The 21st century is called "century of water resources." Population growth mainly in developing countries causes an increased demand of water in the world; water scarcity and pollution have become serious issues. 780 million people do not have access to safe water. The total volume of water on earth is about 1.4 billion cubic kilometers; yet fresh water constitutes only 2.5 percent, 35 million cubic kilometers in volume. Furthermore, apart from glaciers and others, the total usable fresh water for humans is approximately 0.01%, one hundred thousand cubic kilometers. In the worsening global environment and expanding income disparities due to globalization, water environment preservation and water resource conservation have become the most important challenge in peoples’ lives.
In Japan, water and sewage companies work to protect peoples’ lives and properties with untiring efforts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Often, people are unaware that these companies set quality standards much stricter than those required by law. However, at the worksites, mainly because of the mass retirement of “baby boomers,” the number of experienced workers has decreased; technical succession and human resources development are now serious issues. Moreover, they are now responsible for the new level of crisis management in the post-Great East Japan Earthquake; they deal with radioactive contamination caused by the nuclear accident. They also react to contamination of groundwater, overexploitation of water resources, and social change due to an aging society and declining population. Drinking tap water is part of Japanese culture; it is their challenge to pass this on to future generation.
“Water Plaza” believes that it is essential for peoples’ lives to provide safe drinking water and adequate sewage facilities now and in the future. At the same time, looking at situations in different parts of the world, Japan should take a lead role in technological transfer for everyone to have access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities. “Water Plaza” continues to raise water and environment-related questions on a global scale, and to disseminate reliable information. It also plans various educational activities on water and the environment, including hosting lecture sessions.