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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More