U.N. official encourages water management

According to John F. Kennedy, Carlos Fernández-Jáuregui is working his way toward two Nobel prizes.

“John F. Kennedy said, ‘The person who solves the problems of water should win two Nobel prizes. One for peace and one for science,'” World Water Assessment Program Deputy Coordinator Fernández-Jáuregui said during a speech he gave Thursday night.

More than 100 people attended the lecture, which focused on “The 2nd United Nations World Water Development Report,” the largest knowledge base on water in the world.

According to Fernández-Jáuregui, 75 percent of the world’s water is used for agriculture, with the remaining 25 percent split for every other use.

“If countries really want to do good business, they have to invest in new technologies on how to irrigate without wasting so much water,” he said.

Fernández-Jáuregui also said that only 8 percent of water makes it to refining plants. The rest is lost through evaporation and in transportation.

He stressed the importance of properly employing proper water management techniques for the prevention of catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina. According to Fernández-Jáuregui, the flooding could have been relieved by the proper use of dams and potable water made available through correct supervision.

“Countries can be fragile if, when there are floods, they are not able to alleviate (sic) water. They can be fragile if, when there are droughts, it can’t be stored and used in a rational way,” Fernández-Jáuregui said.

The lecture was sponsored by the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions as part of an effort to increase USF’s contribution to the field of water management.

“We are – as a research center – committed to conservation of water first and foremost,” said Mark Amen, academic director of the Patel Center. “We have, here at USF, across a number of colleges, an incredible expertise in the area of water as it applies to areas across the world in various settings. We have researchers doing work in Honduras, Mexico and parts of Africa that makes it easy for us to make a contribution to solving water problems here.”

Fernández-Jáuregui said he hoped to disseminate the information in the report in a manner that would make it more accessible to students. It seems as though he succeeded – at least in one instance. “That tech report, no one would even think of going through it. Now I’m more interested and maybe I’ll go through it,” said Makhan Virdi, a civil and environmental engineering doctoral student.