97% of the world's available water resources are in trans-boundary water tables", hence the need for "effective management of shared waters," said Benedito Braga, president of the World Water Council. water, institution headquartered in Marseille (France) and organizer of the event.

– Taking inspiration from nature –

The forum meets at a time when large cities, such as Cape Town , face a dramatic lack of water. The South African metropolis has been threatened with running water in the coming months due to drought.

In the face of climate change and demographic pressure on water resources, the UN recommends that countries focus on "green solutions", taking inspiration from nature rather than building new dams and sewage treatment plants.

Natural processes can "act as regulators, cleaners and water suppliers" Richard Connor, editor-in-chief of the United Nations annual report, said in a press conference in Paris.

In Brazil, the government has launched since 2005 the largest project of its history in this field, the deviation of the San Francisco River to combat the traditional aridity of the Northeast region.

The monumental construction project, with a budget of some $ 3 billion, will bring by 2019 fresh water to four states of the region. 12 million Brazilians.

"The transformation of the region is absolutely fantastic," said Minister of National Integration Helder Barbalho.

– "Profitable Solutions" –

While demand for water is increasing, underground reserves are being depleted, pumped mainly for irrigation, and the quality of water is deteriorating, polluted by industrial and municipal wastewater and agricultural chemicals, warns the UN. 19659002] For two decades, the New York City Municipality has developed an original policy to protect the three watersheds that supply the city and its 8.5 million inhabitants: it participates in forest preservation programs and remunerates farmers for their good practices.

Result: New York "receives one of the cleanest waters in the United States," according to Richard Connor, while saving $ 300 million a year on his treatment.

For example, in Egypt, a pilot wetland project in Bilbeis, 55 kilometers north of Cairo, has treated wastewater and irrigated eucalyptus trees, while being "less expensive" than conventional solutions.

"These solutions are cost-effective" and "do not cost more," insisted Mr. Connor

The main sectors where they could be deployed are agriculture, but also "growing cities ", especially in developing countries, said the scientist.

The use of natural or semi-natural systems offers many other advantages. In addition to improving water availability and quality, "it is possible to increase agricultural production per hectare with better water management" and thus feed more people, said program coordinator Stefan Uhlenbrook United Nations World Water Assessment Agency (WWAP).

"Green" infrastructure also plays on erosion and soil quality, vegetation, drought and flood risk, even though for the moment, recourse to these solutions "remains marginal".

Opening of the international water forum in Brasilia

Brazilian President Michel Temer opened Monday the International Water Forum in Brasilia, explaining that "there is no time to lose" to avoid a catastrophe, while the UN also pulled the bell

The UN reported that nearly half of the world's population – 3.6 billion people – live in areas where water can be scarce for at least a month a year. That number could reach 5.7 billion in 2050, according to this report.

As demand grows, especially in developing countries, underground reserves are depleted, pumped mainly for irrigation, and water quality is being degraded, polluted by industrial and municipal wastewater and wastewater. agricultural chemicals, warns the UN, which advocates "green solutions."

"There is simply no time to lose," said President Temer in his opening address for the 8th edition of the Forum planned until March 23 in the Brazilian capital.

"There is a consensus," added the head of state, "life on Earth is threatened if we do not respect the limits of nature "

 Cape Town Water Crisis (AFP - Kun TIAN)

Cape Town Water Crisis (AFP – Kun TIAN)

Nearly 40,000 people attend the Forum, including about 15 chiefs of states, 300 mayors of cities around the world, and dozens of scientists and environmental activists.

The forum meets at a time when large cities like Cape Town are facing a dramatic lack of water. The South African metropolis has been threatened with running water in the coming months due to the drought.

The global water crisis is under discussion in Brasilia

Brasilia welcomes from Sunday the World Water Forum, to try to find solutions to supply problems of growing concern and affecting already several cities in the world, including Cape Town.

Nearly 40,000 people are expected in the capital of Brazil for this eighth edition of the Forum, including about fifteen heads of state, 300 mayors of cities around the world, and several dozen scientists and environmental activists, up to on March 23.

Global warming, river pollution, overconsumption of private individuals, farmers and industrialists: a source of life, water is threatened everywhere.

"There are more dams, more vehicles, more production and more inhabitants, for measures of protection still very weak compared to the impact already felt ", explains to AFP Ney Maranhao, director of the National Agency of Water (ANA), organization Brazilian regulator.

Monday, Unesco must make public in Brasilia its annual report entitled "Solutions based on nature, for water."

For the director of the forum, Ricardo Medeiros, the question of water must be thought beyond the purely environmental aspect

 The 45 countries in water scarcity in the world (AFP - Thomas SAINT-CRICQ)

The 45 countries in water scarcity in the world (AFP – Thomas SAINT-CRICQ)

"It is now necessary to go beyond the traditional speech evoking an essential element of life, to recognize it as an engine of development", added this engineer, member of the World Water Council, NGO based in Marseille (South of France) which organizes the forum every three years

"It is clear that the traditional speeches do not work", adds Coling Strong, American specialist author of a report on the public management global water problems

"We can manage a situation drought if we have a plan beforehand to respond to the crisis. But if cities do not have the means to respond to supply problems, there will be other situations like Cape Town, "he says.

-" Stimulating Cooperation "- [19659002TheSouthAfricanmetropolishasbeenthreatenedwithwatershortageinthecomingmonthsduetothedroughtandthesituationremainsextremelyworryingalthoughlocalauthoritiessaidlastweekthat"ZeroDay"wouldhavenotoccurin2018ifrationingofconsumptionwasmaintainedandexpectedrainsinthecomingmonthsmaterialized

More than a quarter of renewable water resources (which do not include Antarctic ice, about 60% of the planet's reserves) are found in Latin America, compared to 60 times less in the Middle East and North Africa, regions with critical per capita resources.

Experts are concerned about possible extinction, in a few days ten years ago, aquifer reserves in part of the Ganges basin in India, southern Spain and Italy, or in the central valley of California.

Brazil, where 18% of the planet's drinking water is also hit hard by global warming. Some areas in the north-east of the country have been affected by the longest drought in their history since 2012.

"Water must be an element that unites communities, nations, not the motive for World War III, as some say, aims to share good practices, solutions and experiences, to boost cooperation between countries, "says Ricardo Medeiros.