22 March 2008

World Water Day

Today is World Water Day, a United Nations initiative that grew out of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. Water looms as a major global issue in coming years, as this digram of population and water availability shows:

Source: Water for Life, UN Water: New York, 2005.

As you can see there are major disparities in the distribution of population and water availability around the globe. This is most glaringly the case in Asia, which has 60% of the world's population but only has 36% of global water resources.

Already a number of HIAs that have been conducted in NSW have highlighted the importance of water and water supply in protecting and promoting population health. Water is already a critical resource and it will only become more so in the future. It is incumbent on us as HIA practitioners to become familiar with the health impacts of changes to water availability.

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