World Water Week: Future leaders make their mark

Antonella Vagliente

Torgny Holmgren

The world’s leading annual water event, World Water Week, organised by SIWI, closed on Friday. More than 3,600 participants from 133 countries attended nearly 300 sessions. Known for its diverse participation from different sectors and countries, participants under 35 were more vocal than ever this year.

“We are on the right track!” SIWI’s Executive Director, Torgny Holmgren said, underlining the importance of World Water Week. “There are many great things going on.”

“They have adapted their lifestyles and their communities to nature and we have a lot to learn from that,” Antonella Vagliente from Young Water Solutions added, stressing how young people from indigenous backgrounds are turning traditional knowledge into new businesses.

Gabriela Suhoschi

Stefan Uhlenbrook

This year’s theme Water, ecosystems and human development, focused on nature-based solutions and how they can be combined with conventional practices. The message was clear – a combination of green and grey approaches is the only way forward.

“Our take-away is that nature-based solutions do work,” commented Andrea Erickson, The Nature Conservancy, after experiencing showcases from around the world.

Wambui Gichuri

Viktoria Granström

“I thought that maybe some other industry group has done the same. Unfortunately, I did not find any group water strategy including all types of water,” Viktoria Granström, Water Initiative Leader at IKEA Industry, said as she described how she looked for good examples of corporate water strategies. “Set your own rules for what is accepted by you! And many of these solutions have very short payback time!”

During the Week, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden presented the Stockholm Water Prize to Professors Bruce Rittmann, United States (U.S.), and Mark van Loosdrecht, The Netherlands, and awarded the Stockholm Junior Water Prize to Caleb Liow Jia Le and Johnny Xiao Hong Yu, Singapore.

The 2019 World Water Week will be held 25-30 August on the theme Water for society – including all. It will also move to a new venue, the multi-purpose, Tele2 Arena in central Stockholm, Sweden.


All images are credited to Mikael Ullén