GENEVA, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Water has many values that are just not priced, Sasha Koo-Oshima, deputy director of Land and Water Division at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told Xinhua in a recent interview ahead of the World Water Day, which falls on Monday.
The official highlighted that with the COVID-19 pandemic, a large part of the world population still lacks access to handwashing facilities at home, saying that "this is the first line of defense against this virus and the value of water is very evident in this progression."
"The first thing we realized is the handwashing. Many countries just don't have clean water to even just wash hands," she said.
The UN on Monday warned that more than 2 billion people do not have direct access to water, the "blue gold" which is essential in defeating the coronavirus pandemic.
In its World Water Development Report 2021, which focuses on the value of water, the UN stressed the urgent need to protect water.
"That brings in this issue of underinvestment and water sanitation and the services for billions of people, it has become abundantly clear since the start of the pandemic," said Koo-Oshima.
While global water supply has become more severe in recent years, threatening agricultural production, food security and also water quality, Koo-Oshima said that countries like China could play a leading role in tackling the issue of water scarcity.
"China has very arid and semi-arid regions especially in the western part of the country. They have done great work in greening some of these arid areas and bringing in some of the nature-based solutions and the Chinese have been very effective in that," she added. Enditem