It was prepared by Jesús Guzmán O.S.A. of the Augustinian NGO at New York in the United States of America.
The topic of the session of 16th October 2003 was: "The Water of the Life, Fresh Perspectives On the World Water Crisis", on water for human consumption that is already scarce in many regions of the world. The whole day was dedicated to this topic.
The video presented on 16th October gave impressive images of the level of the crisis of fresh water in some regions of the world.
Some of these regions included cities like Mexico City, and others included developing regions of the world (Central Africa, Central Asia, and other areas).
The quantity of fresh water in the world is only 2.5% of the total amount of water; of this, 75% percentage is frozen in the polar ice caps.
Three quarters of what remains is used in agriculture or food production, which should not be cause for alarm, since it has always been this way. What is new is that since we are more people in the world, and that we are contaminating our own supplying sources of fresh water. As well, every day we are destroying more of the natural sources that provide us water.
This topic treats one of the "Millennium Objectives for Development": that by the year 2015, the number of people that do not have fresh water will be reduced by half.
There are 1,200 million people without fresh water and 2,400 million people that do not have reliable drainage to eliminate polluted water.
Quoted from the address by Jesus Guzman O.S.A.
at the Augustinian international meeting for young adults at Guadarrama, Madrid, Spain in July 2003.
Some facts and statistics on clean water
1. At least 1.2 billion of the more than 6 billion inhabitants of our planet lack access to fresh water.
2. More than 2.4 billion people lack adequate sanitation services (appropriate drainage and treatment of contaminated waters). That is more than 40% of the population of the world.
3. Dirty water is lethal. More than 2.2 billion people, fundamentally in developing countries, die every year because of illnesses caused by polluted water and inadequate sanitary conditions.
4. Every day the illnesses associated with diarrhorea cause some 6,000 deaths, mostly among children under 5 years of age (the equivalent of 40 Jumbo Jet aircraft crashing daily).
5. More than 200 tons of human waste spill daily into the rivers of the world.
6. Although 70% of the surface of the Earth is covered with water, 97.5% is salt water.
7. Three fourths of the fresh water is frozen in the polar caps.
8. By 2025, two thirds of the world's population will live in regions with great shortage of water.
9. In the next two decades, the use of water on the part of human beings will increase by 40%, and 17% more will be required to take care of the needs of the population of developing countries.
10. During the last 30 years the proportion of rural families with access to fresh water for human consumption has increased 10% to nearly 60%.
11. At the moment, 70% of the available fresh water is used for agriculture but, due to inefficient watering systems, 60% of that water is wasted.
Rev. J. Jesús Guzmán O.S.A.