News / Africa

World Bank says Population Growth, Climate Change Demand Better Water Management

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

A soaring world population, climate change and greater demands for food are placing greater demands on the planet’s water resources.  The World Bank says the best way to address those issues is to have better information and a more integrated approach to water management.

The bank says a review of its 2003 water resources strategy finds many successes in water projects.  But it also sets priorities and makes recommendations as access to water becomes critical for many people around the world.

Life and death

“As every high school child knows, water runs through absolutely every we do,” says  World Bank Water Sector Manager Julia Bucknall.  “We can’t grow any food without water.  We can’t live without water.  We can’t run our cities without managing our water properly.”

The floods in Pakistan, she says, show the importance of having a good water management policy in place.

“Both from the resource point of view, in the sense of the floods, but also from the basic management of water supply and sanitation.  That’s what is going to be killing a lot of people now after the immediate impact of the floods,” she says.

Strategy plan

In 2003, the World Bank issued a strategic plan for water projects.  In a new report, called Sustaining Water for All in a Changing Climate, the bank reviewed that strategy.

“The strategy itself,” says Bucknall,” was quite a path-breaking strategy, which really put infrastructure to the front and center of the development agenda and anticipated many of the issues…population growth, climate change and the need to manage water for food.”

She says the strategy has resulted in “enormous success.”

World Bank says Population Growth, Climate Change Demand Better Water Management
World Bank says Population Growth, Climate Change Demand Better Water Management

“We have been able to triple our lending in the water sector.  And we’ve been able to be much more integrated so that we look at building irrigation systems, for example, at the same time as looking at the water resources that those systems depend on,” she says, adding, “We are very pleased with the results.”

Making water a priority

At recent climate change conferences, advocates for water management tried to put the issue high on the agenda but were not always successful.

Bucknall says, “Everybody knows it’s a priority in some very generic sense.  I think what people don’t always do is take the very hard choices that have to be made in order to manage water properly.”

In making those tough choices, the World Bank official says some people will face “disruptions.”

“Many governments are just not willing to take that decision now and sort of put it off until it becomes a crisis later.  They don’t actively put it off until it becomes a crisis later, but that’s what ends up happening.”

What next?

The review makes a number of recommendations.  “One is to continue efforts to integrate water resources with water services.  So, this is something we’ve done quite well over the past five or six years, but we want to do it more and more consistently,” she says.

Other recommendations include putting water management higher on the climate change agenda and increase efforts to improve sanitation.

“One third of the world’s population does not have access to a toilet, which has huge social and health implications,” she says, “You know more people die of diarrhea than of AIDS, malaria and TB combined.”

The review also calls for support for hydro power, calling it “the largest source of renewable and low carbon energy, including high-risk, high-reward infrastructure projects.”  But Bucknall admits it’s a complicated issue.

Dams, for instance, have been criticized by some as harmful to the environment and the livelihoods of those living near lakes and resources.

Bucknall says hydropower could mean building damns but also could mean making better use of existing dams or rehabilitating them.

“Sometimes making better use out of them so that you can use them for adaptation to climate change,’ she says, “And also to give more space for the environment.  One of the things we’re looking at actively is reengineering existing dams to make them have more multiple uses for people, for energy and for the environment.”

Inger Andersen, vice-president for sustainable development at the World Bank, says, “Only 23 percent of hydropower potential located in developing countries has been exploited.  The gains for the poor can be enormous.”

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid