The United Nations World Water Development 2021 Report (WWDR) has been published by UNESCO on behalf of UN-Water. The report shows that the main reason for water waste and misuse is not understanding the value of water.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said, “Water is our most precious resource. 2 billion people do not have direct access to this resource, which we call ‘blue gold’. Water is essential not only for survival, but also for cleanliness. It has a social and cultural role in societies.”
The report addresses the question of what is the value of water in detail. It is also among the findings in the report that the waste and thoughtless use of water, the evaluation of water only based on its cost and the inability to understand its essential value.
Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and UN-Water Director, explained, “The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of access to water, sanitation and hygiene practices; all reminded us that a large number of people do not have access to these opportunities. We are experiencing many problems because we do not value water high enough. In general, water is not even valued.”
The value, price and cost of water must be separated!
Water is invaluable. Life cannot exist without water, as it has no substitute. The excitement of the idea that traces of water have been found on Mars is an indication of this.
The report stated that there is a great need to expand the concept of “value” of water; it also emphasizes that the concept of “value” and “cost” and “price” should not be confused.
While it is possible to measure the cost and price of water, the concept of “value” is much broader than that. It also has social and cultural dimensions.
Why is it hard to value water?
Many raw materials are considered commodities and can be traded openly on stock exchanges. It is not possible to do this for water.
The importance of water can vary depending on the economic activity and time it is used. In addition, social, environmental and cultural aspects are also involved. Valuing water is difficult due to all these factors.