To support in-country activities, the 2030 WRG has been developing an open-source, global, public-private knowledge base of good practices on water transformation with the help of the Stockholm International Water Institute. In its final form, the catalogue will include – for each lever of the cost curve – international and local best-practice examples, concrete solutions and their providers (also commercial), expertise, advice, new ideas, and innovations in water management across all key sectors and technologies. This knowledge base has been requested by governments and fits into the overall 2030 WRG value proposition of increasing the access of governments and businesses to local and international good practices.
BY ANDRE FOURIE
TEN years ago, SA was the focal point of the world media as the host country of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Held a decade after the iconic Rio Earth Summit, the WSSD produced a conceptual leap in understanding that sustainable development is about more than environmental activism and the balance of nature. It is essential to integrate ecological considerations and economic realities with the poverty challenge as the basis for a global sustainability agenda. Sustainable development is as much about food, energy and water security as it is about climate change and the protection of biodiversity.
As decision makers and presidents from around the world convened for the latest United Nations (UN) Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) last week, it was clear we were looking for a new breakthrough in thinking. The triple bottom line framework of sustainable development is now broadly accepted but the world is still trying to work out whether sustainable development is a continuing trade-off between economic, social and environmental considerations or whether it is possible to produce a virtuous cycle in which these elements reinforce each other.
The South African delegation had a strong mandate to push for a global “green economy”. This approach acknowledged that economic growth is essential to deal with the poverty and development agendas. But it needs to be based on social inclusion and the sustainable use of natural resources.
The Rio+20 green economy debates included a number of important themes such as renewable energy, food, health, infrastructure, water and biodiversity. But the issue of water scarcity is increasingly being recognised as the fulcrum of the world’s various sustainability challenges. Latin America is a striking demonstration that abundant water availability does not ensure ordinary citizens have clean drinking water.
The quality of fresh water and the management of sanitation and waste water affect the health and welfare of billions of people. Water also flows through the heart of local economies and ecosystems.
This insight was the motivation for the CEOs of nearly 100 major global companies, including SABMiller, Coca-Cola, De Beers and Nestlé, representing hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue, to write to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon during Rio+20 to stress the importance of global and local action on water security. The CEOs are clear that poor water management and governance constitute a substantial threat to their business operations and to the communities where they are located.
But the CEO Water Mandate also recognises the importance of corporate water stewardship. The business sector has a responsibility to demonstrate great care in how it manages water. Water leadership requires companies to be water-efficient in their own operations, understand water risks in their supply chains and local watersheds, collaborate with other companies and actors for common solutions, engage with public policy and local communities and, finally, to be transparent in how they report these water risks and actions to stakeholders. While companies are making progress, the two biggest challenges are how they can influence the water use in their supply chains and how to engage effectively with public institutions on water regulations.
As the birthplace of SABMiller, now the second-largest brewer in the world, South African Breweries (SAB) aims to live out the spirit of water stewardship in SA, a water-stressed country. In the context of the Rio+20 dialogue and the CEO Water Mandate commitments, how do we rate on the supply chain and public policy engagement challenges?
Being one of the world’s first companies to undertake a detailed water footprinting study, SAB soon realised that the bulk of water used across the value chain of a beer is based in the agricultural supply chain. SAB is working closely with barley farmers in the irrigation areas to reduce water use and optimise irrigation efficiency through the measurement of soil moisture and plant water stress control at critical growth stages.
Improved irrigation scheduling for barley enhances the sustainability of producers by cutting costs for unnecessary irrigation water and electricity. The sustainability of our barley industry depends on the availability of suitable water for irrigation. The work done on reducing the water footprint of barley, and ultimately the beer water footprint, is showing major promise against the current baseline. The ultimate aim is to optimise the irrigation of barley by reducing the water while complementing the quality and yield.
A further step towards water stewardship in the supply chain is identifying the possible risks facing the hops industry, which is concentrated in George. SAB brought together key stakeholders in the water-risk landscape within which its hops farms operate. Attention is paid to understanding the implications of the hydrology, climate change patterns, socioeconomic development and agronomic realities for the future of growing world-class hops at the southern tip of Africa.
On the issue of engaging public institutions, we are fortunate that there is a history of effective collaboration between the public and private sectors. A relevant initiative is the Strategic Water Partnership Network, launched by Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and a group of leading companies. The aim is to identify priority and joint actions to close the projected water volume gap of about 30% by 2030.
The network is co-chaired by SAB and the Department of Water Affairs, and early partners include Anglo American, Coca-Cola, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Eskom, the National Planning Commission, Nestlé, Sasol and the Water Research Commission. The network is based on three water priorities facing SA: water-use efficiency and leakage reduction; supply chain and agriculture water savings; and the importance of effluent partnerships.
For SAB, this is about more than being a responsible corporate citizen. We are convinced that our success as a business depends largely on our ability to deliver superior value over the long term. We also know that achieving our sustainability objectives will be possible only by working more closely with our farmers, distributors, retailers and customers. We are deeply aware of the looming threats of food and water security, and we need to take proactive steps to secure the resources we require to brew top-quality beers over the coming decades. This strategic approach to water stewardship will make SAB more competitive and will reduce our costs and risks in the long run.
Compared with many countries at Rio+20, South Africa can demonstrate substantial progress towards acknowledging the reality of the future water situation and the importance of cross-sector co-operation to address water stress over the coming decades. But none of this should be taken to mean South Africa has taken the required steps to deal with the potential water crisis in a decisive way. It is worrying to note that the scale of the good deeds and relationships described above are not at the same level as the magnitude of the potential crisis.
It is time to step up our efforts in government and business and in collaboration between the sectors. A good place to start is mutual acknowledgment that we need to change the culture of water abundance among most private and corporate citizens in an increasingly water-stressed country.
Fourie is sustainable development head at South African Breweries.
Source: BusinessDay DBlive
By Ramya Krishnaswamy
The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry” is the message of the 2012 World Water Day. It puts in a nutshell one of the key links in the complex nexus of water, food, climate and energy: the crucial relationship between water and the production of our food.
The agricultural industry is by far the heaviest consumer, accounting for almost 70% of all fresh water used. In developing countries, agricultural water consumption is as high as 95%. Compare the quantity of water the average person drinks per day, 2 to 4 litres, to that required to grow and produce a single kilogram of cereal: up to 3 tonnes of water. In being produced, the average person’s daily food uses up between 2,000 and 5,000 litres of water. Given how integral water is to agriculture and food production, water is a critical factor in our quest for global food security.
Source: The relationship between water, agriculture, food security and poverty, The Food and Agricultural Organization (Food and Agriculture Organization)
Forecasts for the next 20 years suggest that farmers will need to increase food production by 70 to 100% to meet the growing needs and demands of the world. As people’s diets are changing, there will be an even greater call for meat and dairy products, food that requires particularly high water consumption. And herein lies the water challenge. Because research indicates that within that timeframe, we could face a 40% gap between global demand and supply. Considering that we are already using more than 70% of fresh water for agriculture and that by 2030, we face a 70% increase in demand for food, how will we meet our future needs? We need to make significant and radical changes in agricultural water usage.
For all these reasons, business as usual is not an option for us. We cannot continue to manage water as we have in the past, particularly in the agricultural sector. Rather, we need to tailor solutions to the specific needs of farmers around the world, thereby working towards the the twin goals of meeting food production and managing water better.
The way forward lies in reducing water loss and food wastage; improving the technology we use; implementing policy reforms regarding water availability, rights and pricing; and in facilitating farmer-led changes in behaviour. This herculean task will require collaboration between governments, industries, experts, civil society organizations and farmer associations. In joining forces, stakeholders can create coalitions from a common purpose and vision. The journey towards better water use can also begin locally, by stimulating innovation; creating new infrastructure via which to share knowledge, access to technology and good practices; and piloting approaches that, if successful, can be eventually implemented on a larger scale.
The World Economic Forum has a major initiative underway, set to develop an improved fact base on water and a public-private-civil society platform in support of those governments wishing to implement water reform. This initiative is helping stakeholders work together on the topic of agricultural water management.
On this World Water Day, the World Economic Forum invites all interested parties to join us. Together, we can raise awareness about the future of water and provide the much needed impetus to transform the agricultural consumption of water, with the goal of ensuring our food and water security for the future.
Author: Ramya Krishnaswamy is an associate director at the Environmental Initiatives and manages the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on water security
By Giovanna Gerbi
CAPE TOWN – Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa on Thursday said she was determined to ensure South Africa’s water resources were secured for the future by investing in infrastructure.
Eyewitness News spoke to the minister about the country’s water resources ahead of her launching a water saving project called “No Drop”.
She was interacting with private and government roleplayers at the World Economic Forum on Africa to discuss water security for the continent.
Molewa expressed concern too much water was lost due to leaks.
“If you continuously get leakages of about 30 percent, there are provinces where you have about 50 percent, if that continues like that and the trend becomes worse then we’ll be in serious trouble.”
In March, the department revealed that billions of rands were needed to plug the country’s ageing and leaking water supply systems.
South Africa is a dry country with limited water resources.
It has an average annual rainfall of about 464mm, compared to a world average of about 860mm.
According to experts, South Africa could face water shortages by 2020.
by Shiney Varghese
The new draft National Water Policy (NWP) circulated by the Ministry of Water Resources to water experts suggests that the government is poised to withdraw from its responsibilities of water service delivery, and that multinational corporations and financial institutions might have too big a say in water allocation and policy.
At first glance, it appears as if the policy takes a holistic approach to water resources management, with a clear recognition of India’s water woes. It accords pre-emptive priority for safe and clean drinking water and sanitation to all and prioritises meeting the water requirements for ecosystems.
However, a closer look shows that some important points are missing. To begin with, water is not articulated strongly enough as a fundamental human right in this draft. This is despite India voting in favour of the United Nations General Assembly resolution on Right to Water, in 2010. But there are various suggestions to institutionalise the treatment of water as an economic good. In addition, the draft NWP proposes to limit the role for government in public services. When in other parts of the world water services are being brought back into public realm due to negative experiences with private sector water provision, this policy suggests that the government should function simply as a service facilitator, and that service delivery should be handed over to local communities or the private sector.
Crisis and conservation
While such proposals are not new, what is new is that these policies are justified in the name of dealing with the water crisis and in the name of conservation!
The draft also recommends “full cost recovery” of water used as the means for achieving efficient use of water. While full cost recovery will help meet the costs of water delivery, it does not deter water use among those who can afford to pay. In that sense it works particularly against lower income groups, and groups that use water for activities that have low economic returns. Full cost recovery needs to be accompanied by protection of the right to water for basic needs, including that for basic livelihood strategies.
Moreover, in the area of water quality conservation, the important “polluter pays principle” has disappeared. It has been replaced with “incentives” for effluent treatment and for reuse of water. While reclaiming wastewater is necessary to bridge the water deficit, in the absence of strong regulations to limit polluting activities, such incentives to polluters (to treat effluents), might work as a perverse incentive to pollute more. These are also opportunities for some of the worst water polluters to profiteer: companies such as Dow Chemicals are developing patented water purification technology. If these policies are unlikely to protect the basic right to water, it begs the question: who are the advocates and beneficiaries of these policies?
It is likely that a recent report, “National Water Resources Framework Study: Roadmaps for Reforms,” might have had some influence on this draft NWP. There are striking convergences between sections of this report and parts of the draft water policy. This report, by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), was commissioned at the request of the Planning Commission of India to the 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG), via the International Finance Corporation. The report was commissioned even while several Planning Commission constituted working groups were preparing reports on various aspects of water governance.
The CEEW is one of the main Indian partners of the WRG, a high profile public-private partnership housed in the International Finance Corporation (of the World Bank Group). Financed by multilateral banks and bilateral aid organisations among others, the WRG’s strategic partners include the multinational firms Cargill, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Unilever and McKinsey & Company.
The WRG is systematically trying to influence how the world’s water will be allocated in future. It is seeking to influence the water policy in India, South Africa, Mexico, Jordan, China and Mongolia, where it is targeting public officials in water and environmental ministries. For India its targets were more ambitious: the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra, and “potentially the National Planning Commission.” In their efforts to make inroads into national and regional policy making arenas, they seem fairly successful. For example, in India, since 2010, the WRG has successfully been collaborating with the Confederation of Indian Industry and the CEEW to influence water policy in Karnataka, and now it appears, at the Centre.
The WRG is particularly interested in influencing agricultural policies, especially crop choices and agricultural water allocation in the countries they target. The reason for its focus on a “water-efficient,” “productivity-oriented” agriculture, and the importance they place on the role of food value-chain players is self-evident: the WRG is led by the transnational agriculture and food related businesses that constitute its main members. However, such water sector reforms will become yet another way to push already vulnerable peasant agriculturists further into poverty. Civil society groups in Karnataka are aware of and oppose the dangerous path their State is tempted to take.
But it is not going to be easy for them in Karnataka or elsewhere. For example, a quote ascribed to Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, suggests that he sees the WRG as an answer to the problems in international water governance: “The problem is that we have no coordinated global management authority in the U.N. system or the world at large. The World Economic Forum’s effort to develop the economic and geopolitical forecast on water is essential. For the first time, all the different perspectives and expertise required to define the full dimension of the problem are brought together.”
In many ways the draft national water policy epitomises not only what is being advocated in the area of water governance, but also the problems with the initiatives being pursued around the world. Multinationals are no longer content with profiteering from their traditional areas of businesses: they want to play a larger role in the allocation of the world’s natural resources, which have so far been in the public realm. The actual water users and their representatives are marginalised. In the context of the climate crisis that the draft policy seeks to address, it is important to remember that a large number of water users, farmers and local communities have been taking prudent decisions in the area of effective water management and adaptation. There is substantial practical knowledge that they can bring to the table that would completely change the way to look at issues. Rules governing the use of water, an essential part of life itself, must be the result of careful consultation with all stakeholders, especially the least powerful, and should not be driven by corporations and international finance. This is important not only in India, but for what it could mean for the future of water governance globally.
The writer is a Minneapolis-based analyst working on global water policy initiatives at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a U.S. NGO. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: The Hindu
By Hana Namrouqa
AMMAN – HRH Prince Feisal on Friday directed the Royal Water Commission to update the Kingdom’s national “Water for Life” strategy to address new pressing issues in water management.
The new national water strategy will address six new themes: supply and demand; water, energy and food; economy and financing; institutions and legislation; water quality in the natural environment; and trans-boundary and shared water.
Prince Feisal, who heads the commission, spoke on this subject on Friday during a private session titled “Collaborative pathways for a water-secure future”, held at the Dead Sea on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meetings that began yesterday.
In his keynote address, Prince Feisal said that all domestic and international stakeholders should collaborate to determine the best way to modernise water management in order to ensure the country’s future growth and prosperity.
“Water impacts all pillars of our economy: agricultural production, energy generation, industry and manufacturing. If we are unable to provide sustainable water resources to enable such economic activity, we are essentially limiting the growth potential and associated job prospects and livelihoods of our people,” the Prince pointed out.
During the session, experts discussed ways to transform water management in Jordan into a system that promotes job growth and public health, as well as how the looming water crisis might affect economic, social and political life in Jordan.
Ministry of Water and Irrigation Secretary General Maysoon Zu’bi said during yesterday’s session that an analysis carried out by the Water Resources Group suggests that Jordan’s economic growth and rising living standards will double water demand by 2030.
She said this increase is driven mostly by industry, energy generation, and increases in both population and per capita water consumption.
The 2030 WRG entered a new phase in 2012. Thanks to the collaboration between the 2030 WRG and our partners, donors, governments, companies, NGOs, and CSOs, we experienced great progress and achievements in the year. Together, we have shaped the agenda for discussion on water resources and established new models for collaboration.
Karnataka, one of India’s most water-scarce states, has a major challenge at hand. Its agricultural and economic growth aspirations will lead to an estimated 60% increase in water demand by 2030. Karnataka will be unable to meet this demand unless it focuses on a state-driven comprehensive transformation of its water and agriculture sectors. This report outlines seven initiatives, supported by five enablers, and an effective process leading to the implementation of this plan to drive this transformation.
By Ramya Krishnaswamy
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 kicked off yesterday exploring the most pressing challenges that our world faces today. A strong green thread runs across Davos this year, where many discussions are focused on realizing growth in a sustainable manner. Given their importance to economic growth and social development aspirations of countries and societies around the world, water issues are among the most pressing we face and must tackle without delay. Today at Davos, the Water Resources Group (WRG) – a new global partnership on water – emerges as a new model of collaboration to manage water resources for long-term growth and sustainability.
True – many noteworthy partnerships already exist in the water sector. WRG aspires to complement and support such initiatives, drawing in new actors to come together in constructive dialogue and develop joint solutions to ensure that water enhances growth, not constrains it. The extensive WRG network of expertise contributes to developing a holistic approach, considering water issues alongside energy, food security and environmental issues for integrated solutions. But what is the value of a good idea if not tested in practice?
To date, WRG partners with five governments – Karnataka State of India, Jordan, Mexico, South Africa and Mongolia. Two short years of activity are already yielding results. Insight developed by WRG is being used to shape national water strategies (Mexico’s 2030 Water Agenda and the revision of Jordan’s national water strategy). WRG is also supporting the formation of new stakeholder collaborations (South Africa’s Strategic Water Partners Network and Jordan’s vision to create a National Water Council).
An emerging new model that has demonstrated initial success, the WRG has yet many new partnerships to form and lessons to learn. Driven by the spirit of innovation and continuous improvement at its core, reinforced by the support of multistakeholder champions globally, it is an important step towards securing access to water for human and economic development in water-scarce countries. More fundamentally, WRG can prove to be a truly new model for impact-orientated development.
Today, WRG moves to a new home at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), on behalf of the World Bank Group. Water expert Anders Berntell has been appointed Executive Director, to take WRG to its next stage and continued success.
By Dominic Waughray
As the issue of freshwater scarcity becomes ever more pressing, a new partnership aims to help governments change their business as usual approach to water management
While much of the focus in Davos is on the macro-economic fault lines that are holding back global growth and job creation and promoting inequality, there is also a green thread addressing sustainability and natural resource issues running through the annual meeting. Indeed, since Davos 2008, the World Economic Forum has sustained a focus on one of the most immediate and pressing natural resource risks to delivering the growth we will need: sustainable access to freshwater.
According to the Water Resources Group (WRG), there may be a 40% gap between the required demand for, and the safe available supply of freshwater, by 2030 under business as usual practices.
The WRG is a pioneering partnership that the World Economic Forum has been helping to develop with the International Finance Corporation for the past two years. The scheme involves development institutions such as the World Bank Group; bilateral development agencies such as USAID, large water using companies from the food, beverage, construction and mining sectors and expert organisations, NGOs and think tanks.
The WRG helps governments of water scarce countries to accelerate their water reform agenda. It does so by bringing together influential people from government, civil society and business with global water experts. The organisation works with these experts to develop water resources analysis in formats that are digestible for politicians and business leaders.
For example, the WRG will help governments to see how, for growth to happen and for enough water to be available to meet society’s needs, business as usual water practices in thirsty economic sectors such as agriculture, energy and industry cannot continue. In many cases, agriculture utilises over 70% of the freshwater withdrawals of a country. If food production and energy demands are to increase, then trade-offs must be made to avoid acute water scarcity derailing growth. Adapting to less water under potential climate change scenarios also needs to be factored in.
This sort of national analysis often illustrates to a government that there is a difference between the water that is safely available for a country, and the quantity of water it would need to meet its economic growth aspirations by 2030 under business as usual water management approaches. Consequently, a strategy is required to close this gap.
An important feature in these strategies is often to manage the connections between water, food and energy. Related to the work of the WRG, the World Economic Forum published a book on the Water-Food-Energy-Nexus in 2011. It is safe to say that the nexus has now become a broadly adopted framework for looking at the interconnected natural resource management challenges of food, energy and water.
With government, civil society and business in agreement that an integrated plan is required, cost effective options need to be considered. Key political and economic figures, as well as water specialists, now recognise that a water reform plan is important to both a country’s economic growth and its social and environmental wellbeing.
The WRG has provided support to the governments of Mexico, India (the State Government of Karnataka) and Jordan. Substantive and well supported reform programs have been developed and are underway in each location. The multi-sector expertise on offer from the WRG partnership helps the governments to deliver best practice approaches, drawn from NGO projects, research organisations and business solutions.
Discussions in Davos will hear from the governments who have been engaged in the work so far. A next stage in the development of this new water partnership will also be launched. The International Finance Corporation, on behalf of the World Bank Group, will host the next stage of development of the WRG.
It will become a new global entity aiming to help developing countries who are challenged by water scarcity. Aid agencies and leading global companies are coming together to support it. The ambition is to have the WRG help the governments of eight to 10 developing countries over the next two years, representing a variety of geographies and economic contexts. If successful then this could be a new model for development that can be replicated in other areas.
Dominic Waughray is senior director at the World Economic Forum, where he is also head of environmental initiatives