Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Africa Water, Sanitation Jan -Feb 2014 Vol.10 No1 - Page 30

Water Management “Although water goals and targets were achieved under the MDGs, the main focus was on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), all geared towards poverty reduction,” said Chiramba. “But there was no explicit focus on addressing the sustainability aspect.” As a result, say experts, water management issues were never comprehensively addressed at the national or international level, nor was the key role that water can play in growing the various sectors of the economy. This year is also the last year of the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’ which began in 2005, and will set the tone for World Water Day to be marked on March 22, which will also focus on ‘water and sustainable development’. The primary goal of the ‘Water for Life’ Decade has been to promote efforts to fulfill international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015. The Water Decade has served to forge cooperation at all levels so that the water-related goals of the Millennium Declaration are achieved. The end of the Decade also marks the beginning of new water campaigns, “this time, with great focus on the impact of water on development,” said Chiramba. The Zaragoza water conference has brought to the fore the fact that the Decade has achieved the difficult task of isolating water issues as key to the development agenda and has provided a platform for governments and stakeholders to address the threats that water scarcity poses to development, experts say. “It has also been a platform for stakeholders and government to discuss the opportunities that exist in exploiting water as a resource,” said Alice Shena, a civil society representative at the event. As a result of the Water Decade, Shena noted, a broader international water agenda has been established that goes beyond universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. “The agenda now includes the sustainable use and development of water resources, increasing and sharing the available benefits which have significant implications for every sector of the economy,” she said. According to environment expert Nataliya Nikiforova, as a new era of development goals begins under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is clear that water will play a critical role in development. She said that if managed efficiently and equitably, water can play a key enabling role in strengthening the resilience of social, economic and environmental systems in the light of rapid and unpredictable changes. Source: IPS 30 Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene • January - February 2015 Statistics Water quality According to the WHO/ UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, at least 1.8 billion people world-wide are estimated to drink water that is faecally contaminated. An even greater number drink water which is delivered through a system without adequate protection against sanitary hazards. Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality recommend that faecal indicator bacteria (FIB), preferably E. coli or alternatively thermotolerant coliform (TTC), should not be detectable in any 100 ml drinking water sample (WHO 2011). An adequate protection against sanitary hazards can for example be public taps or standpipes, tube wells or boreholes, protected dug wells, protected springs and rainwater collection. Water, energy and food are inextricably linked Nowhere is the critical inter-relationship between water and energy more evident than in the AsiaPacific region, home to 61% of the world’s people and with its population Photo by Martine Perret expected to reach five billion by 2050. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) forecasts a massive rise in energy consumption in the Asia-Pacific region: from barely 1/3 of global consumption to 51-56% by 2035. Global water withdrawals are projected to increase by some 55% through 2050 Global water withdrawals are projected to increase by 55% through 2050 due to growing demands from manufacturing (400%), thermal electricity generation (140%) and domestic use (130%). The largest proportion of this growth will occur in countries with developing or emerging economies and increasing standards of living, through their greater demand for food, energy and other goods, the production of which can require significant quantities of water. Roughly 75% of all industrial water withdrawals are used for energy production. Groundwater is the primary source of drinking water worldwide: globally, the rate of groundwater abstraction is increasing by 1-2% per year. There is clear evidence that groundwater supplies are diminishing, with an estimated 20% of the world’s aquifers being over-exploited, some critically so. World Water Development Report 2014