The water problem? How about 'better manners,' 'fewer forks'

The question in 1996 when the world reached 5.7 billion remains today: How will the world support 7 billion people?

This is the question experts tried to address at a panel discussion hosted by Aspen Institute. The discussion, titled “7 Billion: Conversations That Matter,” covered not only the world’s water problem, but also other sectors affected by it, John Donnelly wrote in this article piece.

Jaehyang So, manager of the Water and Sanitation Program, a multidonor partnership administered by the World Bank, said the world needs “hundreds of billions of dollars” to reach the 2.5 billion people without access to safe, clean water.

But spending alone cannot solve this problem. Laurie Mazur, director of the Population Justice Project, said more wells, less waste, “better manners” and “fewer forks” are also needed in the equation.

To implement this, however, people need to be educated. This is especially important among poor women and girls, who, in the words of Salva Dut, think the world is about “producing babies as much as you can.”

“Poor women-girls have no clue,” he said.

Dut, founder and president of Water for South Sudan, said that if the world will not educate today’s young girls, the world’s population “will continue” — and this will put a strain on water. The fourth U.N. World Water Development report in March notes of the growing demand for basic necessities — now limited — is putting a strain on global water supply.

“There is the same amount on the earth today as there was during the time of the dinosaurs,” Mazur said.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.