Submitted by Maria on Mon,03/29/2021

Blog by James Dalton -- Monday this week saw the 28th annual World Water Day. The Day celebrates water and raises awareness about the global water crisis, the theme this year was valuing water.

The value of water is not about economic price or financial worth. Instead, the theme aims to raise awareness about the myriad of connections we have with water, be it for social and economic use but also for our natural systems and cultural values. Not valuing something can lead to mismanagement, poor investment, externalities, and ultimately loss and failure.

In response to the UN’s High-Level conclusion in 2018 that the world was off-track to meet the sustainable development goal on water and sanitation (SDG6), a new High Level Panel on Water developed five principles to better recognise the value of water. Championed since by the Dutch Government’s Valuing Water Initiative, these principles should now form part of any water strategy, whether for water resource management, freshwater species protection, or water services and governance. 

Under the #Water2me initiative, UN Water asked people to submit what water means to them, crowdsourcing people’s perspectives and emotions about water. I have seen many of these submissions on social media. By far the majority are very personal, they reflect on people’s childhoods, times with family and friends, outings, activities, fun, spiritual, personal tales and emotions. I have not seen one that says ‘it’s my job'. It is of course, my job, but it is also much more. 

In my role I get to work with, and meet people obsessed with water, fully committed to their cause and that of their role with water. These are inspiring people working across a...Read more

Submitted by James Dalton on Thu,06/13/2019

By Will Sarni and James Dalton. It is clear that the water stewardship value proposition is incomplete. Stewardship has, more often than not, been framed as a CSR "check the box" exercise and not about business strategy and value creation.Read more

Submitted by James Dalton on Tue,03/26/2019

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) have gathered attention over the last decade with IUCN, the EU, The World Bank and the UN, among many players, exploring the different considerations necessary to implement nature as a solution.Read more

Submitted by James Dalton on Fri,02/22/2019

Blog by James Dalton. One of the increasingly common messages proposed for the management of water resources is ‘systems thinking’. The hydrological cycle is after all, a ‘system’ – a set of constituent parts and processes that work independently but also together, allowing water to flow, drain, infiltrate, evaporate, condense and precipitate. This water system is also a key part of the overall climate regulation process – a process we are distorting through fossil fuel burning.Read more

Submitted by Claire W on Thu,04/05/2018

Post by: Claire Warmenbol

‘The Shape of Water’, quite symbolically the title of the movie I watched on route to Brasilia for the 8th World Water Forum, reminded me (much like the Avatar movie) about the mystery, strength and silence of nature…and the need for people to speak up for it, so as to protect and preserve it.

Aerial view of Brazilian rainforest

That is what the World Water Forum is about. Whilst access to water is a universal human right, without good governance policies, sound scientific research, strong management strategies, and robust legislation, water sources would stand no chance against the planet’s booming population bringing with it increased pollution, abstraction, and artificial alteration of natural flows.

Some may think ‘another conference’, yet I think what could be more important than water to gather a global community of engineers, scientists, policy-makers, heads of state and practitioners around? We all depend on water, there is no viable substitute. Despite many years in the job, I still consider myself privileged to be a part of that community and share in the mindset of finding solutions to the world’s most pressing

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Submitted by guest blogger on Wed,03/21/2018

Post by: Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General

From Cape Town to Bangalore, water shortages are a growing global menace, driven by rising demand worldwide and a warming climate. As the search for practical, cost-effective solutions intensifies, we cannot afford to ignore the important contribution nature offers to addressing the global water crisis. This is why the critical role of nature-based solutions is highlighted as the theme of this year’s World Water Day.

Sobradinho Hydroelectric reservoir in northeast Brazil

Climate change is pushing already overstretched water supplies to the limit. Cape Town’s residents are currently enduring a devastating drought; the 2015 drought in São Paolo forced 9 million Brazilians to ration water. Around the world, one in four of the biggest cities is suffering from water stress.

In fact, water scarcity already affects more than 40% of the global population. According to the UN, our dwindling water resources are increasingly contaminated by pollutants from intensive agriculture, industrial production, mining, urban runoff and wastewater. Meanwhile, our water needs continue to grow, projected to rise by 30% by 2030.

Given the bleak and urgent context, it is not surprising that the global

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Submitted by guest blogger on Mon,03/19/2018

Post by: Yolanda Kakabadse, an Ecuadorian environmentalists and Chair of the Rio Doce Panel

In the long term, it pays for business to use natural resources in a way that benefits all of society. Efforts to rehabilitate the Rio Doce watershed in Brazil following the 2015 mining disaster are a case in point, writes Yolanda Kakabadse, Chair of the Rio Doce Panel, which will provide advice on the restoration efforts, as the 8th World Water Forum opens in Brasilia this week.

The Candonga Reservoir downstream of the dam site was heavily affected by the spill.

Read this blog in Portuguese , Spanish or French

In November 2015, disaster struck near the town of Mariana in Brazil.  The Fundão tailings dam at the Samarco mine failed, spilling water, mud and debris 650km down the Rio Doce, eventually reaching the Atlantic Ocean. The collapse and mudslide killed 19 people, caused severe economic and social damage for communities living along the Rio Doce, and affected fish and other aquatic life. We don’t yet know the full extent of the damage it caused to critical ecosystems and water resources. However, we do know it was one of the country’s worst environmental disasters.

Today, the Rio Doce still carries high levels of sediment from the spill,

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Submitted by guest blogger on Sat,02/17/2018

The changing benefits of ecosystem services for rural communities in northern Ghana.

Post by: Mul, M.; Pettinotti, L.; Amonoo, N. A.; Bekoe-Obeng, E.; Obuobie, E. 
 Hamish John Appleby / IWMI

A crocodile in the Upper East Region. Photo: Hamish John Appleby / IWMI

In contrast with affluent parts of the world, people living along the White Volta River in northern Ghana seldom take water for granted. Its seasonal flows shape their livelihoods, and their keen appreciation of water-dependent ecosystems is evident in local beliefs and customs. Under traditional land tenure, for example, a “land priest” (or tindana) has responsibility, at least symbolically, for all major decisions about natural resources. Ponds and the surrounding trees – key features of the region’s “natural infrastructure” – are considered to be the abode of ancestors. The “grandmother crocodile pond” in one village is named after a female ancestor of the local chief, who is said to have come back to life in this form.

Valuing natural infrastructure

To the reverential attitudes of rural communities, researchers have added new insights on the benefits that natural infrastructure provides to local communities, which can help guide decisions about natural resource management. This was the focus of a team led by Marloes Mul, a hydrologist with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and Laetitia Pettinotti from the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), who recently conducted a study in northern Ghana’s Talensi and West Mamprusi Districts to examine the natural infrastructure that sustains ecosystem services and to characterize the potential impacts on these services of changes occurring in the region. Through a “participatory rural appraisal,” the researchers captured the views of local communities on these issues, taking care to distinguish between the differing perspectives of women and...Read more

Submitted by guest blogger on Mon,12/18/2017

It’s no joking matter in Kenya’s Tana River Basin


Collecting rainwater data on the farm. Photo: Georgina Smith / CIAT

The authors of a new study about climate change impacts in Kenya have both good news and bad for the country’s vital Tana River Basin. First, the good news: Mean annual rainfall may increase by up to 43% in the course of the 21st century, though with clear differences between rainfall in the upper, middle and lower parts of the basin. And now the bad: Extreme climate events, especially flooding, will also increase. The combined effect of this news will be to make water management in the basin a lot trickier during the decades to come.

Global Landscapes Forum 2017

New findings on the hydrological impacts of climate change in Kenya’s Tana River Basin are being released at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) 2017, held in Bonn, Germany, on December 19-20. Efforts to improve water and land management in the Tana Basin are in the spotlight during a GLF session hosted by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), along with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).



How Kenya responds to this challenge will make an enormous difference to people and the environment. Consumers in the capital city, Nairobi, get 80% of their water from the Tana Basin. It also delivers 70% of the country’s hydroelectric power and 35% of its total electricity supply. The basin is home...Read more

Submitted by guest blogger on Tue,12/12/2017

Post by: Naomi Oates (Overseas Development Institute) (ODI))

These are exciting times to be working in Kenya’s water sector. The 2010 Constitution not only enshrines citizen rights to water, but has triggered a raft of reforms aimed at improving public participation and accountability in development processes. As a consequence, substantial responsibilities and funds have been devolved to newly created County Governments, including for water service provision. Local stakeholders are also becoming bolder in challenging top-down water infrastructure developments that could affect their well-being.Read more