Restoring polluted waters and desalinisation

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Water after Borders

US and Middle Eastern mayors agree water know-how swap

by Puneet Kollipara

“The partnership will go beyond technology exchange. Mayors who signed the pact will also work on business and educational capacity building and community exchanges.” – Gidon Bromberg, EcoPeace Middle East’s, Israeli

Speed read

  • Middle Eastern mayors could learn about restoring polluted waters
  • US mayors could benefit from desalinisation technology used in the Middle East
  • The deal may involve workshops, site visits and community exchanges

Mayors in the United States and the Middle East have agreed to share information and technologies for managing water.

The deal is intended to help both sides access each other’s knowledge and experience in tackling problems relating to limited freshwater resources. The Sister Waters agreement was signed on 24 April in Chicago, United States.

Those backing the agreement hope it will enable mayors from Israel, Jordan and Palestine, along with those from the Great Lakes region in the United States, to address weaknesses in their water management. The partners plan to run workshops and site visits, and to swap experts.

“The agreement will hopefully be the beginning of knowledge exchange and technology transfer,” says Rachel Havrelock, head of the Freshwater Lab project at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and organiser of the event where the deal was signed.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Life in arid areas can be a blessing, not a misfortune

Photo credit: Tesfa News

“Life in arid areas can be a blessing, not a misfortune”- Eritrea’s message at the Expo Milano 2015

Expo Milano 2015: Flourishing in Arid Zones, The Eritrean Experience

By EXPO Milano 2015,


LIFE in arid areas can be a blessing, not a misfortune: this is the message that Eritrea seeks to spread during Expo Milano 2015.

Its contribution will be to illustrate the sustainability of its traditional agriculture. It outlines the potential of its natural resources as a food reserve for rural communities, explains how to deal with the challenges of water scarcity, introduces the traditional Eritrean cuisine (which, in many cases, has excellent nutritional value), and highlights the potential of cooperative approaches.

It also explores the challenges posed by desertification processes and explains the “every drop of water” conservation techniques, through dam and lake building for the purposes of farming, fishing and animal drinking water.

Read the full article: Tesfa News

Precipitation in Chile to drop significantly in coming years

Photo credit: Reuters

A view of the Runge reservoir in the town of Runge, some 60 km (37 miles) north of Santiago February 3, 2012. CREDIT: REUTERS/IVAN ALVARADO

Chile says drought here to stay, lays out plan to ensure water

San Pedro de Atacama, Atacama Desert, New Content 2014 33, Desolate, Drought -
San Pedro de Atacama, Atacama Desert, New Content 2014 33, Desolate, Drought –

With no end in sight to a drought that has blighted Chile for the last several years, the government will invest in desalinization plants and reservoirs to ensure access to potable water, President Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday.

The drought, which began in 2007, is hampering copper production in the world’s top exporter, exacerbating forest fires, driving energy prices higher and impacting agriculture.

In the usually lush and verdant south January was one of the driest since records began, with many places receiving zero rainfall. In the north of the country, home to the Atacama Desert, already the driest in the world, climatologists fear the spread of desertification.

Scientists say there is a long-term trend of increasingly dry conditions, linked to climate change.

“Faced with this critical situation, there is no choice but to assume that the lack of water resources is a reality that is here to stay and that puts at risk the development of important regions of our country,” Bachelet said in a televised speech.

Some $170 million will be invested in 2015 to access underground water sources, build and upgrade canals and improve irrigation systems, she said.

Read the full article: Reuters

Creating a global water recovery plan for water

Photo credit: Pixabay

Desert in Morocco

This World Water Day, a Recovery Plan Is More Important Than Ever


photo: Bert Kaufmann, Flickr Creative Commons, Drought -
photo: Bert Kaufmann, Flickr Creative Commons, Drought –

Twenty-two years ago, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22 to be World Water Day. In a world is facing a severe and growing water crisis without a roadmap, this day is more important than ever.

Our collective abuse of water has caused the planet to enter “a new geologic age” — a “planetary transformation” akin to the retreat of the glaciers more than 11,000 years ago. This is according to 500 renowned scientists brought together in Bonn at the invitation of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on May 2013. A majority of the world’s population lives within 30 miles of water sources that are badly impaired or running out, the scientists said.

The water crisis is also our greatest security threat. This is according to 900 global experts asked to assess the world’s biggest global risks in advance of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. Another global study warns that by 2030,demand for water will outstrip supply by 40 per cent. Lack of access to clean water is already by far the greatest killer of children.

Read the full article: Huffington Post

Water Fund for water supply and soil conservation

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Image credit: Arthi Water

  • Water Fund to benefit conservation

    “The water fund mobilises people involved in water catchment conservation to use scientifically-proven methods to maintain a green infrastructure.”

    Fred Kihara, The Nature Conservancy’s Nairobi Water Fund

    Speed read

    • About 60 per cent of Nairobi’s residents lack access to a reliable water supply
    • A new water fund is expected to increase water supply and soil conservation
    • An expert says periodic checking of water quality could help know its impact

    A new project that aims to deliver sustained water supply to over 9.3 million people while conserving the environment has been launched today in Kenya.

    The project, known as Nairobi Water Fund, has been described as the first in Africa by its implementing partners, and is expected to generate US$21.5 million in long-term benefits to Kenyan consumers, farmers and businesses.

    It is being implemented through a public-private partnership led by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), which has its headquarters in the United States.

    According to TNC, 60 per cent of Nairobi’s residents lack access to a reliable water supply, with the problem expected to become worse through unpredictable rainfall resulting from climate change.

    “Water funds are founded on the principle that it is cheaper to prevent water problems at the source than it is to address them further downstream,” TNC adds.

    Read the full article: SciDevNet

Reliable water and nutrition security

Photo credit: Google

Irrigation in Senegal

How can reliable water access contribute to nutrition security in Africa south of the Sahara?

IFPRI research on water for sustainable development

Drought, sanitation and hygiene

Photo credit: Google

Drought –

Global Water Challenges

Jon Spaull

Across the globe, 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation. One billion have to defecate in the open, 748 million lack access to improved drinking water and 1.8 billion use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces. These are some of the statistics that highlight the enormity of the challenge facing the world if the draft Sustainable Development Goal of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for all is to be achieved by 2030.

Water scarcity -
Water scarcity –

Goal 6 includes a 2030 target to “achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations”.

Read the full text: SciDevNet


Drought and thirst in Brazil

Photo credit: IPS

A puddle is all that is left in one of the reservoirs of the Cantareira System, which normally supplies nearly half of the São Paulo metropolitan region. Courtesy of Ninja/

Brazil – from the Droughts of the Northeast to São Paulo’s Thirst

By Mario Osava

“Life in the Northeast has gotten easier. With the government’s social benefits, people aren’t suffering the same deprivations as before, even during the current drought, one of the worst in history.” — Luciano de Almeida

A rural settlement in the northeast Brazilian state of Pernambuco, where water tanks have been installed to collect and store rainwater and make it fit for drinking. Initiatives like this one have modified the local population’s relationship with the recurrent drought in the semi-arid region. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS -
A rural settlement in the northeast Brazilian state of Pernambuco, where water tanks have been installed to collect and store rainwater and make it fit for drinking. Initiatives like this one have modified the local population’s relationship with the recurrent drought in the semi-arid region. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS –


Six million people in Brazil’s biggest city, São Paulo, may at some point find themselves without water. The February rains did not ward off the risk and could even aggravate it by postponing rationing measures which hydrologists have been demanding for the last six months.

The threat is especially frightening for millions of people who have flocked here from Brazil’s poorest region, the semi-arid Northeast, many of whom fled the droughts that are so frequent there.

The Nordestinos did not imagine that they would face a scarcity of water in this land of abundance, where most of them have prospered. The most famous of them, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, became a trade union leader and eventually president of the country from 2003 to 2011.

Many people in this city of 22 million people share his concern about storing more water, especially in the Zona Norte or northern zone of Greater São Paulo, which will be the first area affected by rationing if the state government decides to take measures aimed at guaranteeing water supplies year-round.

The Zona Norte is supplied by the Cantareira system of interconnecting reservoirs which, on the verge of collapse, is still providing water for six million people. It supplied nine million people up to mid-2014, when one-third of the demand was transferred to the other eight systems that provide water in the city.

It is precisely the Zona Norte that is home to many of the Nordestino migrants and their descendants, as reflected by the numerous restaurants that offer typical food from the Northeast, such as carne-de-sol (heavily salted beef cured in the sun), cassava flour and different kinds of beans.

Read the full article: IPS

Securing Water for Food

Photo credit: Pixabay

Africa: Securing Water for Food – a Grand Challenge for Development Announces Third Call for Innovations

United States Agency for International Development (Washington, DC)

9 MARCH 2015


Competition seeks innovations to improve water and food security, gender equality to receive up to $3 million in funding and acceleration support

Today at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (MFA-NL) announced the third call for groundbreaking innovations under Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development.

This $12.5 million global call for proposals has an increased focus on cutting-edge, advanced technologies and business models, as well as innovations that prioritize the engagement of women. As part of USAID’s new Middle East Water Security Initiative, an additional $2.5 million will be available for innovations implemented in the MENA region.

“By 2050, Global water demand expected to increase by 55 percent, and 70 percent of global water use occurs in food production,” said Christian Holmes USAID’s Global Water Coordinator. “Through a catalytic use of aid, Securing Water for Food will be able to capture and support the implementation of innovative ideas and new technologies for better water efficiency and sustainable development.”

Read the full article: allAfrica


The long-term implications of the water policies

Photo credit: British Council

‘Water is a precious resource in many parts of the world.’ © Photo: craigdietrich / Creative Commons

How countries can manage water access

By Erin O’Donnell

Access to water is a fundamental necessity, but many of us take it for granted. We turn on a tap, step into the shower or flush a toilet without giving any thought to where the water comes from, how it reaches us and whether there’s enough for us to use.

Water availability is uncertain in much of the world

It’s very different for many people in developing countries: in 2011, 768 million people lack access to sufficient water of a safe quality for drinking. Around the world, providing water to all those who need it remains a real challenge. Even in countries where access to safe water is a given, we are facing an uncertain future. A changing climate is likely to bring more extreme weather events, making both drought and flood more likely.. Water resource managers in urban areas are trying to adapt to increasing water demand as well as increasing unpredictability in water supplies. In Australia, we’re investing in large desalination plants. to provide alternative water supplies during times of water scarcity. In the UK, much of the effort is going in the opposite direction: managing the impact of too much water during floods, which can devastate towns at the bottom of river catchments.

Out in rural and regional areas, people have been living with uncertain water availability for many years. Irrigators and farmers are often more accustomed to the variability of water supplies, and adjust their farming activities accordingly. Over the past century, water managers have tried to provide secure water supplies by building vast water storages (dams) on rivers, which can hold water over from wet years and make it available in dry years. In Australia, as water becomes scarce, we’re also investing in massive infrastructure upgrades in irrigation areas, to reduce leakages and losses from irrigation systems. These water savings are often controversial (as in many cases they include water that may have seeped back into the river, and may have been used by other irrigators downstream), but when water is scarce and valuable, it’s important to make sure it’s being used efficiently (for more on this, have a look at the new book, by Professor Bruce Lankford at the University of East Anglia).

This really highlights the dual nature of water: it’s both a human right, something we can’t live without, and a valuable commercial input for irrigation, dairy farming, mining and power production. How do we protect that human right, whilst at the same time, encouraging commercial users to use it efficiently? And how do we make sure that even urban users don’t waste it?

How are governments dealing with demand for water?

Read the full article: British Council

It’s all about drinking water

Photo credit: Pixabay

Opinion: Water and the World We Want

By Corinne Schuster-Wallace and Robert Sandford

We have entered a watershed year, a moment critical for humanity.

As we reflect on the successes and failures of the Millennium Development Goals, we look toward the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals to redress imbalances perpetuated through unsustainable economic growth and to help achieve key universally-shared ambitions, including stable political systems, greater wealth and better health for all.

Photo credit: Hélène CLYBOUW - Kid carrying drinbking water in Sambel Kunda (The Gambia 2011-12)
Photo credit: Hélène CLYBOUW – Girl carrying drinking water in Sambel Kunda (The Gambia 2011-12)

More than any other resource, freshwater underpins sustainable development. Not only is it necessary for life and human well-being, it’s a key element of all human industry.

And a U.N. report launched Feb. 24, “Water in the World We Want,” outlines what must be done within the world’s water system.

Effective management and universal provisioning of drinking water and sanitation coupled with good hygiene are the most critical elements of sustainability and development, preventing disease and death and facilitating education and economic productivity.

While 2 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water since 2000, it is estimated that just as many do not have access to potable quality water, let alone 24-7 service in their homes, schools and health facilities. Furthermore, 2.5 billion people without adequate access and 1 billion with no toilet at all.

If we don’t regain momentum in water sector improvements, population growth, economic instability, Earth system impacts and climate disruption may make it impossible to ever achieve a meaningful level of sustainability.

If this occurs we could face stalling or even reversal of development, meaning more people, not fewer, in poverty, and greater sub-national insecurity over water issues with the potential to create tension and conflict and destabilize countries.

Threat of a global water crisis is often mischaracterised as a lack of water to meet humanity’s diverse needs. It is actually a crisis of not enough water where we want it, when we want it, of sufficient quality to meet needs.

Read the full article: IPS News

Looming drought in Namibia

Photo credit: Pixabay

The Veld in Namibia

Namibia: Cabinet Awaits Briefing On Drought

New Era (Windhoek)


The National Early Warning and Food Information Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry is expected to brief Cabinet next week on the looming drought in the country.

Namibia is bracing itself for a possible crisis worse than the drought experienced in 2013 as rains continue to stay away.

The situation – wherein only some five percent of all producers have received normal rainfall – has forced the livestock industry to schedule a meeting urgently in Windhoek this Friday to decide on a drought strategy, while the crop farming industry already announced an expected dismal total harvest in both the commercial and communal areas during a similar meeting two weeks ago.

At the same time, the water levels in all the major dams in the country are dropping at an alarming rate and Windhoek as the commercial hub could soon face water restrictions.

The Windhoek Municipality has again reminded the capital’s approximately 330 000 residents of the serious implications of wasting water in the absence of rain, as water levels in the city’s major supply dams decline daily, now reaching worryingly low levels and in some cases, even lower than in 2013.

Read the full article: allAfrica

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