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Initiatives in Other Countries

REPORT ON A DECADE OF CUTTING EDGE RESEARCH: “We plan to work with partners to shape the future of America’s Water as a global example for climate resilience, and assured and affordable water supply,” stated Dr. Umanu Lall, Director of the Columbia University Water Center (December 2018)


“The initial mission at launch was to study, assess, understand and improve global water sustainability. It was one of the first academic efforts at a Global Water Initiative,” stated Dr. Umanu Lall. “Questions as to the state of water in the USA led to the birth of the America’s Water Initiative. This has led us to an exciting discovery of the state of water, climate induced risks, the water-energy-food nexus, the state of drinking water and clean water, and to new initiatives towards solutions for water infrastructure that assure affordable human and ecological health.”

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DODGING DAY ZERO IN CAPETOWN: “The City has already initiated steps towards the goal of becoming a water-sensitive city by 2040. In the City’s draft water strategy, the use of rain and stormwater is included,” stated Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson


“The next step comprises the management of all water within the urban water cycle. A key component of this is rain and stormwater harvesting, which offers great growth opportunities,” Ian Neilson said. “Stormwater and rain harvesting on a large scale is an incredibly intricate and complicated process with many legal, practical, budgetary, infrastructure and other considerations. Much work is underway.” The City has a draft strategy for harvesting rain and stormwater, part of a move towards holistic water management.

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THE SYSTEMS FRAMEWORK: “Revolutionary new bottom-up approach would transform the way we assess and manage our water resources,” stated Dr. Michael Barry


“One operational decision may create such substantial far-reaching benefits that it simply cannot be weighed against financial value alone, while another may produce unexpected costs across other sectors of society,” stated Dr. Michael Barry. “It is vital that regulators, governments, and business know about these trade-offs, which traditional analysis has limited ability to uncover, but which the Systems Framework exposes clearly.”

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THEME FOR WORLD WATER DAY 2018: World looks to nature-based solutions for urgent water challenges


“We need to deal with the water paradox,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, calling attention to the need to work together towards a solution for our water challenge. “Water is the essence of life, but we don’t save it enough. It’s time to change mindsets, it’s not about development versus the environment.” Nature-based solutions for water, demonstrates how nature-based solutions (NBS) offer a vital means of moving beyond business-as-usual to address many of the world’s water challenges.

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The Answer is in Nature: “Water management in the Anthropocene will require smart combinations of green and grey infrastructure,” stated Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, Stockholm International Water Institute


“Once on the ground, the fate of rainwater is largely determined by human activities, culture and infrastructure. Who gets how much water, and of what quality, often depends as much on human laws as it depends on the laws of nature,” stated Torgny Holgren. “There are two things to keep in mind. The first is that, in this era of ‘alternative truths’, nature is a fact. It doesn’t budge, scare or care. The second thing to remember is that nature’s solutions are tried and tested over thousands of years.”

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A Perspective on Water Management in Australia: “Water supply needs a splash of competition,” wrote Dr. Peter Coombes in an op-ed for the Financial Review newspaper


“The economic efficiency of Australia’s centralised water utilities is rapidly declining – and consumers are paying for it. At a macroeconomic level (household welfare across the economy), grid water costs of households in Melbourne, Adelaide and South East Queensland have jumped by up to 180 per cent over the past decade, while water usage has increased by less than 10 per cent,” wrote Peter Coombes.

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: “The way we see the world is shaped by our vocabulary,” observed Metro Vancouver’s Robert Hicks when commenting on ‘what is an appropriate term to use’ for different uses of water in different languages


“Other languages like French and German often use more exact terms than English for 'stormwater' and 'wastewater', and this changes how relationships and worth are perceived,” states Robert Hicks. “The reason why other languages use more exact terms relates to the structural nature of those languages.

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OP-ED: “Water – the need for collective and context specific action” – reflections by Rylan Dobson


“Business-as-usual is now no longer possible with the crisis that is faced by our global water resources,” wrote Rylan Dobson. “The actions that will secure our water future will be more locally driven. Referred to as either context-based or science-based sustainability, there is a greater need for the business community and watershed users to better understand their individual local boundaries and directly their actions in order to ensure they operate within these boundaries.”

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Australia’s Dr. Peter Coombes champions “Transitioning Drainage into Urban Water Cycle Management”


“There have been many changes in our approach to urban water management in Australia since the establishment of the centralised and separate water supply, stormwater and wastewater paradigm in the 1800s,” stated Peter Coombes. “Urban water cycle management starts with the integration of land and water planning across time horizons and spatial scales. It must be cognisant of likely advances in science and professional practice over the next 30 years.”

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Reflections by Australia’s Dr. Peter Coombes (2nd in a 3-part series): “Integrate water balance strategies with existing infrastructure strategies to visualise what a ‘resilient future’ would look like”


“A history of top down management of water in Australia was challenged by drought. Concerned citizens called for implementation of bottom up strategies and inclusion in the decision making process. It was an emerging insight that there were no ‘silver bullet’ single solutions for water management. Both bottom-up and top-down approaches were needed,” wrote Peter Coombes.

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