Mar 21,2012 | 22:35

Today marks the World Water Day, an occasion when the issue of water crisis around the world needs to be highlighted.

This crisis is acute in Jordan, one of the poorest countries in the world when it comes to water resources.

Close to seven billion people inhabit the planet; of these, many suffer from serious water shortages.

The UN system has long associated this problem with sanitation and food security. The UN Human Rights Council has designated a special rapporteur on water and sanitation, having decided that these two basic needs are closely interlinked.

Millions of people worldwide lack toilets and research is being done to come up with sanitary units that do not necessitate too much water.

The availability of safe water cannot be taken for granted in many countries.

The link between water and food security is also often highlighted. When, in the process of producing one kilogramme of beef and one kilogramme of wheat about 15,000 and 1,500 litres of water are consumed, respectively, the relationship between water consumption and food security becomes all the more obvious.

Millions of people have a hard time securing water for drinking and for producing food.

Jordan, mostly at the mercy of nature to replenish its aquifers, is poor in water. Fortunately, at least for the capital, the Disi water project is well on its way to completion; it is slated to provide Amman and its environs with much-needed water.

Still, even when this mega-project is completed, the scarcity of water will continue to haunt us, especially as the population grows unchecked.

This means that the country will need to explore new avenues for water and, most importantly, that it reconsiders its agricultural production, changing from water-intensive crops to yields that consume little water.

People also must learn to ration water — and there are readily available suggestions on how to do that. Serious crises, even wars, are predicted because of water — lack of it, that is.

Jordan and the rest of the world should not wait for the situation to get to that point before acting.

Much can be done, but raising awareness about the problem is a good start.