Lifelong Learning in the Water Sector - Bioethical Observations
Today, at the end of the second decade of the 21st century, 900 million people, nearly a seventh of the world’s population, have no access to sufficient quantities of hygienically correct drinking water. With accelerated population growth in the world, as well as urban growth, increased exploitation of forest areas, and the already present effects of climate change, this problem is becoming more and more globally influential. Taking all this into consideration, it is increasingly difficult to ensure and maintain adequate water levels. Fortunately, Croatia is the wealthiest country in Europe in terms of potable water supply. However, unfortunately, over 50% of the water entering water supply systems is lost on the way from the source to the end-user, leaking out from the network. The loss of the world’s most important resource for life and health, in addition to biological, also has significant financial consequences related to increased pumping and water production to compensate for losses. All of these inevitably contribute to the unjustified increase in water prices. Last year, the Croatian State Water Agency allocated 100 million HRK for solving the problems of excessive losses in waterworks, of which only half was spent, while half of the funds were not used. Taking the bioethical context of the problem into account, this article has several tasks: (1) to emphasise the need to establish a continuous lifelong education and training in water management; (2) to emphasise the urgency of the same organisation for the widest knowledge base in the water sector, which currently has virtually no training opportunities; (3) to prove that rational investment and advanced equipment without parallel raising knowledge level in the communal sector is not rational; (4) lifelong education of employees in the water sector should be accompanied by adequate translations of the literature that is abundant in world languages; (5) to work on educating the youngest so that time introduces them to the importance of water as one of the essential resources on Earth; (6) at the same time, all users of water supply, drainage, and wastewater treatment systems should be informed about the ways of saving water and the correct use of the water supply, drainage, and wastewater systems. Of course, the preservation of water resources is closely related to raising bioethical awareness and knowledge about the importance of water to all users. We believe that only the lifelong learning and multi-dimensional improvement of employees working in the water sector can achieve the best results. It is not only an economic imperative but rather an imperative to revive life care.
Keywords: bioethics, education, preservation of water resources, social awareness.
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