Addressing the problem of water scarcity was the major concern during the World Water Forum 6. Many solutions were suggested, but it seems that the answer to this crucial problem can be found in the sustainable use of water resources. In the field of sustainability, innovation must be applied in every possible sense, in order for modern civilization to keep developing and flourishing. While attending several different discussion panels that focused on possible solutions such as desalination, replacement of malfunctioning infrastructure and filtration of rainwater, a certain proposal gained my attention. During the High Level Panel on Transboundary Waters, Mr Ger Bergkamp, Regional Group and Programmes of IWA, introduced the idea of the use of different water qualities.
It is common knowledge that we are unsustainable consumers of water resources. Agricultural, household and industrial use deplete the Earth’s freshwater and experts state that water shortages will cause the next wars. One of the most water sensitive regions of the world is the Middle East. Rich in fossil fuels, but water-poor, the Arab world is already facing the cruel reality of insufficient water resources from unsustainable use and losses due to old and broken water infrastructure. These concerns were extensively discussed during the World Water Forum 6.
(post co-written with Caroline D’Angel0)
Student Reporter Maria-Tzina Leria interviewed Jean Marc Jahn, Chief Executive Officer of Société des Eaux et de l’Assainissement d’Alger (SEAAL) at the World Water Forum (you can listen to the podcast below). SEAAL is a private-public partnership between Algeria’s government and Suez Environment, the second largest private water company in the world . The partnership exists to expand water and sanitation access, as well as to build capacity at the local level through a specific program, Water International Knowledge Transfer Initiative (WIKTI), which provides videos, training and education to local operators. Suez presented this partnership and WIKTI as a ‘solutions’ in the Village of Solutions and on SolutionsforChange.org, the Forum’s online depository. Mr. Jahn brought Algerian operators with him to the World Water Forum and was clearly proud of the program. He says in the interview that in the past five years, there has been”…60,000 days of training in Algiers, and more than 50 percent of the trainers are Algerian. In the beginning it was zero.”
By the second day of the World Water Forum 6, in Marseilles, France, talks were already starting to heat up! Taking advantage of my Press badge, I decided to attend a closed-for-the-public session on “Transboundary Waters”. Never had I imagined before that representatives of countries, international organizations, and private and public sectors would agree on unifyng and synchronizing their efforts under the threat of a common enemy: Water Scarcity. The meeting was chaired by Germany andco-chaired by Oman. Attendees included representatives of Austria, Botswana, France, Kyrgystan, Morocco, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, the European Commission, the IUCN, the World Energy Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Business Action for Water, the International Water Association, the World Water Council, theFood and Agriculture Organization, the WIWP, the UN Habitat, the UNCCD, the UN Industrial Development Organization and the WWF.