They specified that these measures go through greater efficiency in agricultural irrigation and the implementation of technologies that allow the use of wastewater in food production. To this they added that the countries have not yet listened with the force that the UN call for water reuse deserves: “Wastewater is a resource that we can no longer afford to dispose of.”
In addition, they pointed out that the reuse for the recharge of aquifers is important for the recovery of these bodies of water and that this must be complemented with the desalination of seawater to reduce extractivist pressure on rivers and lakes while providing quality water for purposes drinking, agricultural and industrial.
More than 300 million people around the world already drink desalinated water every day and many others have treated wastewater as their drinking source, but these solutions take time for regulatory and technical implementation, a time that is reduced as droughts intensify.
They mentioned that the newspaper headlines about crop declines and the descent of rivers occupied the front pages of the tabloids of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay at the end of last year and then were relegated againbut that vigilance must be maintained on these phenomena that point to deepen.
For ALADYR, the evidence of a complicated future due to water scarcity in the region is overwhelming and urges the authorities to pay more attention to the effects of the drought. They argued that according to data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the southern Amazon is suffering from the worst droughts in the last 50 years and added that the report of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reads that the lack of rain has affected more than 53 million people in the region, including 2.2 million inhabitants of the Dry Corridor of Central America, whose agricultural production was reduced by more than 75%.
Additionally, the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) adds to the concern about food security in the region due to water scarcity, since in “The Andes, since the 1980s, between 30% and 50% of the glacier area has been lost and the Southern Andes show the highest rates of glacier mass loss worldwide.”
They stressed that the indicators of scarcity and affected people describe a reality that has been developing but that the worst could be yet to come if climate change adaptation policies are not applied quickly.
“Countries such as Chile, Peru and Brazil are showing interesting advances in their infrastructure to adapt to droughts with seawater desalination plants, which translates into an increase in the availability of the resource, but efforts must be redoubled or the increase population and climate change will affect us profoundly”said John Michael Pintopresident of ALADYR.
He added that the lack of water affects all aspects of individual and social life, ranging from physical development, leaving lifelong consequences and marking the future of the person, to the economy of agricultural countries or governance in cities where Popular demonstrations due to lack of service are becoming more frequent.
They noted that, according to the World Bank report titled Uncharted Waters: the new economics of water scarcity and variability, in Latin America income losses caused by a drought are four times greater than those caused by other catastrophes such as floods.
“In the collective imagination, droughts are usually associated with cuts in the drinking water service, but their impact goes much further and is closely linked to poverty because the lack of water makes any human activity or product more expensive,” Pinto reiterated.
To conclude, he invited the following prospecting exercise: “The population of Latin America tripled in 60 years and its consumption did so to a greater extent, subjecting natural water sources to unprecedented stress, causing the problems that are obvious. In 2050 we will be 762 million people with aspirations, needs and dreams, and all this translates into a greater demand for water in a context in which it no longer rains and the lakes and aquifers have dried up, so what will we do?