“Climate Change vs. Human Demand” to be Discussed at Water Security Forum

Photo from FIU Flickr

Camila Pereira/Contributing Writer

Miami is a major site of rising seas, rampant water pollution and a declining availability of drinking water, so there may be no better time for FIU’s annual Global Water Security Forum.

The UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security in the Institute of Environment at FIU will be discussing the importance of water security and raising awareness on the global issues present today. 

The forum, which will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 29, will be held by the University’s UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security in the Institute of Environment. The event is open to students, researchers and the public.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, is the agency that determines cultural heritage sites around the world and also establishes chairs in important topics at Universities. This is FIU’s first water security forum since the establishment of the UNESCO chair.

“By having these water security forums, it will create an awareness within the community, the FIU community, and the public,” said Maria Donoso, the UNESCO Chair-holder in Sustainable Water Security in the Institute of Environment and Director of International Programs.

The forum will bring up discussions on environmental issues that society should be having and educating people on water security and common global effects the planet is facing such as climate change.

“When you talk about what we need to work towards attaining water security, that means that we need to work towards having enough water to meet all of the needs,” said Donoso, which includes water for human, environmental, industrial and other needs.

“Water security” means having the right quantity and quality of water and at the right time, according to Donoso. Based on the area, needs and type of water, the quantity and quality may vary.

The Global Water Security Forum will feature expert panelists and keynote speaker Fernando Miralles, the Chair and Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Maryland.

Miralles will present on “Human Demand vs. Climate Change: Which Dominates the Water Security Problem Around the World?” sharing the results of an investigation done over a 3 to 4 year period comparing the data of water availability, demand and climate worldwide.

What he found was that the leading cause of the problem with water security around the world was human consumption and demand rather than the actual climate changes.

“In Florida, we basically take water from the north and dump it into the south; it’s a one-way street, and there’s very little consideration for recycling water,” said Miralles to PantherNOW, explaining how a state surrounded by water is contributing to this global issue.

There are a variety of possible solutions that society could implement to help with water security issues, according to Miralles.

“I think cities need to recycle water and homes need to have systems that allow them to recirculate water rather than continuing to bring it from the pipe,” he said.

There are also smaller contributions that are possible to help alleviate this strain on water due to human demands.

“The more each one of us is conscientious of how we see water or how we treat water, the better,” said Donoso. She emphasized that through exposure to the topic and being knowledgeable on the water security issues, it will improve its conditions in the long-run.

What FIU students and the public can do to solve a small part of this problem is to use less water, not throw things down the drain or eliminate some or all plastic by using reusable water bottles, straws and bags.

“This is not somebody else’s problem. It’s our problem,” said Donoso.

The Global Water Security Forum will be held on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Wertheim Conservatory (WC) in room 130. 

For more information about the event, attendees can visit https://calendar.fiu.edu/event/global_water_security_forum#.Xicuey2ZNZ0

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