Submitted by Claire W on Tue,10/15/2013

As part of the ‘Nexus Dialogue on Water Infrastructure Solutions’, I recently attended a workshop in Bogotà, Colombia – the second in a series of three regional workshops, jointly organised by IUCN and theInternational Water Association.

Before I share some thoughts on this event, I should quickly remind you what the ‘Nexus’ is all about. The ‘Nexus’ refers to the intricate link between producing enough food, meeting growing energy needs, and ensuring sufficient water for people…and nature. My colleague Rebecca explains it well in her blog post (understanding the relationship between water energy and food security). Even though a recentGuardian blog rightly criticises the unappetising ‘Nexus’ word, it is nevertheless a useful denominator to summarise the relationships and start tackling the issue.

So, the Bogotà meeting, another workshop you may think? Not so. What sets these Nexus workshops apart is that firstly, participants come from a wide variety of sectors. Hence, no preaching to the choir, but rather a colourful ensemble of participants with different company interests and agendas…but all with the same aspiration: keeping water flowing and healthy.

For example, a river basin manager found himself working out future water scenarios with a hydropower engineer from an electrical company and a farmers’ representative from a grassroots network. Had these people met before? Not necessarily. Yet they face the same issues and seek answers to similar questions: “What ways of operating dams sustain wetland fisheries?”, “What technologies make irrigation more efficient?”, “How are water trade-offs negotiated”, etc.

Secondly, the nexus workshops are more like visionary brainstorm sessions. No long speeches or extensive Powerpoint presentations. The engineer, farmer, corporate manager, basin expert, all work together solving water challenges, and through that, discover the concerns and solutions existing in other sectors, be it agriculture, energy, biodiversity… for...Read more


Submitted by guest blogger on Fri,10/04/2013

By Milika Sobey of IUCN’s Oceania Office.

Last week, I visited Manaoba Island, located in Malaita Province. This was my first visit to rural Solomon Islands since 1988 when I went on a two-week trip to the Western Province to do research in Marovo Lagoon. Little has changed in terms of living standards and access to water and sanitation.

My visit is part of a programme designing process for the Solomon Islands Government. IUCN is working with the United Nationa Development Programme (UNDP) and the Solomon Islands Government to design the water sector adaptation programme to be funded by the Global Environment Facility.

I was accompanied by three local consultants, a representative from UNDP and another from the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification. The trip involved a 30 minute flight to Auki (provincial capital of Malaita), followed by a sea journey of more than three hours in a 23ft fibreglass boat that had a 40hp engine (with no back-up) and carrying nine persons with luggage. Not an ideal situation.

We stayed in Terefalu village, one of four or five villages on the island. There are 26 households and they have one natural well which serves as their source of potable water – it’s a 25-minute walk from the village to the well. The villagers dug three other wells to serve as communal bathing and laundry sites. The beaches serve as toilets for the villagers.

We surveyed the water sources, the existing infrastructure for rainwater harvesting and improvements that could be made for water accessibility and storage. A meeting was convened with the villagers so that we could explain the project and discuss challenges that the potential impacts of climate change would bring about. The provincial Minister for Economic Planning also accompanied us to Terefalu, and after

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