IWRA Webinar Nº 42

The Role of the SDGs & WASH Initiatives
 in a Water Scarce World

18 May 2021

IWRA’s webinar on The Role of the SDGs & WASH Initiatives in a Water Scarce World focused on this timely issue with more than 125 registered participants.

The panellists discussed how to improve traditional water management and solutions, going from energy and carbon intensive and single use to a circular economy, which works with natural solutions while minimizing all costs – including externalities and non-economic costs. This type of rethinking and revaluing water paradigms, was agreed to be critical, particularly for achieving the SDGs and those focused on water: SDG 6 and SDG 14. Other panellists dug deeper and considered how we look at the environmental and social values related to water – and the necessity of our national policies to reflect those additional values instead of focusing exclusively on economic ends. This includes not only a holistic approach, but attention on specific areas, such as valuing water at its source, and the infrastructure that delivers water supplies. 

Other panellists looked at the relationship between clean water and COVID-19, particularly in Latin America. More than a year after the virus has become widespread and building on existing research, we have a better understanding of clean water access as a key means to address public health questions. A lack of clean water access impacts the ability to conduct simple activities such as handwashing, for instance. Building on these insights, other experts shed light at the relationship between water access and menstrual health. This included a broad perspective on the ways to address information and social attitudes, for both men and women, as well as addressing physical issues, such as access to safe and secure sanitation.

The panel agreed that the frameworks which have existed before are not sufficient to address the water scarcity issues that exist today. New ideas, ways of valuing water, and paradigms need to be developed and implemented in a fast evolving world.

The Role of the SDGs & WASH Initiatives in a Water Scarce World webinar was supported by IWRA’s Early Career and Young Professionals (ECYP) Task Force.  Moderation was provided by Bassel Daher, Chair of IWRA’s ECYP Task Force, and featured the following panellists: Edoardo Borgomeo, Honorary Research Associate, University of Oxford, United Kingdom; Nathalie Chingate-Hernandez, Ph.D. Student, Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia; Karanja Daniel, Founding Director, COSEDI, Kenya; and, Nivedha Elango, Ph.D. Candidate, Full-Time Scholar, Anna University, India. This webinar was presented by Scott McKenzie, PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Click the titles of the presentations below to access these documents: