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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora