World Water Week finds power in partnerships

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World Water Week finds power in partnerships

World Water Week flag 2013

STOCKHOLM -- Each year the Stockholm International Water Institute organizes World Water Week. The event draws several thousand water practitioners from the public sector, non-governmental organizations, academics, businesses and the media. Attendees highlight case studies, analytical tools and frameworks focused on mitigating water risks and improving the quality of life for billions globally.

This year the theme is “Water Cooperation -- Building Partnerships,” which reflects how the private and public sector and NGOs are addressing water quantity and quality issues through partnerships and collective action. The notion of partnerships is turned on its head when it comes to water. Competitors work together in “pre-competitive” initiatives, such as the U.N. CEO Water Mandate and 2030WRG; NGOs work with multinational corporations; and in turn, corporations work closely with supply chain partners. Each year there are more examples of innovation in partnerships.
 
This is my third year attending and the second presenting. I appreciate the power of assembling diverse stakeholders to tackle private and public sector water issues.
 
The event is a milestone for nonprofit groups to highlight new reports and case studies; for initiatives to launch addressing  clean  water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); and for multinationals to report on progress. Here are a few of the week's key reports:
 
• The WWF released its Water Stewardship “briefing booklet (full PDF report here) outlining its point of view defining water stewardship .
 
• The 2030 Water Resources Group released an online database of case studies to address water scarcity risks. It's designed to facilitate adoption of leading practices to cover a wide range of common scarcity challenges, as well as proven solutions. You can also download the full catalog of in-depth solutions.
 
• The World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), along with member companies, developed a long-term vision and implementation plan to address access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in the workplace. The pledge was signed by Greif, Nestlé, Borealis AG, Roche Group, Hindustan Construction Company, the Environmental Defense Fund, Unilever and Deloitte.
 
• The Global Water Partnership (GWP) rolled out its strategy for 2014 to 2019 to focus on its role as a network, a partnership and an intergovernmental organization, contributing to building a water secure world along with new publications, as well as a new website for the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) ToolBox.
 
The event also recognizes those addressing pressing water issues. This year, awards went to:
 
Netafim, the “pioneer and world-leading provider of drip and micro-irrigation technology” received the 2013 Stockholm Industry Water Award. This was for its "remarkable achievements" and "helping farmers across the world to grow more with less...directly contributing to a more water and food secure world," said the Stockholm Industry Water Award Committee in its citation. Netafim had designed a specific solution for small holder farmers in developing areas, the Family Drip System, a gravity-based drip irrigation system, which eliminated the need for labor-intensive bucket irrigation and saves water, according to a statement released by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) after the award ceremony.
 
Peter Morgan, a sanitation innovator in Zimbabwe, won the 2013 Stockholm Water Prize. “Dr. Morgan has invented and advanced low-cost practical solutions to provide access to safe sanitation and clean water for millions of people worldwide," said the Stockholm International Water Institute. "By combining a scientific mind with practical skills and a knack for elegant simplicity, Dr. Morgan's ideas and designs provide hope for the more than 780 million people without access to safe water and 2.5 billion people who lack access to adequate sanitation.