The Water Blog
Syndicate content

Financial Sustainability and Public-Private Partnerships, or Back to Basics

Julia Bucknall's picture

At a session at the IWA conference in Busan, Korea, panelists debated the current thinking about public and private roles in supply chain management.  All agreed that any sense of dichotomy was, as dichotomies often are, completely false.  All utilities operate on a continuum.  Even wholly public utilities subcontract some aspects of their work, whether it's the coding of their billing system or their catering services.  And even so-called wholly private models rely on public agencies for some functions. 

Embracing the Certainty of Uncertainty

Abhas Jha's picture

Many extremely smart people have famously made predictions that turned out to be really wrong. Consider this: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943. Or this: "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." -- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

Challenges of a Hidden Potential

Luis Ernesto Garcia's picture

One third of the planet's freshwater is under the surface. While there is a 100 times more water in the ground than in rivers and lakes, all of it is not easily accessible. Although groundwater is considered a renewable resource, it may be hours old, hundreds of years old or even thousands of years old, depending on its depth and point of entry. At the same time, there are regions of the world such as Africa where the potential of large volumes of water naturally stored underground is not being used sustainably to reduce poverty, provide food security and contribute to climate change adaptation. But sustainable use of groundwater and the management of aquifer systems imply overcoming many hurdles, not only technical, but economic, social, and cultural.

The Silent “Water Menace”

Luis Ernesto Garcia's picture

Some consider that the most-hotly contested resource for development and survival in a future world will not be oil, but water. Supply problems are very easy to envisage on the surface of the Earth. But countries such as Australia look “down under,” to groundwater. They should know. From 46 to 67% of the water they use in agriculture is groundwater. One of the largest aquifer systems of the world -- the Great Artesian Basin -- is in Australia. But UNESCO lists it among the areas of significant groundwater decline, along with the California Central Valley and the High Plains area in the USA, western Mexico, several basins in Spain, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, the Indus basin in India, and the North China Plain. People use groundwater but most of the time they don’t know how much they have or how long will it take to recharge. Consequently many aquifers around the world are being depleted causing problems that may remain dormant for some time but that eventually will cause negative impacts on society and the environment. 

City District Shrinks Its Impact by Using Water 5 Times Over

Michael Peter Steen Jacobsen's picture

Hammerby Sjöstad, in central Stockholm, is integrated urban water management in action. The district, which was intended to be an Olympic Village, once was an old industrial area, but it has been transformed into a sustainable city.

Starting about a decade ago, the planners took on the ambitious goal of reducing the environmental footprint of the neighborhood by 50% compared to other recent developments in Stockholm. They brought in new ideas and put them into practice at surprisingly low costs.

While I was in Stockholm for World Water Week this past week, I spoke to Erik Freudenthal from GlashusEtt in Hammerby Sjöstad about the project.

No Water, No Food Security

Diego Juan Rodriguez's picture

July was the hottest month on record in the U.S. and with it the price of maize jumped 23 percent. According to very rough estimate made in a blog from the Wall Street Journal, this means just $33 more at the register next year for the average U.S. grocery shopper. But it means much more for poor people in developing countries, who already spend up to 60 percent of their income on food.

Welcome to World Water Week 2012

Jaehyang So's picture

Thousands of water development practitioners have begun to descend upon Stockholm for World Water Week, the annual knowledge-sharing event hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute. It was raining earlier today in Sweden’s capital. But some parts of the world have suffered through unprecedented high temperatures and drought. The drought in the US can be seen from space, as described in this Wired magazine article. This drought has led to damages to, and drops in, yields of crops of maize and soybeans, for which the US is the largest exporter in the world. It has also meant higher food prices.

Pages