Ensuring water flows through all effective development co-operation

Global Water Partnership contributed this blog to the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) to mark World Water Day on Saturday, March 22, 2014.

Farmer  pump water to rice field

By Steven Downey, Global Water Partnership

Water is deeply connected to development. It intersects with virtually every sector in the fight against poverty, and it is clear that sustainable use of freshwater is essential for human development.

The world is consuming more freshwater than nature is able to replenish. And while we celebrate ever more people emerging from poverty, this also puts greater strain on the world’s water resources. Growing populations, and wealthier ones, require more food, energy and material goods. If we are going to have a healthy and prosperous future we have to solve the problems that we ourselves are creating. This raises important challenges for effective development co-operation to address. We need to understand the connections between water and development in order to find equitable ways of sharing limited water resources among many competing demands.

The challenge is simple to state if not to solve: how can we give everyone access to clean water and dignified sanitation while also meeting growing demand for water from other sectors such as agriculture, energy, and industry? Effective co-operation on water requires difficult conversations about how to allocate the resource and what trade-offs are involved. Government, industry, and civil society must work together to figure out how to sustainably manage a country’s water resources in ways that contribute to human health and development.

To celebrate World Water Day 2014’s focus on the connections between water and energy, Global Water Partnership has released a short video explaining the links between these two resources. Water is used to generate energy – and energy is used to provide water. Both are vital to human development and both require successful development co-operation outcomes. Co-operation and co-ordination across engineering, policy and management can maximise the supply of one resource while minimising overuse of the other.

Demand for energy and water also increases with income. In more developed countries, an average person uses nearly five times as much water as a person living in a developing country. Water usage is increasing along with the growing middle income class in the developing world. With the world’s population growing, living standards increasing and climate change putting pressure on water sources, the demand for water is becoming harder and harder to meet.

Because water is connected to virtually all areas of human activity, we need to take a holistic approach to how we manage the resource. Global Water Partnership  advocates for integrated water resources management, that is, the co-ordinated development and management of water, land, and related resources to maximise economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability the earth’s ecosystems.

Ultimately, we all want to achieve a water secure world. To do that, we need to understand water’s connection to climate change, trans-boundary co-operation, food, urbanisation, energy, and ecosystems—six areas highlighted by Global Water Partnership’s 2014-2019 strategy. Developed through a year-long process of regional dialogues and consultations with our growing network of over 2,900 partner organisations across 172 countries, the Towards 2020 strategy demonstrates how development co-operation is at the very core of what Global Water Partnership does. This strategy is about the stewardship of water resources for the benefit of societies and the environment. It calls for a public responsibility that requires co-operation across all sectors.

Global Water Partnership looks forward to the outcomes of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation’s First High-Level Meeting in Mexico next month as a way forward for stronger and better overall development co-operation. We are particularly eager for stronger global leadership because water intersects so many other sectors in what is ultimately a fight against poverty and for human development that also protects our environment.

This blog originally appeared on the GPEDC blog site.


About globalwaterpartnership

The Global Water Partnership's vision is for a water secure world. Our mission is to advance governance and management of water resources for sustainable and equitable development.
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3 Responses to Ensuring water flows through all effective development co-operation

  1. Forests are one of the most important natural resources that have been gifted to mankind for their sustained existence on earth. Forests are beautiful, but are essential for our survival on planet earth. It’s well known that forests absorb carbon dioxide and also main source of oxygen, they are the only source from which we can get oxygen to survive, but were we really aware of the fact that our freshwater reservoirs protection are dependent on healthy forests. In this connection, people believed that forests were the ‘mothers’ of rivers. Everyone and everything needs water to survive. On the other hand, water is our most important resource that is required to ensure our survival. This resource is something that we use every day in our lives and it serves many different purposes and water is one of the most critical resources on Earth, fundamental to every ecosystem helping to sustain all life as well as to maintain the overall environmental balance on the Earth and It is also required for human development and to driving the economy. Water is crucial to all forms of social and economic development, just as it is a necessity for most of nature’s processes and it is the basic building block for life. By 2025, it is estimated that 2 out of 3 people in the world will face water shortages.

    How we manage our rivers, and even larger reservoirs of fresh water, is likely to become one of the major technical and political concerns of the next few decades with the rationale to give a health life led by a health environment for current and new generations. It can be predicted beyond doubt that as the shortage of water and the absence of Dams and Reservoirs in the region are realized, the politics of water will assume more importance than the politics of oil. Two things can be done to overcome such problems, the first is to increase supplies and the other one is to use water more efficiently and technically. To achieve this target, we should focus on the water challenges which call for collaboration across all sectors of the national economy as well as our political limits. Further, we have different roles and responsibilities but as a collective interest in ensuring sustainable development outcomes and to achieve the idea of “Blue Revolution” in the world. We need to improve our water sector governance. Good governance means well-organized development and management. In this connection, we can be more effective if we work together and make a strategy which serves the purpose of all stakeholders. In this regard, we should build a strong partnership for the theme of “Blue Revolution”

  2. There is trust deficit between rich and poor countries and therefore water related technologies are not being transferred smoothly. Right time world leaders sit together and address the issue.

  3. Salisu M Faruk says:

    Fresh water resources is vital to human livelihood. IWRM is an essential water resource management that could enhance developing nations to safeguard its scarce water resources.

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