In Stockholm, Sweden, the annual World
Water Week conference ended Friday with a strong call for protection of water
endorsed a statement saying water must play a central role in UN climate change
negotiations, known as COP-15, scheduled for Copenhagen in December.
Martinsen, director of World Water Week, says the conference is usually a
platform for delegates to exchange experiences and ideas. Normally, a final communiqué is not
issued. But this year is different.
year with the climate change negotiations…we felt as water professionals that
we needed to send a clear message to those negotiations in order to make sure
that water is considered when it comes to the climate change adaptation and
mitigations," she says.
Getting more, getting less
effects of climate change can be felt directly through water. Some regions get more, such as floods, others
less, as in droughts.
says delegates don't want the December meeting to consider water management a
separate issue, a "separate vector," but rather an integral part of climate
"Water cannot be considered as a sector as
such. Water is needed in all sectors, in
all parts of society for us to survive.
It's vital for human health….
It's vital for production when it comes to industries. It's vital for agriculture," she says.
Thinking differently about water
have to look at the agriculture sector…who's actually the user of 70 percent of
our fresh water. Usually when we talk
(about) water, you think about drinking water or the water that you use at a
household level," she says.
water and household use, she says, account for only 10 percent of usage.
in certain areas it becomes drier, of course we have to irrigate crops. So we have to be much, much more careful on
that way that we use and…spend our water," she says.
says perhaps drought resistant crops that need less water could replace what's
currently being grown.
a change of mindset that we need to really take into consideration as
institutions, as governments, but also as individuals," she says.
drought stricken regions, globally, Martinsen says, there's not a lack of
"It's really the mismanagement, the
misuse of water that is our biggest problem.
That's why if we do tighten up the way that we use water, make it more
efficient in agriculture…but also in the big cities, we will not see this
crisis," she says.