UN World Water Day Dedicated to Water and Jobs
Apr 4th, 2016 |
The events of the World Water Day this year were overshadowed by terrible terrorist attacks in Brussels on the 22nd of March. The EWP Team and Board Members who were in Brussels on the day came through the attacks safe. Our thoughts and sympathy go to the families of the victims on this very sad occasion.
On World Water Day on Water and Jobs UN agencies took the opportunity to highlight water stress as a limiting factor for economic growth and human health. From water collection to its ultimate return to the natural environment, water is an essential element of jobs both directly related to its management (supply, infrastructure, wastewater treatment, etc.) or indirectly in sectors that are heavily water-dependent such as agriculture, fishing, power, industry and health.
The UN World Water Development Report 2016 (WWDR 2016), launched on the Day, the report estimates that since three out of every four jobs worldwide are water-dependent, water shortages and limited access may stunt economic growth in the years to come. In its analysis of the economic impact of access to water, the report cites numerous studies that show a positive correlation between investments in the water sector and economic growth. Coincidentally, many companies took World Water Day to announce their commitment and new investments towards new water management initiatives.
The need to decouple water use from economic growth through holistic water management plans that take into account the entire water cycle was also highlighted in the International Resource Panel (IRP) report, which predicts severe water stress by the year 2030, unless current patterns of water use change dramatically. The consortium of scientists, governments and other groups hosted by UNEP argue that demand will exceed supply by 40% in 2030.
The publication ‘Policy Options for Decoupling Economic Growth from Water Use and Water Pollution’ proposes a range of solutions, from economic incentives to curb water demand, increasing efficiency of water use, reducing water waste and assessing “virtual water,” the water used to manufacture goods that are traded internationally. The report states Australia as an example, noting that from 2001 to 2008, although water consumption declined by 40%, the economy grew by more than 30%.