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Celebrating World Water Day

Today, March 22, is World Water Day and 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation.

As rapid urbanization, climate change and growing food needs put ever-increasing pressure on freshwater resources, the objective of the 2013 theme is to draw attention to the benefits of cooperation in water management. It will serve to highlight successful examples of water cooperation and explore key issues, including water diplomacy, transboundary water management and financial cooperation.

Water, a vital resource unlike any other knows no borders. For instance, 148 countries share at least one transboundary river basin. The United nations organization notes that the fulfilment of basic human needs, our environment, socio-economic development and poverty reduction are all heavily dependent on water. As such, good management of water is especially challenging due to some of its unique characteristics: it is unevenly distributed in time and space, the hydrological cycle is highly complex and perturbations have multiple effects. Rapid urbanization, pollution and climate change threaten the resource while demands for water are increasing in order to satisfy the needs of a growing world population, now at over seven billion people, for food production, energy, industrial and domestic uses. Water is a shared resource and its management needs to take into account a wide variety of conflicting interests. This provides opportunities for cooperation among users.

To reflect on this, we share thoughts on the livestock water foot print, as shared by Prof Arjen Hoekstra of the University of Twente, the Netherlands when he gave a seminar at ILRI.

Read Paul Karaimu’s article at http://www.ilri.org/ilrinews/index.php/archives/10711 and Jane Gitau article at http://peoplelivestockenvironment.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/understanding-the-water-footprint-of-livestock-products/

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