Energy and Water communities ‘must co-operate to meet global challenges’

The organisers of World Water Week have claimed that there is 'an urgent need' for a closer relationship between the energy and water industries in order to tackle issues of global scarcity and poor quality.

Addressing delegates during the opening session of the 24th annual World Water Week in Stockholm yesterday (2 September), Torgny Holmgren – executive director of the event’s organiser, Stockholm International Water Institute – said water and energy are inseparable from sustainable development and must be tirelessly promoted in global decision-making.

“The challenges are immense,” said Holmgren. “With the global demand for water projected to grow by 55% between 2000 and 2050 and electricity demand expected to increase by 50% in the next two decades, there is an urgent need for a closer relationship between the energy and water communities if we are to provide solutions for all peoples to prosper.” 

Meeting demand

The theme of 2014 World Water Week is ‘Energy and Water’. In more than 100 seminars, workshops and events spread throughout the week, delegates will discuss ongoing and future work and collaboration between the energy and water communities.

Speaking during another session, Dr Kandeh K Yumkella, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, added: “One of the major challenges that our world faces today is providing modern energy services and water for billions without both.

“As global demand for both energy and water increases, we must think about the way we produce and use both to ensure shared prosperity for all citizens, protect the environment, achieve socio-economic development and secure peace and stability.”

Water Footprint Assessment

World Water Week also played host to the launch of the results of a pioneering new study of water use in a densely populated region of the UK from the Environment Agency and the Water Footprint Network.

The study, entitled ‘Water Footprint Assessment for the Hertfordshire and North London Area’, examines both surface and groundwater use across 35 sub-catchments in the area. It reveals the amount of water consumed and polluted in far greater detail and with finer accuracy than ever before. It also proposes a framework for reforming and improving the integration of regulations, based on the Water Footprint Network’s global Water Footprint Assessment Standard. 

“By looking at water use in this specific area through the lens of a Water Footprint Assessment, we have unearthed an effective, new and innovative approach to tackling water problems that can be applied worldwide,” said the Water Footprint Network’s executive director Ruth Mathews. “We have a breakthrough on our hands that can revolutionise the way water is managed and regulated so that global demand is met in a sustainable way.”

“We hope this inspires regulatory agencies worldwide to reconsider their approach to assessing how water uses contribute to the ever-increasing issue of water scarcity and recognize the value of regulations based on the grey water footprint in stemming the rapid decline in water quality faced in many river basins.”

Read edie’s top 10 tips to reduce water consumption for businesses.

World Water Week takes place in Stockholm from 31 August – 5 September.

Luke Nicholls

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