This inaugural issue of the Global Water Magazine discusses some of the most pressing dilemmas in the water sector. Articles range from water supply problems in developing countries, to a need for better data, to emerging contaminants in developed nations, to the intractable challenges of aquatic ecosystems. This issue takes a hard look at the challenges ahead and offers some innovative solutions.
Luke MacDonald and Kellogg Schwab, GWP Program Manager and Director, show a way out of the cycle of neglect and failure through evidence based research. Rita Colwell, winner of the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize and on the faculty at JHU, argues that we need Interdisciplinary Centers of Ecological Health that take a holistic look at the interactions between man and the environment, to better protect both. Looking ahead, Paul Reiter, Executive Director of the International Water Association (IWA), presents arguments for developing physical and institutional linkages between agricultural, energy and urban water uses.
Other contributors are leaders from Aguaconsult, Army Corp of Engineers, CDM, the Center for Strategic International Studies CH2M Hill, the NJ Meadowlands Commission, Syngenta, Water for People, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Be sure to read our Trading Water series, by James G. Workman, Montgomery Simus, and David Zetland, which offer new ideas on water ownership that are sure to spark debate but hold the potential to reconcile differences between liberals and conservatives.
The editors of the JHU Global Water Magazine and the Steering Committee of the Global Water Program invite readers to post comments below articles. We encourage debate and discussion, and hope that, together, we can turn these ideas in print into projects on the ground.
Environmental Health Sciences
Environmental Health Sciences
Evidence-based research provides solutions that work. MacDonald and Schwab argue that we will need greater commitment to rigorous research programs to meet the challenges ahead.
photo by NASA
Modern medical practice has a laser-like focus on treatment of disease in isolation, but life is not like that. Dr. Colwell argues that we need an integrated, proactive ecological approach to infectious disease prevention.
Adapting to rapidly changing conditions on a crowded planet. Looking forward to 2050, the challenges of adding 2 billion more people to an already resource-constrained planet will require major changes in the resources efficiency, energy efficiency and cost of urban water systems of the future. A step change including the integration of city planning and urban water system design will be required to optimize the efficiency and resilience of urban water systems in addition to the development of physical and institutional linkages between agricultural, energy and urban water uses.
Who or what should own water? The question is at once simple and complex and emphatically important for the valuation and management of increasingly water resources. In most of the world, monopolies determine price, leading to conflict and waste. But three case studies of desert cultures show that where individuals own and exchange equitable shares of water, civilization can thrive in the driest of landscapes. Part of our Trading Water series.
As Aldo Leopold stated long ago and we have seen more recently with the success of Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) in fisheries management, vesting ordinary citizens with “ownership” of natural resources leads people to conserve them. By securing equitable shares of water and allowing everyone to trade what they save, innovative technology and the concept of H2Ownership can unlock equitable and competitive markets to effectively harness individual greed to create a widespread incentivized race to conserve, and a Leopoldian understanding and communal ethic about where the water comes from, how it is used, and where it goes. Part of our Trading Water series.
Jul 25, 2010 by David Zetland
Listed In: Water Policy
Each year, about 2.8 million people die due to problems with poor water supply, sanitation and hygiene. Over three-quarters of the dead are children. Some argue that a human right to clean water would improve this situation... Part of our Trading Water series.
How can we address meet an ever-increasing global water appetite with a finite amount of available freshwater? Erik Peterson discusses this most pressing dilemma.
Syngenta Int. AG
Access to safe water plays a pivotal role in sustainable development, including food security and poverty reduction. More food can be produced with less water – to meet this challenge, governments, NGOs, and public-private partnerships should facilitate implementing available technologies on the farm to enable efficient water management for food production and environmental protection.
Conventional approaches to community-based water supply management sadly are unsustainable and contribute to water point failure throughout Africa and Asia in particular. New ideas are emerging that hold great promise for the future and could lead to truly lasting water supply solutions, in stark contrast to the stark reality of failed water systems on the ground today.
Jul 25, 2010 by Eva Zabey
Listed In: Water Policy
External demands on companies to report on their water use and impacts are intensifying. But before reporting, business needs to measure, and many groups are developing approaches to do just that.