You found water on Mars. Very nice. So what about investing now tens of billions of dollars in dealing with water scarcity on Earth?

While the great powers are trying to reach the moon, we are trying to get to the village.”  (Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania, 1974)

water scarcityAccording to the United Nations:
“Water scarcity is among the main problems to be faced by many societies and the World in the XXIst century. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could live under water stress conditions.
Water scarcity already affects every continent. Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world’s population, live in areas of physical scarcity. Another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world’s population, face economic water shortage (where countries lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers). Water scarcity is both a natural and a human-made phenomenon. There is enough freshwater on the planet for seven billion people but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed….”

783 million people, or 11 per cent of the global population, remain without access to an improved source of drinking water, reveals the UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2012.
Sub-Saharan Africa is with just 61% water coverage… The water and sanitation position in West/Central Africa is of particular urgency, as the region has the highest under-five mortality rate of all developing regions: 191 child deaths per 1,000 live births. Recurrent outbreaks of cholera in both urban and rural areas underline the poor state of this region’s basic living conditions…. ”
Diarrhea, caused by contaminated water, is the 4th leading cause of child death in the world. An estimated 622,000 children under the age of five die each year from diarrheal diseases globally. Actually, every minute a child dies from a water-related disease, state the UN researchers.

While the West is celebrating finding water on Mars; hundreds of millions of people in the Global South are thirsting, striving for clean water and dying here, on Earth.
Don’t expect breaking news about this — low ratings.

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