World Water Day 2021: visualizing the value of water

22/03/2021

The motto of this year's World Water Day "Valuing Water" directs attention to the value water holds for each and every individual. However, the value of water is not limited to daily hand washing, showering, cooking and drinking. Rather, a large part of our water consumption takes place invisibly. It is precisely this invisible water consumption that adds significantly to an exacerbation of global and regional water crises. What contribution does GRoW make to visualize these hidden water values?

Over a period of three years, GRoW researchers have developed innovative approaches to measure the value of water, identify the risks of increasing water scarcity and determine solutions for where and how we can use water more sustainably. The GRoW project WELLE shows, for example, the importance of water as a production factor along supply chains. Companies can then take targeted measures to reduce water scarcity at local hot spots in their value chains.

Water also possesses a central value in the energy sector – and not only when it comes to generating energy through hydropower and geothermics. Water is used in coal or gas power plants, and the extraction of raw materials to construct solar and wind power systems also requires water. The WANDEL project therefore points out that strategies for the energy transition have to take water requirements into account so that clean energy doesn’t come at the expense of already scarce resources in arid regions of the world.

To lay the foundation for a more sustainable water use and improved water governance structures, GRoW researchers call on politics and industry to take the value of water into account in all decisions.

The GRoW recommendations addressed to decision-makers can be found here.