Water Currents: World Water Day 2020

World Water Day is held annually on March 22 to focus attention on the vital importance of water to safeguarding human security and maintaining the health of the planet's ecosystems. This year's theme, "Water and Climate Change," highlights the urgent importance of strengthening water security and establishing access to a sustainable water supply in the face of extreme weather events worldwide.

Under USAID’s Water and Development Plan (part of the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy), improving management of water resources is a key objective. This development result seeks to help partner countries better cope with the rising pressures on freshwater resources, including drinking water supplies, through investments that sustainably manage and equitably allocate water supplies, expand watershed protection and restoration, and increase communities’ resilience in face of water-related shocks and stresses. Making sure that water points and water systems are maintained, reliable, and able to operate without fail during times of drought or flood is a critical way that USAID is helping increase resilience in the face of drought and other climate change stressors.

We would like to thank staff from USAID’s Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP)Global Water 2020, and the Institute for Ecological Civilization (EcoCiv) for their contributions to this issue, which covers upcoming events related to World Water Day and recent studies and research that delve into the impacts of growing water insecurity on health, water quality, and vulnerable communities as well as “Day Zero” scenarios.

World Water Day 2020: Water and Climate Change – The theme of World Water Day 2020 focuses on Water and Climate Change. Extreme weather events are making water more scarce, more unpredictable, more polluted, or all three and yet humans and all the systems they rely upon require water to survive. Resources on the website include Case StudiesSocial Media and Communications, and an Events page.

Inaugural W12 Congress, May 18–20, 2020, Cape Town, South Africa – Water experts and policymakers from around the world will gather to promote solutions for water security at the city level. Participants will share challenges and successes and develop new strategies, with a particular focus on innovative approaches to funding water projects where they are needed most. The result will be the “W12 Protocol,” a set of best practices and accompanying resources for cities facing water scarcity. Work on the W12 Protocol is underway, with input from key strategic partner UNESCO and leading experts.

World Water Day 2020: Water and Climate ChangeGlobalwaters.org, February 2020. This event page highlights the theme of this year’s World Water Day and describes USAID’s investment approach to improve drinking water access in rural and urban communities, protect freshwater resources, and increase communities’ resilience in a water-stressed world. It also includes links to USAID stories, podcasts, and blogs related to the topic.

Water and Peace Conference, April 1, 2020, Philadelphia  – The Global Water Alliance will host a special conference in partnership with Drexel University’s Department of Peace Engineering and the Water Center at the University of Pennsylvania. This year’s conference, an official preparatory event for the 2021 World Water Forum in Senegal, will focus on developing systems of water governance and management to promote peace and mitigate watershed conflicts through cross-boundary collaboration.

UN-Water Policy Brief on Climate Change and WaterUN-Water, October 2019. This policy brief explains how the global climate crisis is inextricably linked to water. An increased variability in the water cycle is inducing extreme weather events; reducing the predictability of water availability; decreasing water quality; and threatening sustainable development, biodiversity, and enjoyment of the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation worldwide.

Water Security in an Uncertain Future: Enhancing Water Resources Management and Planning by Reducing Climate- and Weather- Related RisksClimatelinks, May 2019. USAID’s SWP and Southern Africa’s Resilient Waters Program both work in basins that cover multiple countries and ecosystems. These programs are addressing vulnerabilities by engaging stakeholders to create decision-making frameworks and water allocation plans that consider impacts to livelihoods, risks to ecosystems, and the effects of changing climate and weather patterns.

Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Links Between SDG 13 and SDG 6WaterAid, July 2019. This brief describes the link between SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 13 (climate change) and highlights how water—too much or too little—is often the way developing countries are experiencing the effects of climate change. The paper includes case studies from Bangladesh and the Sahel.

Review of Water and Climate Change Policies in South Asia. International Water Management Institute, May 2019. This report assesses the suitability of the water and climate-related policy environment (existing policy, legislation, strategy, and planning instruments) for adapting to the impacts of climate change in the water sector in South Asia.

A Road Map to Greater Water SecurityUSAID SWP, 2019. This article describes how SWP is facilitating a water allocation plan in Tanzania.

Women Leading the Fight for Water Security. USAID SWP, 2019. For SWP, engaging women and other marginalized groups is an important element of the Water Security Improvement process.

Gordon Mumbo on Water and Livelihoods in the Mara River BasinEnvironmental Change and Security Program, 2019. Mumbo and his colleagues are working across Kenya and Tanzania on a water location plan that considers how much water is needed to sustain the environment, the people, and the wildlife.

The Untold Story of Water in Climate Adaptation Part II: 15 Countries SpeakGlobal Water Partnership, December 2019. This synthesis reviews how water resources management currently contributes to climate resilience and sustainable development in 15 countries.

Day Zero/Drought
Towards a Water Secure Future: Reflections on Cape Town’s Day Zero CrisisUrban Water Journal, October 2019. The article recommends that government, the private sector, and consumers need to work together to develop and implement a water sensitive approach that will transform water planning, supply, and demand at scale.

No Drips, No Drops: A City Of 10 Million Is Running Out of WaterGoats and Soda, June 2019. In India's sixth-largest city, lines for water snake around city blocks and Chennai, with a population of almost 10 million, is nearly out of water.

Beyond ‘Day Zero’: Insights and Lessons from Cape TownHydrogeology Journal, June 2019. The article discusses a range of factors that contributed to Cape Town nearing “Day Zero” and the difficulty of putting restrictions on water allocation. The article ends by suggesting that Cape Town diversifies its water sources, particularly by investing in groundwater management. Currently, Cape Town relies heavily on rainwater as the city’s source of freshwater.

Water Resilience Lessons from Cape Town’s Water CrisisWIREs Water, July 2019. The situation that played out in Cape Town in 2018 provides insightful lessons for what water resilience should look like. The article argues that anticipatory strategies should be a key component. The article also addresses how cooperation and trust between government and citizenry affect water resilience in times of crisis.

How to Communicate Drought: A Guide by the Integrated Drought Management Programme in Central and Eastern EuropeGlobal Water Partnership, 2019. This guide is geared toward water professionals and journalists. For journalists, the guide sets out what people really need to know about drought, and for water professionals, the guide offers experiences of working with the media to communicate drought in ways that increase public interest and engagement.

Financing/Cost Issues
Climate Change Is Hurting Africa’s Water Sector, but Investing in Water Can Pay OffWorld Resources Institute, October 2019. This blog describes how investments in three key areas of the water sector will improve people’s climate resilience across Africa.

Short-Changed on Climate Change: Money, Water and the People on the FrontlineWaterAid, March 2020. The low level of climate finance spent on WASH services reflects the poor recognition of how these services can build resilience to climate change.

Achieving Abundance: Understanding the Cost of a Sustainable Water FutureWorld Resources Institute, January 2020. This working paper proposes a method for decision-makers to calculate the cost required to deliver sustainable water management to any geography.

Vulnerable Communities
Discussion Paper: Climate, Sanitation and HealthWorld Health Organization, July 2019. This paper provides an overview of the impacts of climate variability and change on sanitation and the implications for health. It outlines potential adaptation options for strengthening sanitation governance, policies, systems and services, and highlights further research needs and imperatives for policy and programming.

Child Health, Household Environment, Temperature and Rainfall Anomalies in Honduras: A Socio-Climate Data Linked AnalysisEnvironmental Health, January 2020. The authors conclude that in light of shifts in global temperature and precipitation, tackling in advance those household environmental factors responsible for poor child health outcomes (better sanitation and clean cooking fuel) can prevent a further deterioration of children’s health in Honduras.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Risk Factors for the Transmission of Cholera in a Changing Climate: Using a Systematic Review to Develop a Causal Process DiagramJournal of Water and Health, January 2020. Through a systematic review and meta-analysis, this study examines the main WASH factors associated with cholera transmission, focusing on cases in community settings. The authors developed a health impact pathway and causal process diagram indicating how climate change may influence WASH and thus cholera transmission, which  will help policymakers focus on cholera risk mitigation, now and in the future.

Water as a Tool for Resilience in Times of CrisisWilson Center; USAID SWP, May 2019. At this event, experts discussed what practitioners and policymakers can do to bolster effective water management for the world’s most vulnerable communities. This is one in a series of events and reports on Water Security for a Resilient World.

Global Report on Water and DisastersSecretariat of High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters, July 2019. In terms of economic loss, 2018 was recorded as one of the worst economic-loss years mainly due to disasters related to water and climate.

Water Treatment/Water Quality
WELLSPRING: Source Water Resilience and Climate AdaptationThe Nature Conservancy, August 2019. Source water protection has always been fundamental to water resources management. Freshwater ecosystems can be a key component in providing resilience to communities, but they also need to be resilient themselves. This report describes how to manage source waters for resilience at the same time as managing source waters resiliently.

Complex Interactions Between Climate Change, Sanitation, and Groundwater Quality: A Case Study from Ramotswa, BotswanaHydrogeology Journal, May 2019. This study investigated the coupled human and natural systems linking climate, sanitation, and groundwater quality in Ramotswa, a rapidly growing peri-urban area in semi-arid southeastern Botswana, which relies on the transboundary Ramotswa aquifer for water supply.

Unaffordable and Undrinkable: Rethinking Urban Water Access in the Global SouthWorld Resources Institute, August 2019. The paper explores what cities can do to ensure more equitable access to safe, reliable, and affordable water, while facing down major trends affecting water access, including population growth, degraded and depleted water sources, and climate.

Strategic Recommendations for Climate Smart Water Utilities Using the Flood and Drought Portal in PlanningIWA, May 2019. This document focuses on strategic recommendations for water utilities on why and how to integrate climate change impacts into planning and management of water resources, specifically through water safety plans.

Climate Change Will Affect Access to Fresh Water. How Will We Cope? Chemical and Engineering News, February 2020. Water purification can be costly, so chemists and engineers are working to make less-expensive, more energy-efficient technologies that will be more widely accessible.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Three Essential Ingredients to Resilient Agricultural Supply ChainsWaterAid, November 2019. Providing WASH resources can make companies more resilient and productive. This booklet provides information for sectors that are reliant upon the agricultural supply chain to protect and improve WASH resources for the people and business in the regions in which they operate.



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