Challenges & opportunities
Enabling an integrated approach to managing water resources
The Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals Report of the UN Secretary-General observes that 29% of the global population lack access to safe drinking water, while only 45% use safely managed sanitation facilities. More efficient use and innovative management of water resources are critical to addressing the competing and growing water demands from various industries and users, the threats to water security and the potential risks and scarcity due to climate change.
Conventional solutions are not enough to deal with this mounting stress in the water sector. To achieve the clean water and sanitation goals by 2030, we need to accelerate the implementation of integrated water resources management and the deployment of smart solutions built on circular economy models. That, in turn, requires strong partnerships, technology transfer, exchange of innovative ideas and demonstration of successful case studies.
Deep dive sessions
Accelerating the pace of achieving the clean water and sanitation goals
Technology mix for sustainable irrigation
Anywhere around the world, sustainable irrigation is critical for realising food and water security. Even if technological solutions with significant water saving potential have been in play for some time, upscaling their use has been challenging in various hydrogeological and socio-economic conditions. Hence, most regions continue to suffer from low efficiency in irrigation water use. Enhancing that efficiency requires more than deploying technologies such as micro-irrigation systems, digital tools, and solar-powered water pumps. It demands a mix combining the use of technologies and best practices with effective policies and sustainable finance mechanisms, as well as inclusive water management.
Smart water management and governance
Measures to adapt the Earth’s water systems to climate change can be very diverse. Healthy watersheds and the expansion of multipurpose reservoirs, wastewater reclamation, desalination plants and flood infrastructure harness the power of nature to ensure access to safe drinking water. Regulations and incentives combined with technology can help solve water scarcity in urban and rural areas. Ground- and satellite-based monitoring supports planning for floods and droughts, while enhanced stakeholder collaboration is critical to improve water governance.
Upscaling solutions for water supply systems
Sustainable growth and less poverty remain out of reach as long as hundreds of millions of people lack access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. Too many countries face challenges for efficient water service delivery, including high leakages, inadequate per capita supply, inequity in distribution, high non-revenue water (NRW), and poor water quality. These challenges cannot be addressed without upscaling innovative technological solutions – including the use of digital tools and solutions empowered by Artificial Intelligence. To do that, more effective dissemination strategies are needed, along with appropriate financial investments, technology transfers, strong partnerships and enabling policy frameworks.