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Dhaka Tribune

UN: Fresh water sources to suffer from energy need

Update : 21 Mar 2014, 07:39 PM

The United Nations has said the world’s fresh water resources will suffer from efforts to meet the growing global demand for energy, mainly due to the lack of coordination and better management at all levels including policy making.

The observations were made at the United Nations World Water Development Report 2014, which was unveiled yesterday at United Nations University in Tokyo, Japan, marking the World Water Day 2014.

“The 2014 World Water Development Report highlighted the interdependence between the management of water and energy, which calls for vastly improved cooperation between these sectors as there will be no sustainable development without better access to water and energy for all,” said Irina Bokova, director general of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

The report also cited that around 768 million people in the world had no access to an improved source of water, 2.5 billion people do not access to improved sanitation while 1.3 billion people were not connected to an electric power grid and around 2.6 billion use solid fuel, mainly biomass, for cooking.

It further highlighted that places where people do not have adequate access to water largely coincide with those where people have no electric power and how closely the two sectors were inter-connected.

Currently, the energy production accounts for around 15% of water withdrawal globally though the figure was rising and estimates that it will be reached by 20% by 2035 due to population growth, urbanization and changing consumption pattern, the report added.

In addition, agriculture was noted as the largest user of water at the global level, accounting for 70% of total withdrawal as irrigation. The food production and supply chain accounts for about 30% of total global energy consumption, according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2012.

Citing the examples of Fujairah power plant in UAE and Shoaiba power plant in Saudi Arabia, the report indicated good practices of water and energy as both of projects were working on for desalination of sea water and producing electricity.

In addition to report launching, the International Water management Institute (IWMI)-TATA water policy programme in India and NEWater programme in Singapore received the ‘Water for Life’ Best Practices Award 2014.

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