World Water Week 2022
23rd August 2022 – 1st September 2022
This week people from around the world are gathering in Sweden to discuss the diverse aspects of water and to understand how others view and value water. With an overall theme of “Seeing the unseen: the value of water” three key topics are being discussed: –
The value of water for people and development
Each and every one of us has a different attitude to water. Some of us think of it as a resource to be exploited for our benefit. Others treasure it for its own inherent worth or as an object of spiritual or religious veneration. Some want to derive political, diplomatic or military advantage from it. Others use it for artistic creativity, recreation and pleasure, or see water as forming relations between people and our environment. Some think water can be owned, others that it is a universal public good. Many of us don’t think about it, we just take its continuing availability for granted. In short, all of us value water differently – or even not at all.
The financial and economic value of water
The political economy of water is complex. Increased water security reduces economic, social and environmental risks. Increased collaboration over water between neighbouring communities and countries, and between financiers and the different sectors of the economy, serves the current and future needs of them all. Water and its wise management create benefits right across our society. Just as every human activity has carbon footprint, it also has water footprint. To name a few: food, manufactured goods, power, transport and environmental management all depend on water and on natural ecosystems. If their water footprints and their impacts on those ecosystems are better calculated, understood and valued they can be better sustained for our future.
The value of water for nature and climate
Within the observable universe, our planet is astonishingly rare in having a coating of water. The groundwater and surface water, oceans and atmosphere, create an environment on which all life depends, but which itself is described by so many astronauts as looking impossibly fragile. For the first time in our planet’s history, one life-form – humankind – now has the power to affect that water environment for better or worse. Understanding, valuing and caring for water in all its forms will be essential to our survival.
How do you value water?