On World Water Day, March 22nd, the UN published a new report: The United Nations World Water Development Report 2020. The report draws a gloomy picture of the climate and our future, and as quoted in the report, our world is in actual danger.
Around one million animal and plant species are facing extinction. Freshwater species have suffered the greatest decline since 1970, falling by as much as 84%. Humans are too infected, especially regarding water supply; around four million people experience severe physical water scarcity for at least one month per year. A situation only exacerbated by the ongoing climate crisis.
As the planet warms, water has become one of the main ways in which we experience the changing climate. Yet, water is rarely brought up in the climate debate or in the international climate agreements, even though it plays a significant role in issues such as food security, production of energy, poverty reduction and economic development.
This falls into line with our strong opinion that water deserves a lot more attention on the global climate agenda; including the debates on energy production and health in general. Water is the source to all life and development on the planet, and wise management can have immense impact on how we address the 17 UN goals on sustainable development.
The model shows how water is inextricably linked to human survival, health and quality of life, but also that there is a nexus between water and energy. Water demands energy and vice versa – at least the conventionally produced kind. This means that if we can move towards more production of renewable energy, we will have more water available for other purposes. By using the resources from wastewater treatment processes, we can save energy and at the same time lower our carbon emissions. The best energy is the energy never used. And by lowering the global non-revenue water levels through network optimisation, we can gain much more from the available water on our planet.
In short, water does not need to be an issue. In fact, it can be part of the solution. It can contribute by securing enough food for our increasing populations, protect wetlands and increase the life quality for cities and communities.
We need to spread the word about existing technologies
The report states that, even though we need to focus on research and development, it is just as important to implement the already known and well-proven technologies. There are plenty to choose from, and with sufficient awareness and education, this is the way we can - and should - change our path.
80% of all human-induced wastewater is discharged directly into nature without any prior treatment. This should be collected, treated, and the remaining sludge should be utilised for energy production. If the treated water can then be discharged into a nearby area, expenses can be cut on the energy bill. Discharging into a nearby area can create a constructed wetland contributing with biodiversity and recreative areas. Through controlled seeping to the groundwater, cities are not in danger of sinking due to overexploited groundwater reserves, which is an issue many larger cities are dealing with today.
Introducing known technology will only happen through more awareness, proper education and through initiatives such as capacity programs. Our Summer school, which runs under the name “Advanced Water Cycle Management Course”, is our contribution in this area. With the latest knowledge at hand, and with a holistic approach to water’s entire journey throughout society, we focus on obtaining the most efficient supply and treatment processes. This means to look at water as something we borrow and return in the best possible ways to maintain the crucial balance in our ecosystem.
Learn more about our water management course here.
United Nations World Water Development Report 2020
Read the full report at UN's website. The report aims at informing about the opportunities that improved water management offers in terms of adaptation and mitigation.Go to UN website
Solutions to water challenges on a global scale
Learn more about water challenges worldwide, and the many possibilities for optimising management - saving water, energy, carbon emissions and valuable efforts.Go to knowledge area