23/01/2019Preparations are in full swing for the upcoming GRoW mid-term conference, which will take place on 20-21 February 2019 in Frankfurt am Main (Germany). Ninety research institutions cooperating in 12 GRoW projects will present their latest results and discuss them with over 200 expected participants from research, business and practice. The talks will revolve around four thematic clusters: global surface water resources, global groundwater and water supply, water footprint, and global analysis and governance.
Energy production and water availability are inextricably linked. Energy needs water resources (e.g. for distribution, cooling and as a source of energy), and water management requires energy (e.g. for water extraction and treatment). The nine partners in the WANDEL project aim to find out whether restrictions in water availability accelerate the transition to a renewable energy supply by limiting the use of conventional energy systems, or whether they hinder the transition by creating new local water conflicts. In the light of climate change and growing water stress, answering these questions is essential to identifying mitigating effects on the energy transition and developing practical solutions for a sustainable energy and water future.
In 2018, the UN published a report entitled “Sustainable Development Goal 6: Synthesis Report on Water and Sanitation”. It reviewed progress on achieving SDG 6 at the global and regional level. A recently published research paper published in the journal Water discusses this report and asks how those engaged in education, training and research could contribute to enabling and accelerating progress towards achieving SDG 6. We talked to the paper’s authors, Professor Stefan Uhlenbrook and Dr Angela Ortigara from the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme, about this paper and how GRoW researchers could engage in the SDG 6 process.
The growing complexity of available data, tools and monitoring methods for water management can complicate decision-making. iWaGSS is developing and testing an innovative water governance system in the Lower Olifants River Basin in South Africa with the help of qualitative and quantitative water monitoring. The project combines expedient surface-water monitoring technologies, modern remote sensing, and hydrological, hydraulic and morphological modelling with GIS-based risk assessment and socioeconomic analyses.
Drinking water scarcity in prosperous urban areas is an increasing challenge for cities around the world. This situation, exacerbated by growing climatic extremes, is prevalent in the Rio Lurin catchment area in Lima (Peru), which is the world’s second largest desert city. The TRUST research project is exploiting the possibilities for developing an innovative solution to secure the drinking water supply and expedient disposal of water in the catchment area of the Rio Lurin, one of Lima’s three major drinking water sources. Using remote sensing and hydrological modelling in combination with strategic decision-making tools, the team of researchers and practitioners of natural sciences, engineering and social sciences has made significant progress in the project’s first year.
The GRoW mid-term conference taking place on 20/21 February 2019, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany nears. If you haven’t yet registered, please remember to do so here. Closing date for registrations is 1 February 2019 (registration is required).
Do you know a company, project, plant, technology, deal or initiative that deserves the “Global Water Awards”? The nomination for the Awards 2019 is now open and you can vote here until 31 January. Nominations can be made under 13 different categories, such as Smart Water Company of the Year, Municipal Desalination Plant of the Year or Water Leaders Award. The winners will be announced at the Global Water Summit on April 9th 2019 in London. Further information on the process can be found here.
The 10th International Conference on Sustainable Water Resources Management, organised by the Wessex Institute (UK) and the University of Alicante (Spain) opened its call for papers. The conference will present recent technological and scientific developments, associated with the management of surface and sub-surface water resources. Papers presented will be published by WIT Press in a Volume of WIT Transactions or at an Issue of the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning.
During its workshop on 11 December in Osnabrück, the group continued to investigate the two topics identified at the first meeting: conflicting targets and synergies between different SDGs; and indicators, data and models. The participants also discussed how best to transfer knowledge from the GRoW projects to the political process.
The workshop began with two keynote presentations. One focused on identifying methodological approaches for assessing conflicting targets and synergies within the SDGs. The other assessed interlinkages between alternative policy options from the project TRUST. The workshop then moved on to the working group session.
The working group for indicators, data and models focused on the importance of SDG implementation and decision-making on the ground, and on improvements in representing existing governance systems. It also looked at addressing cross-sectoral problems as a way of achieving the SDGs more efficiently. The group rapidly agreed to prepare a policy brief on how to complement and possibly improve the current SDG monitoring process. Besides the key messages, empirical examples from the GRoW projects will be a major component of the paper.
Following a fruitful discussion, the working group on conflicting targets and synergies between different SDGs decided to develop a new assessment method for evaluating projects and different policy plans and their effects on SDG interactions, with a special focus on SDG 6. The method aims to improve the way the advantages and disadvantages of interventions are presented, and to develop concrete proposals for decision-making.
The next workshop on the cross-cutting topic is planned for spring 2019.
The presentations and workshop minutes are available here.
The UNFCCC 24th Conference of the Parties and 14th Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol was held in Katowice, Poland, from 2nd to 4th December. Besides discussions of emissions trading, climate security, climate change financing and local climate protection, there was also an emphasis on water-related topics as being integral to achieving most other SDGs and the ambitious climate change targets.
GRoW was presented at the Conference of the Parties (COP) as part of input from Project Management Agency Karlsruhe (PTKA). Romy Durst introduced the broad portfolio of activities occuring within the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and focused on the FONA3 framework prgramme. She highlighted GRoW’s special focus on connecting global information about water resources and water demand with regional and local solutions.
In addition, the GRoW project SaWaM (Seasonal Water Management for Semiarid Areas) was present at a side-event on “climate-proofing strategies”, during which Dr Lorenz and Professor Kunstmann from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology provided an overview of ongoing research and first research results within their project.
Several otherl events highlighted the important role of water in achieving climate change targets. UN-Water, for instance, organized an event entitled “The role of water in achieving climate neutrality“ that it addressed the integration of SDG6 (water) and SDG13 (climate change). The side event highlighted the important role of water, the potential for synergies and trade-offs, and the political progress achieved so far.
After reaching a lat-minute deal on a 156-page rulebook, COP24 now provides a roadmap for further implementation of the Paris Agreement. However, since collaboration at the national levels is under threat as a result of current political developments in a number of leading countries (including the USA, Germany and France), commitment at sub-national levels (local governments, cities, states, businesses and NGOs) continues to gain importance for achieving carbon emission goals. Various cities and organisations have already committed to the Paris Agreement. The same can be expected with water-related issues, as this COP highlighted the close links between these two topics.