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Symposium 2009

Preparing for the Blue Revolution

The Challenge

Water shortages are cropping up around the world – from Australia to South Africa, from Brazil to the Sahel. Many of the world’s mightiest rivers run dry before reaching the sea. Perhaps half the world’s wetlands have been damaged or destroyed in the past century as salt water has displaced fresh water. These facts are striking, in view of the fact that the world’s population withdraws less than a tenth of the water that falls to the ground and that – unlike our fossil fuels – the world’s water supplies cannot be used up.

Although some regions suffer chronic water shortages whereas others are repeatedly flooded, water shortages are not merely a local problem to be solved locally. There are powerful world-wide forces at work that are making water a global problem. The first is climate change, which accelerates the rate at which water evaporates and falls and thereby increases our water management problems. The second is demography: in the last half century, the world’s population has grown by 2.5 billion, and it is expected to grow by another three billion in the next half century.

And the third is diet: as people around the world become wealthier, vegetarian diets are replaced by meat, requiring much more water input. To meet these challenges, we require more than local initiatives; what is called for is a “blue revolution.”

How can we reduce the flagrant waste of our water supplies? How can we discourage dry regions and countries from highly water-intensive agricultural products? How can we allocate water efficiently among our various uses – food, industry, services, personal use? How can we ensure that access to water is not inequitably distributed, amplifying the misery of the poor? What is the role of water pricing and sale of water rights in supporting a blue revolution? What role can business play in this revolution? How can the political obstacles to a reform of water management be overcome?

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Price water. Decouple land ownership and water rights, so that water rights are allocated to assure access to clean water for drinking and sanitation as a fundamental human right.

    Price water. Decouple land ownership and water rights, so that water rights are allocated to assure access to clean water for drinking and sanitation as a fundamental human right.

    Price water. Decouple land ownership and water rights, so that water rights are allocated to assure access to clean water for drinking and sanitation as a fundamental human right.

    Polity
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Establish transitional arrangements (rather than sudden policy shifts) to achieve efficiency and sustainability in water management.These arrangements must pay careful attention to reform sequencing; for example, investment must follow entitlement, ...

    Establish transitional arrangements (rather than sudden policy shifts) to achieve efficiency and sustainability in water management.These arrangements must pay careful attention to reform sequencing; ...

    Establish transitional arrangements (rather than sudden policy shifts) to achieve efficiency and sustainability in water management.These arrangements must pay careful attention to reform sequencing; for example, investment must follow entitlement, allocation, and trading arrangements; and pricing must follow metering.

    Polity, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Foster more bottom-up, collective water action, and community level governance approaches.

    Foster more bottom-up, collective water action, and community level governance approaches.

    Foster more bottom-up, collective water action, and community level governance approaches.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Promote investment in technology hubs, research, and education on water management.

    Promote investment in technology hubs, research, and education on water management.

    Promote investment in technology hubs, research, and education on water management.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Facilitate women’s access to water and enhance their participation in the development and implementation of water management strategies in poor countries.

    Facilitate women’s access to water and enhance their participation in the development and implementation of water management strategies in poor countries.

    Facilitate women’s access to water and enhance their participation in the development and implementation of water management strategies in poor countries.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    To adapt water management to climate change, strengthen the legal architecture and implementation of laws on water use, taking account of the entire “water chain;” and phase out water subsidies ...

    To adapt water management to climate change, strengthen the legal architecture and implementation of laws on water use, taking account of the entire “water chain;” and phase out water subsidies in ...

    To adapt water management to climate change, strengthen the legal architecture and implementation of laws on water use, taking account of the entire “water chain;” and phase out water subsidies in the longer term.

    Polity
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Set up a a global database on water management and strengthen international forums to guide countries on sustainable water use, taking account of cross-border issues.

    Set up a a global database on water management and strengthen international forums to guide countries on sustainable water use, taking account of cross-border issues.

    Set up a a global database on water management and strengthen international forums to guide countries on sustainable water use, taking account of cross-border issues.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2009

    Reforming water governance

    Technological and engineering solutions to double food and feed production are the easier part of the equation to solve if we are to overcome water scarcity and the impact it will have on food product ...

    Technological and engineering solutions to double food and feed production are the easier part of the equation to solve if we are to overcome water scarcity and the impact it will have on food production and economic development. Overcoming the social, economic and environmental impediments and obtaining the needed financial investment is the hard part. Making things harder still is the fact that institutional and governance arrangements for water in many countries were designed in the middle of the last century and based on inappropriate models in which water was viewed as an infinite resource. Governments lack incentives to implement

    Polity, Business
    Proposal
    Symposium 2009

    Watering the World: Elements of a blue revolution

    Questions How is the world going to feed, water, and provide energy to another 2 billion people? The challenge becomes enormous when decides to keep water clean and nurture environmental services. The ...

    Questions How is the world going to feed, water, and provide energy to another 2 billion people? The challenge becomes enormous when decides to keep water clean and nurture environmental services. The challenge becomes daunting when one adds the aspirations of many to escape from poverty and others to adopt more water-intensive diets and lifestyles. Factor is some extreme water scarcity and some adverse climate change, plus increased flood risks and one could give up. To make matters worse, a considerable proportion of the earth’s fresh water resources are over-used. In many areas, there is no more water to be

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Implemen- tations

    Implementation
    Symposium 2009

    CARE Water and Sanitation in Zimbabwe

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Implementation
    Symposium 2009

    CARE Water and Sanitation in Ethiopia

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Implementation
    Symposium 2009

    UNESCO IHE Institute for Water Education

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society