The Water-Smart community mobilised for the World Water Day
This year’s World Water Day was dedicated to groundwater and across the whole week of this official day, Water Europe’s community was mobilised to raise the importance of a Water-Smart Society in Europe and beyond across several direct and indirect actions.
A Water-Smart Society is a “society in which the true value of water is recognised and realised, all available water sources are managed in such a way that water scarcity and pollution of water resources are avoided, water and resource loops are largely closed to foster a circular economy and optimal resource efficiency, and the water system is resilient against the impact of climate change events ; and all relevant stakeholders are involved in the governance of our water system”.
The Water Europe Community had the opportunity to raise its voice at the World Water Forum, taking place in Dakar from the 21st to the 25th of March, during which several Water Europe’s members actively participated in the debates, stressing out examples, challenges and opportunities for a water-smart management. In particular, Dominique Darmendrail – BRGM and VLT leader for the value of water – participated to the sessions on Science, Research, Innovation and Technologies which highlighted the importance of sustainable water resource management and the key role of groundwater for new solutions, specifically for the regions strongly impacted by climate change. There is a need to make visible groundwaters to protect them against pollutions and unsustainable exploitation. Moreover, collaborative research and innovation across the value-chain and at all levels is the prerequisite to achieve a Water-Smart Society. Now, these elements must be translated into actions by all the stakeholders, including financial institutions to support research and deployed innovative solutions. The forum closed its curtains with a Dakar Declaration, calling for a “Blue Deal”.
Last week, Water Europe was also invited at Dubai Expo 2020 to raise its expertise and Water Vision. Invited by the Slovenian Government, Water Europe had the chance to debate with the innovative water stakeholders in the Slovenian pavilion on climate change and groundwater. It was a fruitful exchange on several water-related topics such as public health, drinking and bathing water, circular wastewater management and digitalisation. This water week in Dubai Expo was also an opportunity to discuss water-smart solutions with innovators from other European member states’ such as Hungary, Czechia, Poland and Estonia. Read more about the Dubai Expo 2020.
On the 25th of March, the MEP Water Group and UNESCO organised the annual event on the United-Nations Report 2022, dedicated to Groundwater: Making the invisible visible with the participation of the Italian Ambassador Stefano Verrecchia, Deputy Permanente Representation of Italy to the European Union. Louise Haxthausen, Director of the UNESCO Liaison office in Brussels reminded us that “Better protecting and managing Groundwater is our collective responsibility and it is in our collective interest”, while Sophie Vermooten – Deltares and Member of the Policy Advisory Committee of Water Europe underlined that a holistic approach of surface and groundwater is key to ensure sustainable water management. Read the full report from the event here.
Water Europe supports a stronger involvement of the European Parliament for a Water-Smart Society. As mentioned during the MEP Water Group- UNESCO event, the legislators have a political responsibility to ensure water security. On the 22nd of March, Water Europe addressed an open letter to the Members of the European Parliament calling on them to protect our water resources by adopting a Water-Smart Society and recognising the true value of water. Several water-related legislations are under revision and must consider the value of water. The latest IPCC report highlights the lack of political support for tackling water-related challenges. In this context, Water Europe welcomes the coordinated action of the Steering board of the MEP Water Group to address a number of water-related questions to the European Commission on the importance of the protection of our groundwater resources.
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