- Reseach project
- – Western Pacific
Read the latest updates about the International WaterCentre, as well as contemporary water sector insights, water management news, and conversations with researchers, practitioners and students, from both Australia and abroad.
“In my country, people live their lives quietly on their own. People don’t share their problems, and so they don’t share solutions. People are not interested in improving if it doesn’t benefit them. But it should be about how improving benefits all, because we don’t live alone. That applies to everything: water management, scarcity and the rest.” Pablo’s career as a lawyer in his home country of Chile has seen him work in private consultancies; as a liaison for policy advisors, engineers and geologists; and as a university professor. He is passionate about increasing his water management knowledge, so he can educate others and influence those with power within the water sector. “In my country, in Chile, water is totally [controlled by the] private sector. The government doesn’t have power to apply limits on water. Water regulations are about the economy and about the free market. It [water policy] does not include the social aspect, or the environmental aspect, and it definitely does not include the human aspect.”
It has been said that in the future, wars will be fought over water—but one organisation is trying to change that. Dr Martina Klimes, an advisor on water and peace for the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) says the challenges are vast.
India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is leading his country through sustainability and water conservation changes. Last year, during his customary radio address on Indian radio station Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Modi called upon his people to make conservation of water a collective responsibility. “We often hear that there might be wars due to scarcity of water in [the] future,” he said. “Therefore, we must assume our responsibility to conserve water and we must ensure conservation of water in every possible manner." His efforts towards conservation saw him honoured with the United Nations’ Champions of the Earth’ award in October 2018. During his acceptance speech, Modi dedicated the award to the invisible faces of India who contribute to conservation of nature. He said climate and calamity are directly linked to culture. “It will be difficult to avoid calamity as long as concerns for the climate do not become part of the local culture.” He said the honour belonged to tribal forest dwellers who play an important role in forest conservation, to the fishermen who abstain from fishing during the breeding season and to the farmers who are dependent on the seasonal weather cycle for their livelihood.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a A$508.31 million grant – one of the largest grants ever awarded by the ADB – as part of a A$1 billion water resources project in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – a project being led by International WaterCentre (IWC) alumnus, Hans Woldring. The Arghandab Integrated Water Resources Development Project is a national priority project that aims to develop water resources in the Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, to help improve the country’s agricultural productivity, water resources management, energy generation and growth outlook. The multi-sector project represents an integrated approach to water resource development, meeting the needs of rural and urban communities downstream of the province’s ageing Dahla Dam and improving how water resources are managed and used in the Arghandab River Basin.
Last month, the International WaterCentre (IWC) welcomed 26 participants from across the Asia-Pacific region for the Asia-Australia Learning Week 2019, to discuss the role of decision support tools in water policy development, investment planning and the on-ground management of water resources. Participants came from 14 countries from across the region, and comprised of nine Asian Development Bank (ADB) staff and 17 representatives from ADB Developing Member Countries. The group represented a broad cross-section of professional backgrounds seen across the water sector – civil engineers, policy and planning officers, economists, finance specialists, hydrologists, environmental scientists, social scientists and IT experts – and were each at different stages of their careers – from specialists, to mid-level managers to country-level directors.