2016 was a big year for the international water management community.
The Sustainable Development Goals were launched, including a goal dedicated to water management. The High-Level Panel on Water was announced and published its Action Plan. WWF reported that freshwater animal species have experienced an 81% decline in population abundance since 1970, with habitat loss and degradation the key driver of losses. Political conflict in the US, Kashmir and the West Bank was, as always, about much more than water, but access to water was a critical contributor to conflict and cutting supply continues to be used by ‘water hegemons’ as an open threat. Meanwhile, water technology developments continue to present alternative options for ensuring supply and maintaining water quality.
Where will the breakthroughs come from in 2017 to start reversing negative trends and accelerating progress toward improved water management? How can we better reflect the value of water for multiple groups of water users in decision making? Aither will be working with partners to implement tried and tested solutions and trial new approaches to good water management. We are particularly looking forward to tracking developments in global water markets and proposing ways to harness the benefits of water trading in more (and more diverse) settings.
Aither travelled to Budapest, Washington DC and New York in December 2016 to participate in the Budapest Water Summit and The Nature Conservancy’s Global Water Summit, and to meet with the World Bank and United Nations. We’re excited about what 2017 holds, both for Australian water management and the global water community.