Responding to the “new normal” – a call to the water innovators

Blog Feb 27, 2019

Each year, around a thousand business leaders and experts identify the most significant risks facing the planet over the coming decade. In the 2019 edition of the World Economic Forum’s Risks Report, “water crisis” is the fourth most impactful risk and the ninth likeliest. In this context, we are searching far and wide to uncover the best solutions, ideas, and collaborations to become part of the World Water Week showcase programme in 2019.

Each year, around a thousand business leaders and experts identify the most significant risks facing the planet over the coming decade. In the 2019 edition of the World Economic Forum’s Risks Report, “water crisis” is the fourth most impactful risk and the ninth likeliestRated highest on impact and likelihood are extreme weather events; failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation; and natural disasters – all very much related to, and worsened by, water crises. In fact, of the worst disasters since 1990, water-related catastrophes account for 90 per cent! 

Also clear in the list, is that poor water management plays a significant part in escalating most (9 out of 10) of the top risks, including “failure of regional or global governance”, “bio-diversity loss and ecosystem collapse” and “man-made natural disasters”.  

In a year when there is a heavy focus on ensuring everyone has access to water resources and services, and takes part in decision-makingwe cannot ignore the threats and risks that have stifled our plans and ambitions. Combine this with the increasing frequency and severity of extreme water events such as floods and droughts, there is no time like the present to really home in on the necessary solutions 

In this context, we are searching far and wide to uncover the best solutions, ideas, and collaborations to become part of the World Water Week showcase programme in 2019. If you recognize your organization’s work, or that or a colleague or friend, in the below, we encourage you to register for a Showcase. Deadline is 15 March, so don’t wait! 

  1. Solutions 
    How to avoid and manage floods, through governance e.g. by restricting building permits in flood prone areas, or technology e.g. by reinforcing dams and restoring retention systems when sky bursts, supposed to happen only twice per millennia make three appearances in 50 years like around Huston, Texas? How should we avoid the damaging effects of increasing droughts on cities and economies as well as on food and electricity production 
     
  2. Governing resources 
    What water resources should we save for the days, months and years when it doesn’t rain? Groundwater seems like a perfect candidate, as it outperforms most other water sources by the steadiness of supply and absence of pathogens. However, unsustainable abstraction is accelerating and quality an increasing concern for groundwater, not the least from other extractive industries. Mining for example, is very water intensive, using it for processing ore, suppressing dust as well as for heating and cooling machinery. Metal makers use water to solve chemicals for separating the target metals. The tailings and toxic mud of widely varying pH can, if improperly handled, wreak havoc on ecosystems, water, societies and humans. How should laws, guidelines and practices be changed to protect our lives and livelihoods? 
     
  3. Actors 
    What can the collective water community provide as answers to these challenges? Who do we need to team up with? How can we get the city planners, the insurance companies and disaster risk reduction professionals to join our discussions and how should we try to influence theirs 

The world needs knowledge and perspectives from a multitude of sources, and the collective wisdom to guide us towards a future we wantStep forward and showcase your lessons and successes, and help to expand, challenge, update and refine our understanding of, and action on, water. 

Submit your showcase proposal today. Submissions close March 15, 2019.