Understanding the value of water key to efficient use | Infrastructure news

Key speakers from World Water Week 2017.

Key speakers from World Water Week 2017. Photo: Stockholm International Water Institute

Understanding and recognising the many different values attached to water is the key to more efficient use. This was the message participants took home after World Water Week officially closed on Friday 01 September 2017.

The link between the value of water, efficient use and implementing the global development agenda were reiterated by speakers throughout the week.

“With increasing scarcity, we must recognise the many values attached to water, be it economic, social, environmental, cultural or religious. I believe that by re-valuing water, we will develop a deeper understanding and respect for this precious resource, and thus be better prepared for more efficient use,” said Stockholm International Water Institute’s (SIWI) Executive Director Torgny Holmgren.

As climate-driven changes and increasing demand for water continue to put pressure on the worlds common water resources efficient use is no longer an option but a must to ensure future availability and the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Innovation and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals

In a filmed message to World Water Week, Amina J Mohamed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, pressed on the need to accelerate progress towards SDG6 on clean water and sanitation and on all the water-related sustainable development goals.

The priority now is to harness national leadership and global partnership to scale up action. […] Only by ensuring the sustainability of fresh water and access to sanitation for all will we achieve the SDGs. Let us value and treasure water as we value and treasure life itself.”

Speaking at the event Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Water and Sanitation in South Africa, highlighted the importance of embracing new technology as a means to support the path towards realising the SDGs. “We cannot afford to continue to do what we did yesterday and expect to see a different result tomorrow. We must be bold!” said Minister Mokonyane.

The minister also mentioned that appreciation must be given to new world class technologies emanating from Africa. Mokonyane reiterated the importance of mobilisation of resources and, most importantly, the partnership between government and the private sector which is informed by research and innovations.

“We are working together with local government to see how best we can harvest the waste in our waste water treatment plants and turn it into useable water. A lot of professional and scientific information, as well as infrastructure that is innovative, is coming through but what is most important is collaboration between government and the private sector,” Mokonyane said.

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