Hardly any of the water easily accessible on Earth is suitable for consumption without purification because people use the resources irresponsibly, President János Áder told public Kossuth Radio on Wednesday.
Some 2.5% of the water available on Earth is fresh water and only a fraction of it is easily accessible, he said. Those scarce resources are often contaminated by the people using it, he added. As a result of a four-fold increase in the Earth’s population and eight-fold increase in water consumption in the past century, the amount of water available per capita has dropped and the shortage in water supplies causes problems in around forty countries on Earth, he said. Around ten thousand children under five die every day in the developing world as a result of contaminated water, Áder said.
Annual precipitation in Hungary is around 600-650 millimetres but distributed unequally, Áder said. The region between the Danube and Tisza rivers is at risk of becoming arid. Efforts to reverse the process have already been started and the problem can be resolved in 5-6 years, he added. Projections show that extreme floods can be expected in the years ahead and dikes must be strengthened, Áder said. The height of dikes along the Tisza cannot be increased further, so water reservoirs are being built to reduce the water level if necessary, he added.
Some 95% of waste water is being treated in Hungary before it returns to the natural environment, he said. Plastic bottles and other waste is collected by specialised machinery from the upper Tisza in northeast Hungary and consequently rivers crossing Hungary are cleaner when they leave the country than when they enter, he said. Commenting on a 2023 water management conference, he said multilateral, regional agreements are needed to make people realise that preserving water quality is an obligation for everyone.