The World needs a “Marshall Plan” for water

Call for global leaders to act on water scarcity, as water professionals and political leaders meet to discuss how water can achieve national development priorities, the Sustainable Development Goals and adapt to climate change during African Water Week (18 – 22 July 2016) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

“To counter water scarcity and drought in Africa and all other regions, we need decisive action, nothing less than a modern day “Marshall Plan” that brings together government policy and private entrepreneurship,” said Ger Bergkamp, Executive Director, the International Water Association.

Drought management is not just about new infrastructure and technologies, but increasingly about water demand-management, effective water allocation policies and incentives. It is about building systems that are broadly resilient to drought and scarcity, managing demand as well as improving supply.

“Ministers need to increasingly coordinate dedicated strategies and action plans at national and sub-national levels,” said Bergkamp.

To make progress, water needs to be connected to the major sectors and interests that drive economies: agriculture, energy, and the urban, industrial and service sectors. Reviewing existing public water policies, regulation and investment strategies against the Sustainable Development Goals and in the light of adaptation to climate change will be critical.

“A first step is to create a global coalition to tackle water scarcity and drought,” said Bergkamp.

To mobilise action on water scarcity and drought, the International Water Association is organising a Water Scarcity and Drought Summit in October in Brisbane in Australia. The Summit, hosted in a country only recently emerging from a severe and prolonged drought, brings together top government officials, leading practitioners, policy makers, industry leaders, and civil society leaders to discuss new ways forward to turn the fight against water scarcity and drought.