Policymakers have agreed an ambitious plan to create a global monitoring and reporting system to oversee water supply, sanitation and water resources management, a U.N. expert said.
Part of the initiative would be assisting developing countries to collect and analyse data on their water resources. The data would likely feed into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are expected to replace the U.N. anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, Joakim Harlin of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said.
As people increasingly try to lessen their impact on the environment by conserving energy and water, many companies – including some of the large multinationals – are following suit.
This week in the Swedish capital, environmental sustainability was in focus for hundreds of delegates at the World Water Week conference where topics ranged from how best to achieve food security for almost 1 billion people who currently go hungry to corruption in the water sector and how to provide adequate sanitation for 2.5 billion people who lack it.
When environmental engineer John Feighery got an internship at NASA in the 1990s, he wanted to be an astronaut. Instead, he was given a job working with a team designing the U.S. bathroom for the International Space Station.
The small, closet-like space needed a toilet, a place for hand washing, a place for bathing and a place to keep toiletries. Feighery also worked on a project to fix equipment designed for monitoring crew health, which included testing water and air quality.
Stamping out corruption in the water sector is crucial to boosting global food production as world population growth increases pressure on water supplies, according to experts meeting at World Water Weekin Stockholm.
Corruption in the water sector is already a major problem for farmers and it’s likely to get worse as competition for water increases, a joint statement released by the Water Integrity Network (WIN), Transparency International and the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) Water Governance Facility at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.
Each year on Aug. 20 the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) celebrates Mosquito Day to honour the date in 1897 when British doctor Ronald Ross discovered that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between human beings. Ross was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1902 for his discovery.
Picture credit: Handout picture shows tea party held in British doctor Ronald Ross’s honour at the Ross Institute on Aug. 20, 1931. ALERTNET/Handout/LSHTM
A global system to monitor management of water resources would help governments secure food and water supplies for the future, a U.N. expert due to attend the World Water Weekconference later this month has told AlertNet.
“There’s demand for a global reporting mechanism that will help us see what is the status of water security and how water is used around the world as a resource, whether in agriculture, industrial production or any other way,” said Joakim Harlin, senior water resources advisor for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Information technology is a powerful tool for experts working to provide secure access to water for personal use, food production and business in developing nations.
Giving poor people proper access to safe water and sanitation would save 2.5 million people a year from dying from diarrhoea and other diseases spread by a lack of hygiene, according to charity WaterAid.
We can think creatively about water management, but unknown large global threats could cause a fundamental reorganisation of life on Earth, according to a water expert with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).
“A doomsday scenario would be that if the Greenland ice sheet melts, and then there’s six metres of sea-level rise — all bets are off,” said David Purkey, a senior scientist who heads SEI’s Northern California office. “I think we’ve got bigger problems than water scarcity at that moment.”
Reining in “water anarchy” due to inadequate regulation is one way to avoid the threat of water scarcity and secure resources for the future, according to a water expert at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).
Hakan Tropp, director of the United Nations Development Programme water governance facility at SIWI, told AlertNet in an interview that governments should respond to consumer trends in developing countries by instituting new water management policies to avoid future shortfalls.
Are sandbag igloos the key to solving housing problems in dry regions?
Architects Nicola Du Pisanie of Stonewood Design and Ross McDonald of Alison Brooks Architects discuss a proposed project to build sandbag, or super adobe, igloo homes in the Namibian desert during a London Festival of Architecture talk at the Building Centre in London.
The geometrical domes are made with sandbags and barbed wire and then plastered for protection. They are not difficult to construct and they are wind and earthquake resistant, according to Du Pisanie and McDonald.