The changing climate multiplies threats to our ecosystems, economies, and livelihoods. Let’s think about water as the resilience multiplier.
As countries make much-needed progress towards Paris Agreement commitments - while simultaneously adapting to the urgent impacts they are already facing due to climate change - national climate policies have the potential to serve as a strong foundation for coherent, effective climate action. The Water Tracker for National Climate Planning (wwww.watertracker.cc) was developed to ensure that national climate planning instruments, including Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), are ambitious and meaningful. The Water Tracker is based on science to inform policy change, and promotes a shared definition of water resilience across, between, and within sector ministries to enhance coherence in climate action.
The Water Tracker is a simple questionnaire designed to draw out how and where water is embedded in climate planning instruments. It addresses the challenge of institutional fragmentation by working across sectors and agencies to comprehensively analyse water from multiple perspectives and facilitates strategic decision-making around the trade-offs inherent water management planning. 10 countries have applied the Water Tracker in 2022, and introductory conversations were held with a dozen more. Panama is just beginning work with the Water Tracker, but their team in the Ministry of Environment quickly realized the value that the results would bring by helping them to see how water “flowed” within their plans.
"Our NDC includes 10 sectors… one sector focused on water, but we didn’t envision to include water in the other sectors…[this] caught our curiosity when we were speaking with the experts on the Water Tracker, and we realized that of course water is included in everything – in public health, it is included in the energy sector, for the forest sector, the agricultural sector as well." - Nicole Francisco, Ministry of Environment, Panama
The application of the Water Tracker requires robust, multi-stakeholder conversations on the path to creating a shared understanding of water resilience. Water Tracker results are used to support revisions to climate, water, and development plans, and more importantly - to enable the effective implementation of climate action at the national, regional, and local levels. Costa Rica was the first country to complete the Water Tracker analysis in late 2021. The results were used to inform revisions of the National Adaptation Plan and National Water Resources Plan, and a plan developed to provide technical and capacity building support to the implementation of key actions included in those plans.
"[Costa Rica has] been able to work with the Water Tracker tool to enable us to make an assessment that will help us improve and align the different climate plans in Costa Rica and develop bankable, water-resilient projects, and support our Paris commitments". - Ms. Cynthia Barzuna Gutiérrez, Former Vice-Minister of Water and Oceans, Costa Rica
Water resilience is about building a shared vision of the future that facilitates economic and community resilience within the context of a changing climate. This kind of resilience requires a mix of inclusive, cross-sectoral governance, innovative water management solutions, and nuanced technical approaches. The Water Tracker supports a demand driven process for countries to leverage their work on climate plans to accelerate strategic adaptation action centered around water, leading to more effective outcomes on water security, economic development, and access to finance. In 2023, we are launching a new partnership allowing us to increase the depth of work in countries to facilitate the planning, prioritization, financing and implementation credible and effective climate actions. Water Tracker activities to date have been supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office of the United Kingdom, the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands through the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and Global Water Partnership, and implemented in collaboration with Sanitation and Water for All and UNICEF.
Link to UNFCCC Official Side Event at COP27: IPCC PCC AR6 conclusions on water security and launch of the Expanded Water Tracker for National Climate Planning
On the 29th of November, the World Meteorological Organisation released its first report on the state of global water resources, with a particular emphasis on the relationships between climate change and water resources. In a broader sense, the intention behind the report is to provide accurate and reliable data and information on water availability in individual river basins, as well as at higher levels of aggregation, including continents and overviews at the global level global overviews.
While other global reports exist such as the United Nations World Water Development Report published annually by UN Water, none of these reports provide an overview of hydrological conditions with a focus on the state of the world’s river basins. By producing an annual stocktake of the state of water resources, the WMO intends to fill a gap by building on the increasing capacity of global modelling systems and remote sensing such as data provided from satellites to generate data.
As the report states in its introduction, the impacts of climate change are often felt through water, and certainly over the last year, large parts of the world experienced dry conditions, such as the La Plata River basin in Latin America, the Colorado River basin in the Unites States, the Nile River basin in Africa, while basins such as the Zambezi in Africa and the Amur basin in China experienced exceptionally high flows. By presenting global data on streamflow, storage, high impact events and cryosphere data (water stored in ice masses such as glaciers), the report is able to compare 2021 to the preceding period since 2002 and show, for instance, an increase in water storage across large parts of Africa and a decrease in water storage across the south-west of the United States and south Asia.
At the same time, there is still a long way to go before hydrological data is shared with the WMO to the degree necessary to generate a detailed global overview of the kind it envisages. For the first report, only 34 of the 192 member states have so far assigned national focal points to share data with the WMO for the purposes of the report. The first report remains therefore, a ‘pilot edition’ which invites member states to “share hydrological information in accordance with the WMO Unified Data Policy to help augment the validation process”.
During the first ever water day at a Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, a soft launch was held of the International Panel on Delta’s and Coastal Zones. Opening the session, Henk Ovink, the Water envoy of the Netherlands, emphasised that water is a solutions provider in the field of mitigation and adaptation. He pointed out that we need better examples of investment, better examples of projects that can be scaled and replicated, better examples of governance and data, examples of policies and practices, examples of getting vulnerable communities out of harm’s way, and ensure an environment that is resilient, equitable and sustainable and which can catalyse climate action from places that are vulnerable. Deltas, and Small Island States are critically vulnerable but also provide opportunities in the field of water in climate action.
The Dutch Minister of Water and Infrastructure, Mark Harbers, emphasised that the formation of strong partnerships is important to overcoming vulnerability. The urgency, he stated, is undeniable: the number of climate related disasters has increased by 30% over the past ten years. In 2020, 50 million people were affected by floods and droughts, and 90% of natural disasters are related to water. In all scenario’s the risks to deltas and coastal zones are high to very high: the world’s deltas are low lying and densely populated and they are currently home to some 800 million people. Deltas are also of huge economic value: their location is strategically favourable, their soils are fertile, and they are home to a unique biodiversity. Climate change is putting a lot of pressure on them, and adaptation is needed in ways that are affordable, integrated and flexible. However, no country needs to do this alone: deltas and coastal cones can work together to strengthen each other, share solutions and funding together. The Netherlands has direct experience of these issues: 25% of the Netherlands is located below sea level, and 60% of the country is vulnerable to flooding, and this area is where some 70% of Dutch GDP is earned. The Netherlands has a national delta programme for flood protection, conservation of freshwater and spatial planning. The Netherlands has also drawn up National Climate Adaptation Strategy to give all sectors guidance in adapting to climate change, an experience in which it has drawn on lessons from abroad but from which it has drawn lessons it would like to share. It is in this context that the International Panel on Delta’s and Coastal Zones is being launched to support countries in the elaboration of their National Adaptation Plans. The Netherlands has allocated 2,5 million Euros to this initiative, it is establishing the Secretariat at Deltares in Delft, and it would like to encourage other countries to join.
The IPDC was initiated by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Deltares, the Global Center on Adaptation, and the Delta Alliance. The champions group consists of Mark Harbers, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water of the Netherlands, Dr Abdul Momen, he Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, Dr Hani Sewilam, the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt the Netherlands, Ms Neeta Pohkrel, chief of the Water Sector Group of the Asian Development Bank, Lillian Macharia, the director for portfolio Management of the Green Climate Fund, and Cynthia Houniuhi, president of the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change.
The main objective of the IPDC is to accelerate integrated cross sectoral planning and implementation of climate actions, which it aims to do through the provision of science-based information, tools and scenarios. The IPDC intends to work in a demand-driven manner, determined by national policies but ensuring collaboration at all levels. At the international level, the IPDC consists of a Champions Group supported by an International Expert Panel, linking to Action holders in the deltas themselves.
While the official launch of the IPDC will take place in New York in March 2023, the Champions will work to host a series of events to build partnerships and align with existing initiatives such as the Water and Climate Coalition and the Water Tracker. Also, the team will be working on the establishment of the IPDC Secretariat, the preparation of the knowledge agenda for climate adaptation and the implementation of IPDC pilots for selected coastal areas and delta’s.
Water in armed conflict and other situations of violence
Building water management institutions in a post-war setting can be a lengthy process. After the end of the Liberian civil war in 2003, the Liberia WASH consortium was established in 2007 in response to poor access to water and sanitation in the country, lack of coordination in the sector, lack of guiding policy frameworks and limited capacity. The consortium consisted of a number of international NGO’s: Action Against Hunger, Concern Worldwide, Oxfam International, Tearfund and Water Aid. The primary aim of the group was to work together to provide technical support to the government in providing basic WASH services in rural and urban Liberia. Liberia was at the time emerging from years of conflict, and access to basic services was at a very low level despite the abundant water resources of the country. Less than 25% of the population had access to safely managed water, less than 15% of the population had access to safely managed sanitation, and less than 5% of the population was using safe hygiene facilities. The public health consequences of this situation were evident: for example, waterborne and vector borne diseases led to diarrhoea being the cause of 19% of child mortality, and cholera outbreaks were frequent. The government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy aimed to double access to water and sanitation services by 2011, but many factors hampered the achievement of this objective including severe financing constraints, lack of sector coordination, and the absence of a strategy targeting the most vulnerable.
The Liberia WASH consortium obtained funding from DFID, ECHO and Irish aid in 2010 to deliver WASH services to vulnerable communities and to provide institutional strengthening. Ensuring sustained attention for WASH services was a challenge within the existing governance framework, and the NGO’s worked together to ensure that efforts were coordinated both at the policy level and at the level of service delivery. After a lengthy period of advocacy, a National WASH Commission was finally formed in 2017, providing an interface between government, donors, and the various NGO’s ensuring service delivery. The consortium also facilitated the establishment of a WASH legislative Caucus in the Liberian parliament. The National WASH Commission exists to this day, but it is not funded from the government side – other than staff salaries - and still requires support from the NGOs to maintain its functionality. From 2017 onwards, only Irish Aid remained as a funder of the programme, and currently the consortium is implementing a programme running from 2020 to 2024 with a budget of 4 million Euros.
Under the current leadership of Action Against Hunger, meetings are being held with consortium members to develop a new strategy for the period 2023 to 2027. In the present context, donors have an integrated, intersectoral approach which link WASH to other issues such as health, nutrition, food security and livelihoods. Nevertheless, because of the existence and historical build-up of capacity by the consortium, the WASH consortium does form a point of entry for the delivery of a new, broader programme. The consortium is therefore developing a new strategy to guide its activities during the new phase and hopes to attract the attention of donors to the continuation of the work that has been done so far.
On the 23rd of November Ukraine suffered the most extensive damage to civilian infrastructure so far, interrupting water and electricity supplies across a wide area. The mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klischko, announced that the water supplies of the whole city had been knocked out. Similarly, the mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, announced that electricity had been cut off and stated that this would probably also undermine water supplies. Engineers around the country worked around the clock to restore services, although in many cases infrastructure suffered extensive damage, requiring new parts t be delivered. Nevertheless, by 25th of November, Kyiv’s water services had been fully restored.
In Kherson city, citizens struggled to survive, some collecting water directly from the Dnieper River and others from puddles in the streets. On the 9th of November, Russia had announced its withdrawal from the Kherson region after Ukrainian forces regained control over some 60 towns and villages in the Kherson region. Many of these areas had been without electricity, gas and running water for months. In the evening of the 12th November President Volodomyr Zelenski announced that the occupying forces had destroyed “all critical infrastructure – communication, water supply, heat and electricity” prior to their withdrawal from Kherson. In addition, the regional military administration established in Kherson by Ukraine announced that all electricity infrastructure had been mined, considerably slowing down the restoration efforts. On the 21st of November, the Save the Children Fund stated that many families in Kherson city had not had access to safe water supplies for two weeks, as markets began to run low on food and water. There was also evidence that the Nova Kakhova dam has suffered structural damage from direct missile strikes, exposing the region to risks of extensive flooding.
According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, millions of people living on the front lines of the conflict in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhizhia have limited or no access to food, fuel, water or adequate shelter. Some communities in these regions have been cut off from external support since the beginning of the conflict.
Some 16 million people in Ukraine are in need of water, sanitation and hygiene assistance. These include internally displaced people as well as those who remain in conflict-affected communities. Millions were already in need of WASH support prior to February 2022. Since February and the escalation of the conflict, needs have skyrocketed with forced displacement and conflict-related damages to critical WASH infrastructure.
ACF is predominantly focused in Ukraine’s eastern Oblasts where the needs are judged to be the highest, but also to ensure that resources are not stretched too thin given Ukraine’s significant land mass asthe second-largest European country after Russia (approximately 600,000 square kilometres).
Although a lot of attention was paid to transit shelters for internally displaced persons in the initial phases, support has increasingly focused on the state of the existing water supply infrastructure managed by the Vodokanals.
The humanitarian WASH cluster system, which is led by UNICEF, is working in Ukraine and coordinating the response to ensure ACF and other WASH actors have the highest impact. It has been very active in pulling in as many local and international actors as possible. Within about the initial weeks of the conflict, ACF took the lead to carry out an initial emergency assessment which supported the humanitarian community to clearly identify the core WASH activities required.
These activities include distributing hygiene kits to people fleeing conflict within Ukraine or across borders, including soap, toothbrushes, shampoo, period products, and other essential supplies. ACF are still providing hygiene kits to people in transit, people living in shelters, and communities affected by conflict, while also supporting collective shelters with repairs to water, toilet and bathroom facilities. To do this work efficiently, many INGOs, including ACF, are partnering with local humanitarian actors whose staff, local knowledge, and logistic capacity are typically strong.
Critically, ACF are also working with local actors for the repair of centralized water and sanitation networks. In addition, ACF are also pre-positioning contingency emergency water supply stock for rapid response in areas with acute water needs. The main water entities ACF and the humanitarian community are dealing with are the Vodokanals: these are the primary authorities (a mix of public-private partnerships) delivering water services across Ukraine. They vary quite significantly from one part of Ukraine to the next in terms of their supply area and the size of their existing staff.
Early on, ACF was able to start working with Vodokanals in key urban areas: Kharkiv and Pokrovsk in the East, Sumy in the North, and Zaporizhzhia in the Southeast. Currently, large scale procurements are being undertaken of network materials: pipes, valves, etc. which will be supplied to pre-identified projects which have been related to damage from shelling and other infrastructure damage caused by the hostilities in frontline areas.
ACF also managed to secure significant stocks of emergency preparedness items such as water treatment stations, motor pumps, bladder tanks, tap stands– and this material was also distributed via Vodokanals to support conflict-affected communities. Specifically, such emergency water supply items allowed ACF to support Vodokanals to ensure water access in areas closer to frontlines, even when the hostilities are too intense to allow rehabilitation work. Moreover, as the conflict has evolved and vast swathes of new areas needing humanitarian support have opened up, supplying such vital stocks of emergency water supply equipment has become a priority WASH activity. Such rapid shifts in response strategies are not always easy as agreements with donors are based on six- to twelve-month time horizons.
There are increasing power shortages in the country, and ACF are extremely concerned about the impact this will have on water supply systems in the coming months. The needs are apparent everywhere, but the sheer scale of the country and the distances between centres of need has made it difficult to fully assess, coordinate and make final choices on where WASH activities need to take place. As such, one crosscutting challenge is getting a precise and complete assessments of local situations in order to judge which areas have the greatest needs. Nevertheless, after the initial rapid scale up of its emergency activities, ACF teams are applying increasingly methodical approaches regarding how and where to provide support, as well as thinking about efficiency considerations in relation to logistical challenges.
For the humanitarian WASH sector, some key factors are at stake over the coming months:
Growing reports about targeting of civilian water infrastructure and related violations of IHL and Human Right Laws;
Public service provision is under severe pressure, winter will be harsh, and there are significant concerns for the wellbeing of the entire population in terms of WASH needs;
The needs far outweigh the response capacity of humanitarian organisations.
Knowing that they cannot fulfil all the needs, humanitarian organisations including ACF will continue to do their utmost to ensure the WASH needs of the poorest and most vulnerable conflict-affected populations.
International Water Law and Transboundary Water Cooperation
The International Court of Justice in the Hague has stated that Chile and Bolivia now agree on the status of the Silala River which originates in the Atacama Desert in Bolivia and flows for four kilometres before entering Chile. The two countries had disagreed on the status of the river since 1999 and a case was filed with the International Court of Justice by Chile in 2016. Chile sought declarations concerning the status of the Silala river system as an international watercourse as well as clarification of the resulting rights and obligations of both parties. In 1999, Bolivia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs had addressed Chile, stating that the Silala lacked any characteristic of an international water course. The Bolivian argument relied on a claim that Chilean concessionaries had altered the course of the river in 1908 and that without this intervention, the river would never have crossed the border. Bolivia therefore annulled the concession 1997.
The Silala river provides water for mining operations and human consumption for the region of Antofagasta. Chile has sought recognition of the river as an international watercourse and that customary international law applies to its waters. During the oral proceedings, Bolivia acknowledged that the Silala waters, including those parts that are artificially enhanced, qualify as an international watercourse. Bolivia now also recognizes that the customary international law applies to the entirety of the Silala waters. Given that the Parties agree with respect to the legal status of the Silala River system as an international watercourse and on the applicability of the customary international law to all the waters of the Silala, the Court finds that the claim made by Chile in this respect (submission a) no longer has any object and that, therefore, the Court is not called upon to give a decision thereon.
ICJ President Judge Joan Donoghue, reading a judgement adopted by 15 judges, stated that the ICJ recognised the agreement between the parties and that the dispute no longer exists. As a result, the claims and counter claims no longer had any objective, and as a result, the court could not be called upon to pass judgement.
"The primary success of Uzbekistan's external policy represents a cardinal reform in the Central Asian region - namely, the development of good-neighbourly relations with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan."
H.E. Sh.M.Mirziyoev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
The experience of farming, crop irrigation, and construction of ground and surface irrigation structures has been formed and mastered for thousands of years throughout the Central Asian region. Our ancestors did not waste a single drop of water, they used it efficiently and lived a harmonious and favorable life at the watersides. They controlled the beds of rivers and streams, excavated canals, and obtained water, planted various crops, and improve settlements. Therefore, water has long been one of the most important assets for the peace and well-being of the Central Asian people and it still has such value today.
In 21st century, the humanity has achieved the highest level of development, the need for water is constantly increasing. At the same time, both waterways and water resources of all republics of the Central Asian region are closely integrated, therefore it is impossible not to conduct "water diplomacy" with neighbouring countries.
Taking the example of the Syr Darya basin, water from the Republic of Kyrgyzstan comes from numerous streams such as Norin, Sokh, Okburasoy, Aravonsoy, Mailisoy, Shokhimardonsoy, Isfairamsoy. From Uzbekistan, water is supplied to the territory of Kyrgyzstan from the Right Bank, Savai, South Fergana, and Karkidon intake canals. To Tajikistan, water is supplied through the Big Fergana and North Fergana canals. At the same time, an average of 300 m3 /s of water is supplied from the Syrdarya River through the territory of Uzbekistan to the reservoir "Bakhri Tajik" in Tajikistan during the growing season. Due to this, an average of 500-550 m3 /sec of water is released from the reservoir "Bakhri Tadjik".
On the other hand, water from the reservoir "Bakhri Tadjik" is delivered to the arable fields of Sughd province of Tajikistan through pumps and the "Yukori-Dalvarzin" canal. In addition, through water released from this reservoir, Bekabad district of Tashkent region of Uzbekistan is under irrigation through the canals " Lower-Dalvarzin" and "Bekabad"; Jizzak and Syrdarya regions are irrigated through canals "South Mirzachol" and "Dostlik"; and arable lands in Yettisoy and Makhtaral regions of Turkistan region of Kazakhstan are irrigated through canal "Dostlik".
Besides these, water discharged from the reservoir "Chorvok" through canals "Zakh", "Khonum" and "Katta Keles" is used for irrigation of crop areas of Saryogoch, Kazgurd and Keles districts of Turkestan region of Kazakhstan and crop areas of Tashkent, Zangiata, Kibray and Chinoz districts of Tashkent region.
From the Chordara reservoir in Kazakhstan it is also possible to supply water to the Arnasoy reservoir in Uzbekistan.
From the Amu Darya River water is taken through the cascade of pumping stations "Amu-Zang" in Surkhandarya region, "Karshi Main Canal" in Kashkadarya region and the pumping station "Amu-Bukhara Machine Canal" in Bukhara region. In turn, water is supplied to the territory of Turkmenistan via Karshi main canal. It should be noted that six pumping stations of the cascade of pumping stations of the Karshi main canal are located on the territory of Turkmenistan, and Uzbek water professionals use these pumping stations by crossing the border. Turkmenistan draws water from the Amu Darya to its territory through the Karakum Canal and other canals, as well as through small pumping stations.
Tuyamoyin reservoir, which supplies water to Khorezm region of Uzbekistan, the Republic of Karakalpakstan and Doshkhovuz region of Turkmenistan, is formed from the border areas of the two countries. Water released from the Tuyamoyin reservoir to Dashkhovuz region is supplied through main canals "Turkmendarya" and "Left Bank" and through canals "Khanyap", "Jumaboy Soqa", "Kilichniyazboy" and "Kipchok-Bozsuv" through lower part of Tuyamoyin hydrounit from the left bank of Amudarya. Moreover, Karatogdarya, one of the main inflows of Surkhandarya, originates from the territory of Tajikistan, and through several canals, such as Jonchekka-1, Jonchekka-2, Khatib, Shodmonkazak, and Dayub, it takes water from the territory of the neighboring state to Surkhandarya region.
As a result of improved relations between the two countries in recent years, additional water has been flowing from the Varzob River in Tajikistan into the South Surkhan Reservoir through the Great Gissar Canal.
These data confirm that "water diplomacy" is extremely important and strategic in relations between the countries of our region. To be honest, in our recent history, that is, in the couple of decades prior to 2017, the region has experienced problems regarding joint use of water resources.
The expedient policy of Sh.M.Mirziyoyev after his election as President in Uzbekistan, friendly and reliable relations with the leaders of neighboring countries have established a solid basis for the joint use of transboundary water resources in the Central Asian region.
For instance, on March 15, 2018, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the first Joint Consultative Meeting of Central Asian leaders in Astana noted that addressing all vital development issues of Uzbekistan, which shares a border with all the republics of the region, ranging from border protection to rational distribution of water resources, is directly linked to relations with neighboring countries.
On November 29, 2019, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in his speech at the second consultative meeting of Central Asian leaders held in Tashkent city made a proposal to develop mutually agreed approaches to solving water use problems. At the conferences of Central Asian leaders, at the same time during high-level visits of the President of Uzbekistan to neighboring countries, the issues of joint rational use of transboundary water resources are being under consideration, and the unresolved problems of many years are being solved.
Nowadays, Uzbekistan consistently develops relations with Central Asian countries on water issues both at multilateral level - within the framework of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination, and at bilateral level - within the framework of intergovernmental working groups on use of water resources. As a result of mutual cooperation and agreements reached in recent years with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan, successes in improving water availability in the Syrdarya and Amudarya basins are being achieved.
Namely, the trilateral agreement between the Ministry of Water Resources of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources of Tajikistan on the use of the Bakhri Tachik reservoir in June-August 2022, and also within the framework of mutual cooperation the Republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement on electric power exchange to release additional water for irrigation from the Tokhtagul reservoir.
Analysing, about 20 intergovernmental and intersectoral documents related to the water sector were signed with the Central Asian republics in 2021-2022. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan shows its initiative among Central Asian countries in adopting water-saving technologies and expanding opportunities to use modern technologies in water management in order to reduce water shortages.
In Uzbekistan with personal support of President Sh. Mirziyoyev and due to subsidies and benefits created by the Government, the system, which was effective in previous years consistently continues to justify the work on introduction of water-saving technologies. To date, water-saving irrigation technologies have been introduced on an area of 904.4 thousand ha, and its scope has reached 24% of irrigated areas.
And it is a fact that equipment and water-saving irrigation technology components were mainly imported from foreign countries. Therefore, importance is also given, in order to reduce imports and increase the number of enterprises of local production with a view to meet the internal demand.
However, if before 2019 the number of such local enterprises was only 3 in Uzbekistan, now it has reached 46. Due to the localization of production by these enterprises, the cost of production has been reduced from 25 million soums to 20 million soums per hectare, saving foreign exchange costs for imports. At the same time, the possibility of export to neighbouring republics became available.
The Water Resource Management and Irrigation Sector Development Strategy of Uzbekistanis adopted for 2021-2023 and the Water Sector Concept for 2020-2030 was approved in order to improve land and water resources efficiency use, sustainable water supply to population and all sectors of economy of Uzbekistan, improve reclamation of irrigated lands, broad introduction of market principles and mechanisms and digital technologies in the water sector, and ensure reliable operation of water facilities.
On the basis of these documents, the Ministry of Water Resources takes measures for effective water management, introduction of water-saving and digital technologies, irrigation and reclamation works, laser land-levelling, and timely implementation of agro-technical measures.
Consequently, 6.5 billion m3 of water was saved during the past period of 2022, including 5.5 billion m3 during the irrigation season. Precisely due to the introduction of water-saving technologies and laser land-levelling, 2.0 billion m3 of water was saved.
Water specialists in the Central Asian republics often meet and regularly interact. There is no nation among water professionals; the expression "water professionals are one people, one nation" is often used. Indeed, regardless of the republic in which they serve, water professionals are united by such noble goals as ensuring thewater to the population and sectors of the economy, serving the welfare of the country.
Water professionals in the Central Asian region, pursuing a noble goal, share the noble goal of rational use of transboundary river waters, efficient water management and reduction of water scarcity in the region, and conscientiously perform their honourable duties.
On November 17th, In Sharm el Sheikh, Israel and Jordan signed an agreement on the rehabilitation and protection of the River Jordan. The Memorandum of Understanding is a declaration of intent to partner in the protection and restoration of the river, which has been significantly degraded following years of drought and the discharge of sewage. The document was signed by the Jordanian Minister of Water and Irrigation, Mohammed al Najer, and the Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection, Tamar Zandberg.
The agreement is a milestone in environmental cooperation between Israel and Jordan. It follows an inter-ministerial decision taken in July this year in Israel to restore a stretch of the southern Jordan basin from the sea of Galilee to the Bezek stream, after which the river becomes the border between Israel and Jordan. The decision includes the improved treatment of sewage, which is currently treated at a basic level before being released into the river, as well as the release of substantially more water from the Sea of Galilee from the current 30 million m³ to a maximum of 70 million m³ and the release of more water into the river.
The agreement on the restoration of the Jordan River builds on the 1994 peace treaty which includes clauses on the protection of the river. The water quality and flow of the river has declined steeply as the result of a number of damming and diversion projects conducted by Israel, Syria and Jordan over the last few decades. This resulted in a flow reduction of 98% and increased concentration of pollutants in the lower section of the river.
Water companies in the United Kingdom have been accused of discharging raw sewage into the Atlantic, the Channel and the North Sea oceans even in dry weather. By law, sewage overflows are only permitted in conditions of unusually heavy rainfall in order to dilute the concentrations of pollutants. However, the November 2022 report by the organisation Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) indicated that of the 9,200 times that SAS released a sewage pollution alert, there were 120 cases of sewage being released during dry weather. This is against the background of reports from the Environmental Agency that show that sewage was discharged into UK rivers and seas 770,000 times during 2020 and 2021, lasting a total of more than 5 million hours.
Controversy over the dumping of sewage over the past two years led to the passing of a new Environment Act in 2021 and a Storm Overflow Reduction Plan. In terms of the Storm Overflow Reduction Plan, water companies are obliged to demonstrate a progressive reduction in raw sewage overflows by 40% by 2040. However, this planned reduction follows a steep increase in sewage dumping incidents between 2016 and 2020 from 12,637 to 403, 365 respectively, therefore, a 40% reduction from current levels will still constitute a number of spills that is far above the 2016 levels. In August, sewage spills led to members of the European Parliament submitting a complaint to the European Commission warning that the United Kingdom is threatening health, marine life and fishing by releasing raw sewage into the Channel and the North Sea.
While the Environment Agency releases regular official UK reports on sewage discharges, SAS states that it is the only service that provides real time information about the safety of bathing in public waters through its Safer Seas and Rivers Service.
A new report presented at COP27’s water pavilion on the 9th of November sheds light on the fundamental role of water in climate mitigation. The report , entitled “The essential drop to reach Net-Zero: Unpacking Freshwater's Role in Climate Change Mitigation,” argues thatthe role of water in climate mitigation is much greater than has previously been thought. Its point of departure is that climate mitigation efforts depend on water resources: for instance, most forms of energy production require substantial quantities of water, and in managing the energy transition to a low carbon future, the water dependence of the energy sector needs to be taken into account. Similarly, all nature-based solutions for mitigation depend strongly on water supply for their sustainability.
Secondly, the research argues that climate mitigation measures have an impact on water resources. For instance, the production of energy from biological sources (bioenergy) such as biofuels has a large water footprint, and these elements need to be considered in a broader analysis of the sustainability of mitigation efforts. Similarly, construction of dams for hydropower production may lead to increased methane emissions, and large-scale tree planting projects have an implicit impact on water consumption.
Thirdly, improved water and sanitation management reduces emissions: wastewater and fecal sludge, if untreated, can decompose and release large amounts of greenhouse gases, especially methane, into the atmosphere. Therefore, the authors argue, wastewater treatment and discharge for domestic and industrial sectors should be reported, as should emissions from untreated wastewater.
Fourth, water sustains nature-based solutions in their ability to absorb and store atmospheric carbon. Water is at the basis of all life, and therefore an intact water cycle is required to achieve full mitigation potential and to ensure long-term carbon storage. But there are values of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) beyond carbon absorption: wetlands, for instance, serve as a store for water in high rainfall periods and release water in drier periods, acting as a buffer to the effects of climate change.
Fifth, water and climate are highly interrelated and joint water and climate governance is needed for effective mitigation. Efforts are needed to establish water coordination mechanisms with other governance processes, in particular in relation to the role of water in Nationally Determined Contributions agreed in the context of the Paris Agreement.
The research for the report was coordinated by Dr Malin Lundberg from the Stockholm International Water Institute but it brought together inputs and expertise from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
On the 12th of November at COP 27, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, the Water and Climate Coalition, UNEP and the UNFCCC partnered to present an event on systems thinking for the integration of water into National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Maria Kosonen, speaking on behalf of the Water and Climate Coalition stated that in the context of the current water crisis and with water at the centre of all SDGs, we need systems thinking to resolve issues, and because most of the effects of climate change are felt through water, we need to approach adaptation through the lens of water. Systems thinking can take our thinking in new directions: for instance, the fashion industry has a very large water footprint: one kg of cotton has a water footprint of 20 000 litres. Therefore, improving water efficiency in agriculture can make cotton production more sustainable.
Bhava Dhugana, speaking on behalf of UNFCCC, pointed out that under the Enhanced Transparency Framework in the Paris Agreement, countries are requested to submit Nationally Determined Contributions to climate migation and adaptation (NDC’s). Every two years, there is a review of the transparency framework during which progress on implementation is tracked in order to monitor compliance with the Paris Agreement.In addition, every five years there is a global stocktake on progress. The Consultative Group of Experts review incoming NDC reports. Within the sub-theme of adaptation, there are three focal areas: technical backstopping, technical infrastructure and practical guidance. Within the section on adaptation, both water and agriculture feature very prominently. One challenge going forward is capacity building: the UNFCCC has a adaptation academy which provides a three week in depth training programme in partnership with AGWA, IHE Delft, Oregon State University and others.
Jessica Troni, speaking for UNEP, pointed out that systems thinking assumes that various factors are interlinked, therefore affecting one element has an impact on other elements: clearing land for agriculture for instance has an impact on water infiltration into the ground and replenishment of groundwater. Similarly, trees, through evapotranspiration, generate atmospheric water that can be transported up to a distance of 500 km away and supplement rainfall far from the forests themselves. Higher temperatures lead to more atmospheric moisture and therefore heavier precipitation events.All these elements can be brought together at a systems level, for which Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a generally accepted tool. This requires an integrated planning approach between local government levels, local stakeholders and the river basin level, as well as tools and data for planning and adequate financing. This systems approach requires access to different kinds of information, certainly in the context of climate change: the various impacts of climate change on the water cycle need to be incorporated into river basin planning. IWRM in itself is therefore an adaptation strategy, and therefore IWRM needs to be included in national adaptation plans and therefore integrated into NDC’s.
Finally, Prof Moshood Tijani shared a perspective from the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW). The African Ministerial Council on Water was created in 2002 for a coordinated management of the shared waters of the African continent. Water security challenges in Africa are a matter for concern due to, amongst others, increasing population growth, rapid growth of cities, and rising living standards and a resultant increase in water demand. Groundwater is a focal point for adaptation because it enhances water security despite fluctuations in precipitation: enhancing the emphasis on sustainable groundwater management is therefore a part of the overall climate adaptation strategy across Africa. If we are to ensure sustainable groundwater management, the overall water resources assessment is very important, as is appropriate technology to sustainably extract water, clear transboundary agreements on shared waters, as well as capacity building to integrate all these factors.
Overview of Inland Waterways
In Europe, the inland waterways transport (IWT) infrastructure network is 23,506 km long. Water levels in Western Europe and Germany’s river Rhine , an integral segment of Europe’s IW transport, are currently at record low levels, attributable by some to climate change impact. Annually, around 80 % of the 223 million tonnes of cargo transported by ship in Germany is through the Rhine river connecting Germany’s industrial heartland to the Netherlands and the North Sea. As a consequence, many inland ports are now at idle status and freight is being diverted to rail or road enhancing the carbon presence in the atmosphere.
The Yangtze River, a key navigational channel in China, is around 2000 km long and its draught is deep ( 10.5 m) at the Lower Yangtze (Nanjing estuary) at port of Shanghai where the segment is 250 km long and can accommodate vessels of 25,000 to 30,000 DWT. The Middle Yangtze is around 630 km long with a shallow draft of 2.9 m, at Yichang Wuhan and can accommodate barges of size of 3000 DWT. The river has 25 inland ports. The size of vessels and barge fleet reduces with decreasing water depth, which usually occurs upstream. The water depth along the first and second segment of the river enables operation and docking of the oceangoing vessels and barge fleets of the specified size.
On the inland waterways of the United States millions of tonnes of cargo are transported. Dozens of locks lift rafts of 15 or more barges whose fully loaded weight would be about 1500 tonnes each or a total of about 25,000 tonnes.
The conflict in the Black Sea has shown that the inland waterways and rivers
of Russia leading to the main seaports on the Black Sea are sustaining the supply chain and export of grains and liquid fossil fuels from Russia.
The Port of London Authority is a Trust which manages 153 km of the pastoral yet tidal River Thames (an estuary) and its “ Vision 2050 “ envisages zero carbon through elimination of sewage and pollution besides the conservation of the marine ecosystem. Enhancement of inland waterway freight efficiency can cross subsidize the logistical diversion to transportation through waterways in order to bring about reduction in carbon print. The River Thames has a mean spring tide range of 6.3 m at London Bridge and opens into the North Sea. Its source and first locks are at Teddington upwards from where the tides cease to have effect enabling a
predictable flow for cargo. There are 16 bridges over the river in London alone. From 1970 the Port of London Authority concentrated its investment in modern cargo handling technology at Tilbury 45 km downstream of London Bridge where the width of the river narrows to 730 m. The Port of Tilbury is located on the Lower Thames and is the largest port handling over 20 million tonnes besides offering 47 berths The dock is accessed through a lock entrance with the ability to accommodate vessels of panamax size up to 10.5 m draft. There are also 7 river berths which can take up to 12.5 m draft vessels. There is competition since the year 2014 after the opening of the rival £1.5 bn London DP World London Gateway Terminal farther down the Thames, which can host the new breed of 400-metre container ships carrying 9,100 twenty-foot containers. Tilbury Port is ambitiously considering a post Brexit £ 1 bn expansion to make space for container ships from around the
world with numbers are planned to reach 32 m tonnes by the year 2026. The Port of Tilbury is investing £5.2 billion in flood defences over the next 6 years including replacement of locks as the Port of Tilbury is vital to the national economy. The Port of London Authority and the UK Environment Agency are reverting to freight movement through inland waterway to offset the carbon print of rail and road freight transport of goods. This scheme has a dual purpose of flood protection and navigational convenience besides being a key component of the UK Environment Agency’s Flood Strategy to boost resilience to protect against flooding and coastal change arising as a result of climate change.
IWT Navigation Systems
The IWT infrastructure networks and their components inland ports as nodes, and rivers and channels as links are classified based on the vessel classification. In Europe the Classification of European Inland Waterways is carried out in order to set up the standards for interoperability of large navigable waterways forming part of the Trans European Inland
Waterway network within Continental Europe and Russia. This classification implies that the size of each waterway is limited by the dimensions of the structures including the locks and boat lifts on the route.
IWT in India
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) was established in the year 1986. With renewed focus on waterways as supplementary mode of eco-friendly modal transport IWAI has extended its activities since 2014. The Inland Vessels Bill 2021 wrested rights of the states and vested with the Centre placing under a centralised regulatory regime with the government
notifying 111 inland waterways as National Waterways. Of these 13 National Waterways are operational for shipping and navigation and cargo/passenger vessels carrying about 55 million tonnes of cargo annually. Ganga watercourse or National Waterway 1 utilized for ferrying cargo from the eastern seaport of Haldia to Varanasi some 1,360 km inland has the
potential to emerge as the leading logistics artery for northern India with its development being financed by a World Bank loan of $ 375 million. A 45 metre-wide channel has been earmarked in the river’s deepest part and the Least Available Depths needed for navigation has been determined keeping in mind the need to reduce dredging to just 1.5 % of the river’s annual silt load of 10-11 million cm utilizing modern, less intrusive technologies time to
protect the Ganga’s marine habitat and ecologically diverse fauna. According to the International Monetary Fund India spent $ 72.19 bn for petroleum subsidy in 2015 as the cost of additional fuel consumption was $ 14.7 billion attributable to delays and additional fuel consumption owing to poor condition of roads which was criticized as this amount could have been diverted to social development.
Russian IWT and Black Sea Crisis
The total length of the IWT of the Russian Federation is 102,000 km with river ports operating on the territory of the Russian Federation along with business entities of IWT carrying out cargo works . The river ports are links interacting with railway and road transport and significantly 58 river ports are rail accessed. The IWT in Russia is designed to improve the balance of the country's transport system and reduce specific transport costs in the price of final products by optimizing transport and technological schemes for cargo
delivery through a designed redistribution of cargo flows from land based transport to IWT reducing the overall environmental burden of the transport industry. For maintenance, hydrological and irrigation purposes the IWT is divided into 15 basins. Each basin has common navigable waterways, climate, navigational and hydrographic settings for the vessels sailing and hydrometeorological conditions. The Unified Deep Water System of European Russia is the system of inland waterways of Russia, linking the White Sea, the Baltic Sea , the Volga, Moscow, the Caspian Sea and the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea. Guaranteed depth throughout the Unified Deep Water System is not less than 4.5 meters allowing passage of river and sea going vessels, warships and submarines.
USA IWT Concerns
The Mississippi River is the third longest river in North America and flows 2,340 miles from beginning to end. It takes 90 days for a single drop of water to travel the Mississippi River’s entire length. From its source Lake Itasca till the Gulf of Mexico the Mississippi River drops 1,475 feet. The deepest point on the Mississippi River is 200 feet in depth and its width is 2.4 km at its widest. Perhaps attributable to climate change the depth is approaching a historic low last seen in 1988 and it is impeding the flow of barges. The US Corps of Engineers spokesperson manages the IWT and the shallow water has forced loading restrictions on the barges that carry soybeans, oil, coal and other commodities limiting capacity and escalating freight tariffs. Frequent groundings on shifting sandbanks are impacting the flow of traffic,
making arrival times unpredictable or restricting navigation.
Cyber Security through Digitalization
Short sea inland shipping has a limited horizon for the planning of marine cargo operations supported by exchange of standardised messages between coastal and inland terminals and ports. For maximum freight and logistic efficiency ports need to know sequentially about traffic intensity through digital communication. Operations in IWT are carried out by integrating unified , synchronized and standardised data exchange protocols as well as
managing cyber security to ensure a continuous flow of data about intentions, outcomes, and possible disruptions related to marine traffic and service availability in berth-to-berth maritime transport and ensuring a high degree of predictability.
Environmental Advantages and Net Zero Carbon Footprint
In the context of the climate emergency the widespread existing infrastructure of the canal network may contribute to the attainment of ‘net zero’ by the year 2050. Recent European data indicates that IWT’s environmental performance per ton-kilometer for a bulk vessel is only 10 % of that of a truck for carbon dioxide (CO2) emission, 13 % of a truck for nitrogen oxides (NOx), and 50 % of a truck for particulate matter (PM) 2 . Data from the United States
indicate that CO2 emissions per unit turnover of barges are just 8 % of highway transport’s NOx emissions.
a) On an average, boats on inland waterways consume 0.23 MJ/ton/km (=350BTUs/to/mi) when the cargo is in bulk and 0.22 MJ/ton/km (=336 BTUs/ton-mi) when the cargo consists of containers freight on seawater.
b) On average, ships carrying bulk cargo across the ocean consume 0.2 MJ/ton/km (=300 BTUs/ton/mi) and emit 11 g CO2/ton/km (=0.039 lbs CO2/ton-mi) whereas ships carrying cargo in containers consume 0.2 MJ/ton/km (=300 BTUs/ton-mi) and emit 14 g CO2/ton-km (=0.050 lbs CO2/ton/mi) .
c) Oil tankers are more efficient, consuming only 0.1 MJ/ton-km (=150 BTUs/ton-mi) and emitting approximately 5 to 7 g CO2/ton-km
Cost Comparison of rail, road and IWT Freight
According to a study conducted by RITES, in India alone one litre of fuel moves 24 tonne/km on road, 95 tonne-km on rail and 215 tonne-km on inland waterways. To move a tonne of cargo over a kilometre it takes about Rs 1.36 on railways, Rs 2.50 on highways and Rs 1.06 on inland waterways. The overall logistics cost in India is around 13 - 14 % of GDP compared to the global average of 8 % and transportation savings will free fiscal space for
social schemes as well as reducing flooding calamites besides cleaning up the land and marine environment.
Energy Security and Carbon Print in China
China has also rapidly developed its East coast with refineries and inland coastal LNG and crude oil stations for refuelling , bunkering and additional storage to protect against price volatility shocks. This inland and coastal waterway grid supplements China’s maritime activity. Utilizing of LNG as a fuel positively impacts on carbon emissions and this serves the purpose of China’s plan to battle climate change especially in view of its coal fired power
plants spouting noxious gases into the environment.. While there has been a phenomenal development of cargo in China’s coastal ports slow development of LNG bunkering industry has compromised the competitiveness of China’s coastal ports and meeting of its proclaimed goals of circular carbon economy targets. China’s merchant LNG fleet possesses 293 LNG powered ships with 286 dedicated to IWT served by 12 LNG bunkering stations and 8 LNG
pontoons in its inland waterway. Along inland waterway nodes and near the coast LNG bunkering pontoons can address fuelling requirements of LNG powered ships complying to safety features as to depths, types, design pressure, material selection, improvisation of lighter and flexible bunkering arms and hose, accompanied by regulated and monitored berthing / unberthing and safety practices. In China as the maximum water level variation reaches 18 m LNG bunkering pontoons , rechargeable from shore, with a fuelling capacity of 500 m 3 are being designed for operating on the Yangtze and Pearl Rivers . In the next 3 to 4 years it is anticipated that the Yangtze River area , Pearl River area, Beijing–Hangzhou Canal will have around 2800, 700 , 3500 LNG-fuelled vessels respectively. The coastal areas will likewise be frequented by 150 LNG-fuelled vessels.
IWT and LPG
The Inland Waterways Authority of India has in the year 2022 collaborated with the gas carrier MOL which will invest and facilitate transportation of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) through inland waterways . Components of such IWT involve adequate fairway, handling of LPG cargo on terminals/ multimodal terminals , Lease Available Depth information, dedicated pipelines between jetty to the terminal and necessary infrastructure at the jetty for
evacuation of products from the barges. Presently 60 % of the LPG is moved through road to the various locations with a cost of Rs 5 to 6 per metric tonne /km besides the parcel size as compared to road trucks which can carry 17 metric tonne of LPG in case of barges shall be comparatively larger leading to economies of scale. LPG is an environmentally clean cargo with zero leakages and spillage as the products are handled by pipelines in a fully closed loop . LPG cargo needs less berthing time compared to any other bulk cargo there being no requirement of conveyors to be installed on berths/ jetties. Handling LPG by IWT will lower the carbon footprint.
The African Development Fund - the concessional window of the African Development Bank – has approved a US $ 13.95 million grant to the government of Ethiopia for the Borana Resilient Water Development for Improved Livelihoods Programme. The programme will enhance access to climate resilient, gender sensitive, integrated and sustainable water and sanitation services in various districts in the Borana Zone, located in the south of Oromia Regional State. Borana Zone is one of the zones in Oromia frequently affected by drought as a result of more erratic rainfall and increasing temperatures. The project aims to secure a safe and reliable sustainable water supply for households and livestock in Elweya, Dubluk and Yabelo districts covering 62 villages and 12 tows with a population of 308,576 people. In the first phase, the project will develop well fields in the Ade Galchet and Sarite areas as well as pumps and transmission to booster reservoirs and a main reservoir at Simu hilltop from which the village and town water supplies will be sourced.
The Borana region is a semi-arid region with annual rainfall between 450 and 600 mm/a. The region is highly vulnerable to climate change: Ethiopia has suffered eight major droughts in the course of the past 15 years. Droughts in Borana have been linked to conflict as well as to health risks related to dependence on unprotected water sources. The livelihood of the local population is predominantly based on agriculture – accounting for 80% of employment - with both mobile pastoralist and sedentary, crop farming communities. The Global Centre on Adaptation is contributing $ 300,000 to the programme towards an improved understanding of climate risks and improved resilience of the catchments to climate change.
On the 8th of November, the Asian Development Bank announced a U.S. $ 200 million goal to finance water resilience initiatives in the Asia Pacific region. This was announced at COP 27 in Egypt where during the first of ten thematic days of the Water Pavilion at COP 27, the World Resources Institute, the Asian Development Bank and the African Development Bank organised an event on financing climate resilience through investments in water. The event departed from the observation that water related investment can make a considerable contribution to both adaptation and mitigation efforts, as well as accelerate the transition to net zero emissions, strengthen resilience and achieve SDG 6. However, organisers observe, even though several studies have shown that the benefit of investing in resilience can outweigh the cost by a factor of four to one, investments in resilience are still lagging behind. The goal of the session was to help show the way forward, knowing that time is in short supply to respond adequately to the challenges of climate change.
With the impact of climate change likely to increase over the coming years, focusing on resilience in water resources management has become central to climate adaptation. ARe yoU Water Resilient, for instance, is a technical assistance programme to support developing member countries and other institutional entities in achieving resilience by analysing gaps, needs and opportunities, and building the capacity and mobilising the resources needed. The Asia Pacific Water Resilience Initiative
In the past 12 months the Asia Pacific region has witnessed many examples of climate change such as heat stress in India, and floods in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Permafrost is melting in the Hindu Kush mountains, which threatens the long-term water security of the region. Investing in resilience therefore is logical from a financial perspective, and resilience needs to be built into most investment decisions. Over the past year, the ADB increased its investment package in climate resilience from US $ 80 million to US $ 100 million, of which some two thirds are dedicated to mitigation measures while one third is dedicated to adaptation measures, and a large proportion of this amount will be invested in the water sector. The initiative is supported by the government of the Netherlands (US $ 20 million) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundatin (U.S. $ 10 million)Three key initiatives have been launched: first the ADB has recently established the Asia Pacific Water Resilience Hub, which will provide technical assistance to local water institutions to embed resilience into their programmes and operations. Secondly, the ADB has produced a guidance note on mainstreaming water resilience in the Asian Pacific region which will help equip staff and clients to operationalise resilience and adaptive capacity in the water sector. Third, the ADB seeks to mobilise $ 200 million in grant financing to mobilise and leverage $ 10 billion climate adaptation financing for the ADB’s water sector operations from 2023 to 2030. The initiative will be critical to achieving climate related goals and targets including those contained in the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, and the Sendai framework The action includes additional tools such as boosting gender mainstreaming, increasing private sector participation and investing in water entities.
Roger Voorhies, speaking on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, mentioned that the foundation’s focus on sanitation in partnership with the ADB has only increased since climate impacts became evident such as safely managed sanitation systems that are now overflowing into natural watercourses, for instance in Uganda in calculating overall emissions the impact of sanitation on emissions had not yet been taken into account, but it was found that the emissions from water bodies into which untreated sewage was leaking, together with emissions from open pits and similar sources actually amounted to the same as the rest of the country’s overall emissions. Sanitation is therefore a huge issue both in terms of access and in terms of climate resilience. A partnership was initiated together with the ADB several years ago to look at investments in city wide inclusive sanitation. In the beginning only a small proportion of investment – less than 0,2%of investments – were going into safely managed, non-sewered sanitation. And currently, through the partnership, $ 1,5 billion is being invested in city wide inclusive sanitation, of which 400 million $ is being invested in non-sewered sanitation solutions. The latter are important because they have an impact in reducing water demand, in reducing the amount of wastewater produced, in reducing emissions, and they increase sanitation access for low-income population groups. The Asian experience in a very positive one in terms of leading people out of poverty, but with climate change there is an increased need to invest in resilience.
A new publication by authors Amgad ElMahdi and Lixian Wang presents arguments for a paradigm shift in the way that water is defined, developed and financed. Demand for freshwater is constantly increasing through population growth and economic growth, and at first glance this would seem to offer investment opportunities. However, there is currently a global financing gap for water infrastructure which has been estimated at US $ 6.7 trillion by 2030 and US $ 22.6 trillion by 2050. In addition, the projected impacts of climate change will reduce accessibility to water resources as well as increase spatial and seasonal variations in water availability.
Water infrastructure systems, which encompass surface and groundwater resources development, transmission, water treatment and supply, and wastewater collection, treatment and disposal, will be increasingly compromised under various climate change scenario’s.
Therefore, future financing of water infrastructure will have to both close the financing gap for water infrastructure and ensure that this infrastructure is resilient to climate change, low carbon, and meets the requirements of the Paris Agreement. For example, the Green Climate Fund is considering non-conventional water resources, including wastewater, as a new asset class. Almost 80% of all wastewater is released into the environment untreated, constituting a relatively untapped resource as populations continue to increase.
The Green Climate Fund is proposing a paradigm shift in water security that is low carbon, resilient, and meets the goals of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. This would require creating an enabling investment environment to identify and fund such transformational water security interventions. It would enable recipient countries to develop pathways to increase both the conservation (protection and restoration of the hydrological cycle) and preservation (reducing losses) of water resources. Also, it would yield an increasing share of investment in water security that is transformational in nature in addressing both climate and water challenges. To achieve this, a new (blended) financing environment needs to be created that establishes water reuse and sanitation as a valued asset and provides an enabling financial and institutional environment to take this asset to the investor.
Barcelona and large parts of north-eastern Spain will undergo water restrictions as the drought which started this summer persists through November. Patricia Plaja, the spokesperson for the Catalan Government, announced that the measures will affect 6.7 million people, which amounts to 80% of the region’s population. In accordance with a Decree passed by the Catalonian government in 2007 - following a severe multiyear drought that commenced in 2004 – a drought management plan has been introduced that has four levels of water restrictions, of which the third level has now been activated. The measures include restrictions in the use of water for irrigation and for industrial purposes. The use of water for washing vehicles, the exterior of houses or the filling of swimming pools is also prohibited by the measures. The measures also apply to the city of Barcelona, making it the second Spanish city to apply water restrictions after Sevilla announced restrictions in September this year.
The reservoirs on the Ter and Lobregat rivers, on which Barcelona is heavily dependent, are currently at 35% of their full capacity. Barcelona has historically faced shortfalls between demand and supply, which have been solved each time by drawing water from further afield to supplement existing resources. While Barcelona was supplied predominantly from local catchments and groundwater until the early 1950’s, during the 1950’s the city obtained an increasingly large concession to use the surface waters of the Lobregat river, which was supplemented by a 100-km long aqueduct transferring water from the Ter River in 1966. In 2009 the Barcelona Sea Water Desalination Plant was inaugurated, producing 200,000 m³ of drinking water a day at the mouth of the Lobregat River and making this plant the largest desalination plant in Europe.
For the past thirty years, the temperature in Catalonia has been increasing at 0,15 degree every ten years and the region is expected to experience longer and more frequent droughts
South-eastern Australia has continued to witness heavy rain and flooding during November, following heavy rains during the month of October, which were the heaviest on record in the Murray Darling Basin. Heavy rainfall and flooding had already taken place in Queensland and Coastal New South Wales from February to April. On November 17th, for the first time, emergency services in New South Wales has requested international assistance to cope with flooding, while Queensland has also been affected.
The Wyangala Dam exceeded its capacity on November the 15th, reaching a release of 230 Gigalitres per day. Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke requested flood rescue support from New Zealand, and 70 local authorities declared a natural disaster. Although conditions had eased by the 18th of November, residents in Southeast Australia were urged to remain on alert.
The Australian flood insured losses over 2022 have reached AU $ 6 billion, and damage incurred over October has been estimated at AU $ 791 million.
Despite the damage to property from the floods, the rainfall has restored water flows in the lower reaches of the Murray River and the Coorong lagoon system, which had been deprived of sufficient wate for decades following the millennium drought which lasted from 1996 to 2010. The current floods are helping to wash out salt built up during the drought and bring in nutrients as well as plants and invertebrate species, which will boost the growth of both fish and bird populations.
Driven by the austerity of climate change, the Mbororos are forced to migrate and face various difficulties in their new living environments. Considered invaders by local populations, these pastoralists migrate to Central Africa and develop resilience measures for their survival.
Ango and Bondo are two territories of the province of Bas-Uelé in the North-West of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which have been experiencing a massive influx of climate migrants since 2002. An IKV Pax Christi report from 2008 indicates that the Mbororo belong to the Falatha or Foulani ethnic group, one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. They are found in several African states, particularly in the Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Nigeria, Niger, Mauritania, Cameroon, etc. Their presence in the North-West of the DRC is a source of conflict. The local populations accuse them of possessing firearms, destroying fields and polluting rivers with their livestock.
“The Mbororo live mainly from livestock: the cow, not only represents wealth and social prestige for them, but also provides them with food security and income from the sale of milk", explains Obama Mesanga, anthropologist and communicator at the University of Yaoundé 2. However, although climate changes induce migratory movements, they alone are insufficient explanation for the decision to migrate.
In this regard, Hind AISSAOUI Bennani, IOM official in charge of West and Central Africa and based in Dakar qualifies in these terms: "it is true that climatic factors are very decisive in the migrations observed in Africa and internationally. Nevertheless, we must not lose sight of the multi-causality of environmental migrations”. And to add that “all migration is the result of the interaction of a variety of environmental and demographic factors, strengthening the resilience of migrant households”.
Drinking water, a rare commodity in the Sahel
In order to reduce inequalities at the global level, the new SDGs call on governments to guarantee universal access to basic social services, and in particular to water, by 2030. This objective seems far from being achieved after nearly 8 years of the 2030 Agenda.
A recent UNICEF/WHO report on progress in providing drinking water notes that globally, 2.1 billion people do not have access to safely managed water and 844 million are without water supplies. This report also indicates that among these people, 263 million live more than 30 minutes from the first water point while 159 million continue to drink untreated surface water drawn from rivers or lakes.
Chad is one of the countries from which transhumant Mbororo pastoralists come from who emigrate to the DRC in search of pasture for their cattle and company. They are developing resilient solutions in the face of the austerity of the climate and its cohort of misfortunes.
In the Sahel, limited water supply coverage poses serious problems for populations despite great efforts by the government and international organizations.
Some residents interviewed in Chad by André Kol Majinga, VOA correspondent for the Washington Forum program on World Water Day, paint a gloomy picture of their water supply and describe the ordeal they experience day by day. day: "It's all well and good to celebrate World Water Day, but what water is it? Asks a resident met in the streets of Djamena. And to add “last month I came back from the interior of Chad. We still drink water from the wells and when we bring this water out, it has a red color,” says this 50-something man indignantly. “There are even insects in it. It is really the blackmail of the government and the Chadian water company” he concludes, frowning.
Comments from a young lady, in her late twenties, are mixed. “The Chadian population has access to drinking water compared to previous years, given the efforts made by the government”. She qualifies her remarks and stresses that "we cannot say that the Chadian population has full access to drinking water, because the further we go from the city, the more the problem of access to water feel. Even some provinces of Chad are experiencing this water problem. There is water, but it is not of good quality because it causes stomach aches,” she complains.
Deconstructing alarmist forecasts
Alarmist remarks are sometimes nuanced by researchers. “While the scientific evidence shows that the effects of climate change are clear, there is no cause for undue alarm. We must instead develop measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change.” says Muhigwa Jean Berchmans, environmentalist and professor at the Official University of Bukavu in the DRC.
Groundwater can be a backup source during times when rivers and lakes dry up. The UNESCO report as well as that produced jointly by the NGO Water Aid and the British Institute of Geology reassure that “there are sufficient water resources for the African continent. It is still necessary to make them available and accessible for drinking water and irrigation,” reassures Mariam Dem, Director of Special Projects for the NGO Water Aid during an interview given to Abdourahmane Dia of the VOA in March 2022.
Groundwater is a palliative resource capable of thwarting the apocalypse described by some skeptical climate researchers. Governments and other actors involved in water management will have to strengthen water coverage and accessibility and thus meet the 6th SDG by 2030.