Water is an issue; here’s what we do
If the events of the COVID-19 pandemic have taught us anything, it is that a public well-versed in science is vital to a strong and healthy community.
Science literacy gives us the tools we need to make smart decisions for our health and families. It helps us distinguish between fact and fiction amid a cacophony of conflicting opinions. And it provides a better understanding of the powerful forces – both natural and human-made – shaping the world and how we can each play a part in making sure the future is bright, sustainable and equitable for all.
That is why H.H. Sheikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Khalifa University, directed us to create the KUST Review. We built this magazine under his leadership to share our enthusiasm for science and technology with our neighbors around the world and here in the MENA region, where researchers and innovators at Khalifa University and beyond are doing exciting work that will help us meet serious challenges now and in the future.
A changing world
Water issues are among the most pressing in the United Arab Emirates and the surrounding region. Water scarcity is not new to our area. But increased, settled populations and changing climates are putting unprecedented pressures on water supplies.
Water tables are falling. Agricultural requirements are rising. Rain is sporadic.
In short: The Middle East is thirsty. And it’s going to get only thirstier.
But although the issue of water scarcity may be especially acute in the UAE and MENA region, it’s of international concern.
Nearly 1 million people die each year because they don’t have access to good-quality water; and 4 billion people, about two-thirds of the world’s population, live with severe water scarcity at least one month of the year, according to the United Nations.
And the World Health Organization reports that by 2050, half of the planet will suffer even more from water scarcity, whether because of climate change driving devastating floods and droughts, pollution’s effects on water quality, or expected growth in the demands of manufacturing and increasing populations.
This doesn’t even take into account the staggering effects of severe water shortages on the environment and vulnerable species.
A look at solutions
That’s why in the premiere issue of the KUST Review, we’re investigating some of the ways researchers and innovators are looking at the future of water: how to better manage the resources we have; measure and predict the weather changes that will shape our new world; access sources previously believed out of reach; and power these efforts without adding to the carbon-dioxide emissions driving climate change to begin with.
You’ll find even more stories, videos and images at our website, www.KUSTReview.com, and on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and other favorite social-media sites @KUSTReview. So page, click and follow to get the best of our coverage of science in the Middle East and around the world in the ways you like to see it most.
Arif Sultan Al Hammadi