UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The supply of fresh, safe water is rapidly diminishing around the globe. Pollution, contamination, water borne diseases, poor water treatment and filtration are substantial problems, as is the mere availability of clean water in some regions.
The conflict between the 'haves' and 'have nots' has turned violent in some countries. This represents a harbinger of things to come unless nations take action to reverse the trends. The inequitable availability of safe water strains societal stability, threatens national security and limits economic growth. The number of people on earth with no access to safe water is 1.2 billion. Another 2.7 billion go without clean water for at least one month each year. "There is no life without water," said H.R.H. Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, the chairman of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, an international non-governmental organization. "Water security is part of national security for a nation." At a United Nations ceremony Wednesday, eight leading researchers were awarded the 7 th Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW). UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon said the researchers work is essential. "Water innovation is critical for peace and prosperity, yet hundreds of millions lack access to safe water. We will not leave them behind. Science has a crucial role to play. We must recognize science as a universal public good and increase the investment into integrative scientific approaches to sustainable development." "We call for an international summit for heads of state, as they do for economic summits because even if we bear with the economic difficulties, we cannot surpass water challenges," Prince Khaled said. The prize winners are scientists who achieved tangible breakthroughs, such as making it possible to detect a cholera outbreak—a water-borne disease that kills 100,000 a year—up to six months ahead of time; developing better and less expensive ways to treat water; detecting poisons buried in sediment; predicting and limiting the damage and death caused by flooding and erosion; and mitigating and reducing the environmental stress on water sources.