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The world is thirsty: and it wastes water

The drought is causing a water alarm in many countryside and cities of our peninsula. Piedmont, Lombardy, Lazio and Sicily are the first regions to demand a state of emergency. But the problem is not Italian, it concerns the whole world

By Gianfranco Gatta

Water is life and man needs water to survive. Not only is the human body formed by more than 60% of water, but together with the air, they are the essential resources for living.

This was understood by the pre-Socratic thinkers from the far sixth century BC, the first to reject mythological explanations as the origin of the world. From the school of Miletus came out the theses that Water and Air were the origin of everything. They were times in which absolute value was given to the spirit and little importance to the economy.

Today in the name of the economy we are polluting the air and poisoning the water and the spirit goes to hell!

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On earth there is the same amount of fresh water that there has always been, but the population has exploded, putting in severe crisis the world’s water resources. Water covers almost 70% of our planet while fresh water represents only 2.5%.

According to the United Nations, the use of water has more than doubled in the last century compared to the rate of population growth. It is estimated that by 2025 more than two billion people will be living in areas affected by water shortages and that two thirds of the world’s population will live in regions subject to water stress due to use, growth and climate change. 

The increase in CO2 levels, linked to a greater warming of the earth, leads to a greater vegetative development and an extension of the vegetative cycle that will tend to dry up the environments.

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Water scarcity is an abstract concept for many and a cruel reality for others. It is a "combined arrangement" of environmental, political, economic and social forces. The challenge for the immediate future is how to preserve, manage and effectively distribute the water we have.

As early as 2010, the then Director-General of FAO, Jacques Diouf, called water "the greatest challenge of the 21st century". For more than twenty years, China and Africa have been in water shortages and nothing has been done to stem and prevent this phenomenon, thereby encouraging economic migration flows. 

It’s predominantly a political problem that requires political, fundamentally international, solutions. But the solutions, political and technical, cannot be separated from the knot (loop?) that must first be dissolved and that is the "Mother of all problems": "To whom does the water of the Earth belong and who establishes its ownership?"

If there is no global clarity on this issue, all the solutions taken by individual nations will not be enough to solve the problem of water at the planetary level!

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In the face of a thousand wastes due to decades of structural deficiencies, a massive development of intensive agriculture that loses 40% of its water reserves, the inability all policy to create new reservoirs for the harvest of water along the rivers. They make smile the continuous campaigns of sensitization, with the finger turned to the citizens in order to induce them to a more sustainable lifestyle blaming them, for example, for a hamburger that needs 2,400 liters of water to be produced. Incidentally, please note, the word sustainable is today the most used adjective in advertising, used as a "fig leaf" for the consumer society.

Despite an ancestral absence of Civic Education in the School, the new generations are much more aware and conscientious than the previous ones and it will be up to them to determine whether water will be a good for the use of economic selfishness or a collective good.

If there is time!
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