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Few urbanites realise that water wastage is speeding the global population towards hunger at an alarming rate, and how successful the United Nations are in focusing their attention on this important issue on World Water Day (March 25) remains to be seen.

That essential edible crops can neither be cultivated nor processed without massive inputs of water has long been known to rural dwellers, especially those linked to agriculture. This message needs to be communicated to societal levels which prefer not to accept the frighteningly stark reality that water equals life, and life needs food to sustain it.

With a global population of approximately seven billion, and rapidly changing climatic patterns brought on by human induced global warming, water and food security are of paramount importance.

Strict monitoring of water usage at home, in agricultural practices, manufacturing processes, and all other areas where water is used, must be reviewed and revamped on an emergency basis, as, for example, something as basic as one kilogramme of wheat consumes an average of 1,500 litres of water from field cultivation through transport to mills and processing, then transport to wholesaler, to retail store, to kitchen and finally to table. All too often, in affluent levels of society, a sizeable percentage of food will end up in the garbage, which given the approaching water and food shortages, is a criminal waste.

Water saving improvements in agriculture, industry and on the home front are needed on a priority basis. However, if people do not stop wasting food then such across the board saving of water will come to naught. Cooking less food and wasting none is a surprisingly simple and eminently sensible way of conserving water. Do your bit for water and food security and try it!

– B Khan

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