nternational Annual UN-Water Zaragoza Conference 2012/2013
Preparing for the 2013 International Year. Water Cooperation: Making it Happen! 8-10 January 2013 Challenges for Water Cooperation
Action is needed to improve water resources planning, evaluate availability and needs within watersheds, reallocate or expand existing storage facilities where necessary, emphasize the importance of managing water demand, develop a better balance between equity and efficiency in water use, and overcome inadequate legislative and institutional frameworks and the rising financial burdens of ageing infrastructure. At each level there are a variety of issues that require water cooperation. Dealing with increasing water scarcity, water abstraction and decision on water allocation, dam construction, and chronic and accidental water pollution by industry, as well as implementation of existing treaty provisions, often require water cooperation. Water cooperation among stakeholders is often the key for effective and appropriate local level decisions both in cities and in agriculture. As growing populations, urbanization and economic development all require more water for agricultural, municipal and industrial uses, there are greater risks. This said, it is usually factors outside the water domain that are decisive in creating situations that require mutually acceptable decisions and agreements. Indeed, history has often shown that the vital nature of freshwater is a powerful incentive for cooperation compelling stakeholders to reconcile even the most divergent views. Water more often unites than divides peoples and societies. Since 1948, history shows only 37 incidents of acute conflict over water, while during the same period, approximately 295 international water agreements were negotiated and signed. Clearly, averting disputes is often a strong political driver for initiating cooperation on transboundary waters, as riparian States recognize that they must safeguard their greater common interests. Equitable sharing of water resources is a complex issue that has only become more so in recent years due to population growth, development pressures, and changing needs and values. The unequal distribution of water is heightened by political changes, resource mismanagement, and climatic anomalies. Inadequate legislative and institutional frameworks coupled with the rising financial burden of aging infrastructures add to this stress. These factors can trigger upheavals as well as demographic and developmental transformations, all of which, in turn, contribute to significant socio-economic differentiations. Growing competition between different sectors and groups has placed increasing strain on the quality and quantity of freshwater supplies. Competition for water also manifests in the demands for different uses – urban versus rural, quantity versus quality, present use versus future demand, and sanitation versus other social priorities. Competition among uses and users has increased in almost all countries, as have the links connecting them, calling for more effective negotiation and allocation mechanisms. Water demand
Among sectoral uses, agriculture is predominant in its water use and consequently management strategies to improve water-use efficiency, especially for irrigated lands, will require specific attention. Production of crops and livestock is water‐intensive, and agriculture alone accounts for 70% of all water withdrawn by the combined agriculture, municipal and industrial (including energy) sectors. The booming demand for livestock products in particular is increasing the demand for water. The global demand for food is expected to increase by 70% by 2050. Best estimates of future global agricultural water consumption (including both rain-fed and irrigated agriculture), are of an increase of about 19% by 2050, but this could be much higher if crop yields and the efficiency of agricultural production do not improve dramatically. Much of...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document