Intrapolating Global Agreements on Water:
|Policy Analysis Series E-042. July 2020.|
Issues that have come up as a result of these consultations have focussed on water demand management, water efficiency, and water pollution, and include:
It is easy, however to talk global at the global level. The issues are too broad, too overarching, and too 'watered-down' in some cases, without specifics. But what do these pronouncements really mean at the ground level?
The real challenge lie in understanding and adopting global agreements and norms to localized, tangible, feet-on-the-ground action that has real impact, in the short-term, but also the long term. For example, we often hear the statement, "Water is a basic human right" being made in many international meetings - but what does it really mean? At the local level? To the man-on-the-street? Is it just access to water? Clean and safe water? Are there corresponding 'basic human responsibilities' too??
Read on, explore ... and keep a small card in front of you that says, in big, red capital letters, "So what??"
|Global Consultation on Safe Water and Sanitation for the 1990s, New Delhi, 1990||The New Delhi Statementformalizedd the need to provide, on a sustainable basis, access to safe water in sufficient quantities and proper sanitation for all,emphasizingg the "some for all rather than more for some" approach. Four guiding principles were postulated:
|International Conference on Water and the Environment, Dublin 1992||Four Guiding Principles were formulated:
|United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 1992||Agenda 21 emerged from this Conference, with Chapter 18 dealing with water issues. Chapter 18 was titled: "Protection of t-he quality and supply of freshwater resources: Application of integrated approaches to the development, management and use of water resources". Seven programme areas were proposed for the freshwater sector:
|Second World Water Forum and Ministerial Conference in The Hague, March 2000||The World Water Vision which was presented at the Forum, defined three primary objectives: (1) to empower people and communities to decide how to use water (2) To get more crops and jobs per drop (3) to manage use to conserve freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. It deemed five actions critical to the achievement of the objectives:
The World Water Council which organized the Second World Water Forum, formulated the following Messages for a water secure world:
|8th World Water Forum (2018)||The ministerial declaration called for the world community to deal with water and sanitation challenges, particularly scarcity; acceleratee thimplementationon of SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation); strengthen integrated water resources management policies and plans; transparent, effective, inclusive and accountable institutional arrangements among various stakeholders; mobilize financial resources for water management; and facilitate transboundary cooperation on water issues.|
The underlying message of these global agreements is clear: An urgent need for action to develop and implement policies and programmes in integrated water resources management (IWRM). The key to operationalizing the above recommendations and declarations is the strong implementation of water demand management (WDM) - an effective strategy necessary to increase available water supply.
The widely accepted definition of IWRM by the Global Water Partnership is: "IWRM is a process which promotes the co-ordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems." It involves water conservation, and increased water use efficiency. This strategy requires a major paradigm shift from conventional supply management to the management of demand.
WDM aims to increase water efficiency through both wise use and reduction. It seeks to maximize the usage of a given volume of water by curbing non-essential or low-use values through price or non-price measures. It aims to achieve water consumption levels that are consistent with equitable, efficient and sustainable water use.
A policy approach to better WDM can be laid out in the form of a matrix covering on one hand, water governance, water education, and water technology; on othe other, covering water savings, water efficiency, water recycling/reuse and wastewater treatment.
In order to ensure that concerted action is taken on water savings, water efficiency, water recycling/reuse and wastewater treatment, it requires a three-pronged approach covering the domains of governance, education and technology.
Water Demand Management
|Water savings||Water efficiency||Water recycle / reuse||Wastewater treatment|
Laws and regulations
|How can regulations promote water savings at the user level?||How can water be used efficiently, avoiding loss and maximizing output?||What regulations will facilitate water recycling and reuse for downstream use such as gardening or washing?||What is needed for efficient treatment of wastewater and gray water treatment?|
Awareness and capacity building
|Awareness campaigns focussing on - "USE LESS"||Awareness campaigns focussing on - "USE PROPERLY"||Awareness campaigns focussing on - "USE IT AGAIN"||Awareness campaigns focussing on - "USE IT FOR RECOVERY"|
Solutions and skills
|Technologies such as low-flow taps, showers, toilets; network-loss detection; leakage prevention; water pricing etc.||Technologies such as efficient metering; water audits; rainwater/water vapour harvesting etc.||Technologies, including natural systems, that enable recycling and reusing water||Technologies, including natural systems such as phytotechnologies, that facilitate efficient treatment|
An overlay that can be laid over the matrix will position different stakeholdes in the public, private and community spheres (from local governments, utilities, and businesses/ business groups, to NGOs, universities and community groups), who will undertake to implement action at the national, provisial and local levels.
Bringing it all together in ensuring all interconnected actions are taken, at the appropriate level by the appropriate stakeholder is key to effective water demand management.
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