197709 Prediction! Prediction! Water scarcity beyond 2020

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Adenike Bitto, MD, DrPH, MCHES, FRSPH , Department of Health Studies, ESU, East Stroudsburg, PA
Elizabeth C. Otieno, BS, MPH , Health, East Stroudsburg University, Whitehall, PA
Ahiga I. Mpesha, MD, MPH student , Health, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA
There is nothing fictional about Global Water Scarcity! According to the World Health Organization, every continent and four out of ten people globally are directly affected. Currently 1.1 billion People have no access to safe drinking-water. The situation is getting worse mainly due to population growth, urbanization, the increase in domestic and industrial water use. By 2025, two billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water shortage. Water scarcity impacts a country on several levels, including the social, economic, and environmental sectors. In some situations people are forced to rely on unsafe drinking water; which increases the risk of diseases including cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. Despite the epidemiologic transition, infectious diseases appear to be staging a comeback, which could be aided by the consequences of water scarcity and poor sanitation. Therefore, it behooves everyone to take responsibility by conserving, recycling and protecting water more efficiently. Through meta-analysis and an annotated bibliography this presentation develops a model that starts with individual awareness and action; followed by community involvement, and country level initiatives. Next will be a discussion of international health and the impending global water scarcity, review of the scope of current and future water scarcity problems; and a global comparison of developed and developing country water scarcity issues. Recommendations will be provided on how to address these issues. Results demonstrate that water scarcity is a real and major global problem that needs immediate attention. There are disparities in assumptions between developed and developing countries regarding the reality of global water scarcity. Given the magnitude of the current and impending problems, it is not an exaggeration to infer that most countries are not doing enough to address the very real water scarcity problems. We urge the international health community and countries to take the water scarcity problem seriously, and to take and/or continue action in a multi-factorial approach.

Learning Objectives:
1. List five reasons to explain why water scarcity is a global issue and problem. 2. Compare existing developed and developing country strategies for dealing with water scarcity. 3. Discuss and debate how misconceptions regarding water scarcity and the laissez faire attitudes surrounding the issue end up compounding the water scarcity situation. 4. Describe and explain the components of a conceptual model and approach for dealing with global water scarcity concerns.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Continuously involved with environmental health teaching and programs
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.