We have a problem with global warming / climate change, and increasing drought. Drought causes famine, drought conditions causes larger areas to become arid, and causes increased frequency and severity of forest fires.
Here in Minnesota, drought over the past several years has resulted in increased irrigation for agriculture, which in turn has dramatically reduced the levels of water in our aquifers.
2013 is the year of Water Cooperation. We need to conserve it, including preventing pollution; we need to address the problems related to glacial melt and the resulting changes to our oceans; we need to address the problems in our country from the lack of adequate snow pack in our western states, and we need to address how that affects our food supply and the food supply of the world, including both availability and affordability.
Famine/food scarcity and rising food costs were a huge factor in the overthrow of governments across Africa in the Arab Spring revolutions and civil wars. Food insecurity, a $20 word for hunger, is a very real problem for an increasing number of people here in the United States at a time when conservatives are cutting the funding for the social safety net that addresses that problem. Students cannot learn in school when they are hungry or fed, but with inadequate nutritional content.
Economically we pay our agricultural and food industry workers badly, in many cases not enough to feed themselves or their own families. As the availability of water continues to become more scarce, this will be an increasing problem economically and socially.
In transportation, our rivers are no longer able to handle shipping traffic as effectively as before. So, if you think water is not an issue that affects you, think again. The message from Ban Ki Moon: