Water Front #3 2015

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China faces a mighty challengeas it transitions to its “newnormal” economy: cleaning upits waters.►ANALYSIS: PAGE 09The golden rule of the Africangreen revolution will be to catchthe rainwater before it evaporates,writes Malin Falkenmark.►OPINION: PAGE 11WITH THE WORLD’SBEST WATER IDEAS!►PAGE 22STOCKHOLMwaterfrontthe Forum for Global Water Issues | # 1 | MARCH 2015the Forum for Global Water Issues | # 3 | AUGUST 2015our shared THIRSTFor millennia, all water crises werelocal. Today, they are inextricablylinked by trade, gravity, and climatethe HEROESof our timelast wordWe live in a richer,fatter worldWe celebrate activists,inventors, diplomats,and scientistspublished by stockholm international water institute


Photo: Thomas HenriksonEDITORIAL No. 3 • AUGUST 2015This is a momentousyear. Wehave a string ofmeetings where the direction for globaldevelopment work will be set for decadesto come. This phrase has been on repeatfor a long time, but it makes it no lessimportant. This year, at the UN inNew York in September and in Parisin December, we make choices thatwill affect our children’s and grandchildren’slives.In this jam-packed WaterFront issue,extra thick to celebrate the 25th jubileeof both World Water Week and StockholmWater Prize, we have tried toapproach some of the issues that webelieve will be on top of the globalagenda in the future.Experienced water writer JamesWorkman has taken on the subject ofdryness in our cover story. Are watercrises local, or is the crisis global? Diveinto Our shared thirst on page 5.SIWI’s China experts untangle thegiant’s new water action plan in theanalysis Slowing down, Cleaning up –China seeks a new normal on page 9.CONTENT03050911OUR SHARED PASSIONBRIEFINGWater news roundupCOVER STORYOur shared thirstANALYSISSlowing down, cleaning up– China seeks a new normalMalin Falkenmark underscores theimportance of managing rainwater insub-Saharan Africa, in her opinion onpage 11.And, you will meet our Water Heroes.Together they prove that a person whois passionate about water and positivechange can hail from anywhere, haveany background. Read more on page 14.During the last few months, we at SIWIhave run a campaign about The World’sBest Water Ideas. Based on suggestionsfrom the public and experts, we selectedten water ideas that are now being subjectedto online voting. The voting willbe open well into World Water Week,and the top ideas presented as theWeek draws to a close. Best Water Ideas,page 22.I hope these pages will serve as aninspiration for discussions during WorldWater Week and beyond. Happy reading!Torgny HolmgrenExecutive DirectorStockholm International Water InstituteThe printing process and paper have been certified according tothe Nordic Swan label for environmental quality.223435THE WORLD’S BESTWATER IDEASLAST WORDJan LundqvistCALENDARComing up in thewater worldOPINIONBlind spots delay sub-Saharan struggle for watersecurity PRINTING 13,000 • CIRCULATION 40,000 • ISSN 1102 7053Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this publication are those of the authors and are not necessarily shared by SIWI orits affiliates.COVER PHOTO IstockSTOCKHOLM WATERFRONTStockholm WaterFront is a quarterlymagazine that aims to inform the globalwater debate and be a source of knowledgeand inspiration for professionals worldwidewith an interest in water issues. StockholmWater Front mixes popular science articleswith news reporting and carries analyses bysome of the world’s most knowledgeable waterwriters. It is published in print and digitally byStockholm International Water Institute,and is free of charge.STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL WATER INSTITUTEBox 101 87Visiting Address: Linnégatan 87ASE-100 55, Stockholm, SwedenTel: +46 8 121 360 00Fax: +46 8 121 360 01 | www.siwi.orgPUBLISHERTorgny Holmgren | Executive Director14EDITORIAL STAFFVictoria Engstrand-Neacsu | EditorElin Ingblom | Graphic DesignerEDITORIAL BOARDBritt-Louise AnderssonJens BerggrenMoa CortobiusAnton EarleKarin LexénJan LundqvistJosh WeinbergCONTACT THE EDITORIAL TEAM:WATERFRONT@SIWI.ORGTHE WATER HEROESOF OUR TIMEbriefingWater re-use advocate wins Stockholm IndustryWater AwardCH2M, a Colorado-based global serviceand engineering company, has won the2015 Stockholm Industry Water Awardfor developing and advancing methodsto clean water, and increasing public acceptanceof recycled water.“CH2M has long recognized that ourglobal community cannot afford to usewater once and dispose of it—fresh watersources are too precious and growingmore scarce,” said Greg McIntyre, CH2MGlobal Water Business Group President.CH2M has invented, implementedand refined methods for cleaning usedwater back to drinking water quality. But,Textile and water projectshortlisted for globalsustainability award…The Sustainable Water Resources (SWAR) projecthas been shortlisted for the Global LeadershipAward in Sustainable Apparel (GLASA).SWAR, a pilot project carried out within theframework of Sweden Textile Water Initiative(STWI), is a cooperation between Swedish brandsand their Indian suppliers, SIWI, Sida, and Indiabasedconsultancy cKinetics.Each year, the GLASA network identifies atheme to frame, for 2015 it is water. The awardrecognizes the most promising leadership andpractices in the chosen area and in 2015, GLASAwill produce a state of the apparel sector reportfocused on water.The GLASA jury is comprised of leaders fromNordic industry and sustainability networks suchas the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, DanishFashion Institute, SEB and the Associationof Swedish Fashion Brands. The process is coordinatedby The Sustainable Fashion Academy (SFA).The winner will be announced at a symposiumand award ceremony during World Water Weekin Stockholm on 27 August, 2015.since this water is only valuable if peopleactually use it, the firm has put significantand successful effort into buildingpublic understanding and acceptance.They pioneered the application of socialscience research to better understandthe underlying reasons for why peoplereject the notion of reuse and what mightbe done to change that mindset. Thisresearch, combined with demonstrations,education and transparency hasdispelled myths around use of treatedwastewater and paved the way for a surgein interest in and acceptance of potablereuse.Photo:Shahid Siddique, SXCPhoto: Teodora Vlaicu, SXCPhoto: Jean Scheijen, SXC“Our planet does not hold any enormous,unknown sources of fresh water.We have to live with what we have. Withgrowing populations and more unreliableprecipitation patterns, it is essential toincrease our reuse of water in the future,”says SIWI’s Executive Director TorgnyHolmgren, and adds: “CH2M has understoodthis. In working for public acceptanceof drinking treated wastewater, theyhave taken a step beyond engineering,and shown impressive commitment towise water management.”www.ch2m.com… while the Initiativeexpands to more countriesSTWI will expand to more countries in Asia andAfrica after the successful pilot project, SWAR,in India. Through the initiative, 28 Swedishtextile and leather companies have cooperatedwith SIWI to catalyse a shift towards sustainableproduction globally. To achieve this, the initiativehas educated suppliers and sub-contractorsto help minimize the use of water, energy andchemicals throughout the supply chain. Morethan 40 factories participated in the pilot, whichcontributed to saving 284 million litres of waterand 402 tonnes of chemicals annually.Inspired by the success, the initiative willexpand to include factories in Bangladesh,China, Ethiopia, India and Turkey. The SwedishInternational Development Cooperation Agency(Sida) will match the companies’ and factories’investments in better water management. SIWIwill continue the learning process with suppliersand sub-contractors in the new countries.The initiative also works with public authoritiesto increase institutional capacity to govern watersustainably.http://stwi.seWATERFRONT # 3 | august 20153


iefingReporting quintet headsto StockholmFive journalists have beenawarded the World WaterWeek Journalist Grant andwill travel to Stockholm toreport from 2015 World WaterWeek, themed Water for Development.The five are SeunAkioye from Nigeria, RhaydzBarcia from the Philippines,Rhamesh Bhushal from Nepal,Selay Marius Kouassi fromJournalistGrantCôte D’Ivoire, and Stella Paul from India. They faced toughcompetition from over a hundred qualified applicants, morethan double the number compared to 2014.Sharing their experiences from last year’s World Water Week,the 2014 grantees said their reporting on water issues hasbecome more insightful and in-depth: “It made me aware ofwhat is going on and how the world is coping with water issues.It gave me the insight to relate and compare the problemswe face in India with a global perception,” said Shiba Bose, a2014 grantee from India. Ugochi Anyaka, a grant winner fromNigeria, told WaterFront:“I got a better understanding of theissues around sustainability in the water sector. I now findit easier to identify stories that need to be told urgently, andmy passion for water coverage has increased with the clearerunderstanding of how important water is…” Amantha Pererafrom Sri Lanka said that “Now I look at water availability asnot a standalone topic, but something that is interlocked witha host of other connected fields.www.siwi.org/media/world-water-week-journalist-grantWater film released on World Environment DaySIWI has launched a film, One Water – ForSustainable Development, together with partnersUNDP, UN-Water, Knight Center for InternationalMedia and University of Miami School ofCommunication.“Water is a precondition for human existence,”says UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliassonin the film. Water is health, water is energy, wateris food, water is climate, and water is equality.2015 marks the 25th Jubilee of StockholmWater Prize. Hear from previous laureates RitaColwell, Sunita Narain and Tony Allan aboutwater’s centrality in sustainable development.Unilever partnerswith WWF to savetreesWWF and Unilever haveannounced a one-year, internationalpartnership to engageconsumers in the fightagainst deforestation – oneof the key drivers of climatechange – and help protect amillion trees. As part of thepartnership, Unilever andWWF will support forest protectionprogrammes in Braziland Indonesia. Consumersare invited to pledge theirsupport at https://brightfuture.unilever.com.Photo: Peter Hol, SXC9.2 %of China’s surfacewater is so pollutedthat it is dangerousfor human use.Source: China’s Ministry ofEnvironmental ProtectionVeolia to improveenergy efficiencyin Latin AmericaVeolia has announced anenergy alliance with EPM,a group of Colombian companiesproviding water andpower services to 20 millionpeople in Latin America. TheVeolia-EPM alliance will rollout energy efficiency projectswhich, it is planned,will reduce energy consumptionand greenhouse gasemissions, improve competitivenessand protect naturalresources.www.veolia.com/en/veolia-group/media/newsPhoto: iStockOur shared thirstTEXT | James Workman PHOTO | istockFor millennia, all water crises were local and isolated. Today’s crisis isinextricably linked by trade, gravity, and climate. But the real reason thirsthas become our shared predicament? Humanity.On 16 September 2011, New York hostedthe “International Water Forum atthe United Nations.”Neither date nor venue was chosenby chance. The “high-ranking” gatheringof “world leaders” coincided withthe opening session of the UN GeneralAssembly, to “take the first step towardorganizing a worldwide education andawareness campaign on the globalwater crisis.”It began predictably enough.Academics shared research. Sponsorsshowcased brands. Activists playedwrenching videos. Quasi-governmentalofficials intoned grim statistics.Attendees called for “urgent action”by “global decision-makers” who,presumably, made decisions outsidethat room.But then it took a detour.During the (water-intensive) lunch,discussions grew uncomfortable andanimated. The catalyst was a keynotespeaker who went off-key. “There is noglobal water crisis,” announced CharlesFishman, author of The Big Thirst.“All water problems are local.”COVER STORYHis blunt, blanket statementshocked some. But who could denyit? After all, water resources – rain,clouds, wetlands, rivers, aquifers,snow, mud, sewage – may trickle andmeander, seep and run off. But in itsnatural state water is rooted to place,along with those who depend on it.This ‘fugitive resource’ only reluctantlywanders away from the basins whereit falls.Yet if the all-problems-local thesisholds water, so to speak, it raisesthorny questions both high and low.4 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 20155


COVER STORYAt the 10,000 metre level,should leaders ignore water formore pressing transnationalconcerns? Can “water for all” beremoved from the SustainableDevelopment Goals, as it’s pointlessto “act global”? Might waterorganisations with “national,”“global,” “world,” or “international”in their name be disbanded,now that SIWI (and GWP, WWC,IWA, IWMI, WRG, IUCN, or GEFbrethren) faces a nemesis that’sillusory or imaginary?More intimately, what doesthis mean for the Egyptian streetvendor, Ahmed, who sold mecarrots off his wooden cart twoblocks from the Nile? Or theCambodian fisherman I met,whose harvest depends on thedemands of hydropower a thousandkilometres upstream onthe Mekong? Or those Fulaniwomen I watched striding acrossNigeria, seeking water fromdrought-struck Sahelian wellsand swamps that evaporatedunder unprecedented heat?Such questions deserve honestanswers, however painful, for thestakes keep growing. In recentyears, local water stress, regionalUpstream, downstream:who owns a transboundary river?“And now, beyond trade anddiplomacy, stir climate intoour already volatile “localwater” cocktail”droughts, and provincialresource (mis)management haveonly escalated, spread, accelerated,and combined into a forcefar bigger than any one isolatedcommunity can handle.The World Economic Forum’s900 leaders in politics, business,and civic life now rank watercrises (plural) as merging intothe world’s biggest risk (singular)and underlying driver of globalinstability. A few years after Ibought Ahmed’s carrots, Egyptand its neighbours ignited in anArab Spring, sparked by a streetvendor just like him.For development, the UN“recognises that water is theprerequisite” to achieve economic,equity, employment, health,educational, food, energy andecosystem goals. From meltingFrom Himalayan ridge to offshore coral reefs, sixty million lives depend on the4,500-km long Mekong River alone for survival, and three hundred million dependon the food and energy its basin generates each year. Who decides how much ofthe flow goes for which reasons, and why?Himalayan glacier source to theirmouths in the South China Sea,river flows can make or break afifth of humanity.Even in military, nationalsecurity, and foreign policycircles, water turns out to be across-cutting “threat multiplier,”inextricable from geopoliticaltrade pacts, diplomacy, climateforcing, or humanitarian crises.Whether Boko Haram in theSahel or ISIS in the Middle East,it is perhaps no coincidence thatterror thrives most where moisturecomes least.It appears thirst has goneglobal. The question is, Why?The first complication of“local water” is the oldest: commerce.Wet stuff is a slave togravity, but the wealth it createsis liberated by trade. Tony Allanfirst demonstrated in 1997 howproducts embedded with “virtualwater” freely migrate acrossborders, travelling fast, frequent,and far by air, sea, or land.The concept showed how leadersof any relatively arid country,say Mexico, Italy or Kuwait,could meet the needs of theircitizens through imports of food,clothing and other water-intensivegoods that were produced indamp regions half a world away.“More water ‘flows’ into the MiddleEast embedded in grain eachyear,” he noted, “than down theNile into Egypt for agriculture.”Crunching numbers, ArjenHoekstra discovered how to“link the water footprint of productionto the water footprintof consumption” worldwide, “tomap out the dependencies andto identify when and where risksmay lie, in terms of scarcity andpollution.”Trade policy can improvefood security through efficiency.Hoekstra found that, globally,virtual water trade saves participatingnations 370 billion cubicmetres. Yet there is a dark side: itmay also undermine progress onthe ground. How? Global virtualflows relieve external pressurefor local governance reforms.So Mexico saves 12 billion cubicmetres of its precious waterby importing maize, but losesfar more than that subsidizingwaste, leaks or misallocation.Much as well-intentionedfriends prop up substance abusers,observed Allan, virtual trade“enables politicians to treat wateras a low policy priority, delayinnovation, and thereby pleasethose who perceive that they areprospering under the old order.”If local water crises grow dissoluteor dissipated, global tradeonly fuels their addiction.A second threat to localism isgeography. In the late 19th Century,diplomats midwifed newnations bordered by rivers. Fromthe Rhine to the Rio Grande, theKunene to the Kaladan, a riverwas simply a natural moat todeter hunger for land.Today’s potential invadersthirst for water, ushering indiplomacy’s hydraulic age. Mercifully,an exhaustive study byAaron Wolf at the Universityof Oregon mapped the extraordinarygrowth of accords andtreaties that define exactly whocontrols or has access to howmuch of which currents for whatpurposes. His good news: evenhostile neighbours – India v.Pakistan, or Jordan v. Israel –peacefully resolved conflicts overshared waters.The messier news: thoseconflicts tend to originate locally– disputes between rivalneighbours, farmers, irrigationdistricts, businesses, or villages– and escalate upward into acomplex spider web of treaties.A rise in local population, pollution,and prosperity may stressgeopolitical tensions.Complicating life for hydrodiplomatsis how affluent governmentsof dry, crowded countriesare rushing to secure fertile andwell-watered land of others, inwhat some call neo-colonialism,or land-and-water grabs.The most troubling waterquests occur within singlebasins. Each bucket diverted,pumped, fouled or withdrawnupstream amplifies stress amongdownstream rivals. Regions seekingto use or store headwaters– in Nepal, Tibet, China, Switzerland,Ethiopia, Uganda, Bolivia,Ecuador, Alberta, Lesotho – face“Affluent governments of dry, crowdedcountries are rushing to secure fertileand well-watered land of others”riparian pressure not to.One need not believe in ‘waterwars’ to wonder how – in 263transboundary rivers, aquifers,and lakes covering half theworld, growing its food, sustaining40 per cent of humanity– “allwater problems are local.”And now, beyond trade anddiplomacy, stir climate into ouralready volatile “local water”cocktail.Climatologists say the mostpotent “forcing” gas is watervapour. Rising heat drives localevaporation down here, whichboosts global accumulation upthere in the atmosphere, whichmagnifies the greenhouse effect,in a vicious feedback loop thattakes on a life of its own.Five years ago, Mark Smith,head of IUCN’s water programme,observed: “When wetalk about climate mitigation,it’s all about energy and carbon;but when we talk about climateadaption,” i.e. heat waves,melting snowpack, protracteddroughts, increased wildfires,lowered reservoirs, rising sea levels,sinking aquifers, flash floods,desiccating soils, “we really meanwater.”Yet the water-energy nexuscomplicates both sides. Everylocal allocation – for mining,farming, energy, manufacturing,transportation, or ecosystemservices – has a water and carbonconsequence. Even “clean”hydropower can prove dirty, saidPhilip Fearnside as tropical “reservoirsbecome virtual methanefactories, with the rise and fallof the water level alternatelyflooding and submerging largeareas of land around the shore.”Local water for hydraulic ‘fracking’may yield gas with a lowercarbon footprint, but still leakmethane at levels that destabilizethe atmosphere.Subsidizing local water forbiofuels impacts global hungerby removing grain from distantmarkets. “A thousand litres couldgrow enough calories to feed oneperson per day,” said Nestle’schair, Peter Brabek-Letmathe, “orfuel the drive to your local bakeryto buy croissants.”What to do? Happily, savingone nexus resource saves others.As billions of municipal, residential,agricultural and industrialusers reduce demand for water;they avoid the energy and greenhousegases burned to lift,6 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 20157


COVER STORYANALYSISmove, clean, heat, and treatit. If we embrace smart politicalreforms, local water adaptationscould increase global climatemitigation.And if we don’t?When the Arab Springseemed to erupt out of nowhere,analysts pored over recent events– like forensic pathologists aftera crime – to piece together motives.It would be naïve and dangerousto single out a single cause,like drought, or water. Mostblame rigid regimes for oppressiveconditions. Then there is thedemographic bulge in restless,hungry, unemployed young menand women. Some credit Twitterand social media. Others sayreligious leaders played key roles.But one compelling graphicaligns the global food index withlocal outbreaks.Correlation is not causation,and global scarcity is far fromdeterministic. “The food pricespikescertainly contributed towhat happened on the streets in2011,” cautions Tony Allan, but“they merely helped – along withother frictions – to expose thedissatisfaction of the Arab streetwith the authoritarian mode ofgovernment.”Debate is healthy, with millionsof hungry and thirsty livesat stake. Yet it is also fair to concludethat geopolitical stresses –virtual water trade, transnationalscarcity, climate forcing – bindglobal dryness to local instabilityin ways that export terror andspill refugees across borders.“The Arab awakening was drivennot only by political and economicstresses, but, less visibly,by environmental, populationand climate stresses as well,”concluded foreign affairs writerThomas Friedman. “If we focusonly on the former and not thelatter, we will never be able tohelp stabilize these societies.”Global warningWater is the medium throughwhich climate change manifestsitself: drought, flood,reduced runoff, higher evaporationrates, lower subsistencecrop output. Violence hasmany underlying drivers, fromtribal hatred to resource scarcity.But national security analystsand military intelligenceresearchers are trackingclimate models to anticipatein advance where geopoliticalhot spots may emerge andhow tensions will escalate dueto the spread of aridity. BokoHaram offers one possibleindicator or consequence ofthirst-driven geopolitical instability;the genocide in Darfuroffers another; ISIS a third.At root, the latter focus animates“global” efforts: to democratizewater into a secure, equitable,safe, and durable force forall.It is far too easy, ensconcedin a secure city like New York,to shrug “every water problem islocal.”But local decisions have a wayof reaching out to us throughripple effects…and vice versa.European farmers, Chinesemanufacturers, or U.S. motoristshave a real bearing – good orbad, slight or substantial – onvendors like Ahmed, fishermenof the Mekong, women of theSahel. Our choices limit theiroptions; opportunity for us shiftsthe burden of thirst upon them,elevating risks for us all.Some claim isolated waterinnovations or reforms can scalefar, fair, fast, and frequently.That is open to debate. The conveyanceof ideas or technologyto where they are most in needrarely occurs on its own, in a vacuum.Trade hits barriers. Powerconcentrates in urban zones.Virtual water flows toward capital.Climate change falls heavieston the poor.Water decisions involve painfulhuman trade-offs. It meanssetting priorities about equity,value, gender, poverty, hunger,disease, energy, efficiency, andrights. These issues transcendlocal dynamics of people, place,demographics or time, to becomeuniversal.They are, at root, what makeus human.Only in our humanity can weask about the fate of Ahmed, orthat fisherman, or those womenstriding across the Sahel, andrediscover, like John Donne, thatno thirsty person “is an island,entire of itself; each is a pieceof the continent, a part of themain”; any local waste, loss, orabuse of fresh water anywherediminishes us all globally, for we,too, are “involved in mankind.”So when sipping your coffeeand reading news of a thirst-drivenconflict in a foreign land, asknot for whom their well dries. Itdries for thee.James Workman, an authorityon natural resource conservationmarkets, is author of theaward-winning Heart of Dryness:How the last Bushmen can helpus endure the coming age of permanentdrought, and founder ofAquaJust, an online utility-basedplatform that lets families andfirms trade the water they save.Workman lives and works inSan Francisco.slowing down, cleaning upchina seeks a new normalTEXT | Josh Weinberg and Frank Zhang PHOTO | istock and Frank ZhangChina faces a mighty challenge as it transitions to its “new normal”economy: cleaning up its waters. With a new action plan, the governmentis putting forth ambitious reforms and billions of dollars tomake better water a top priority.China’s water challenges are well documented butnot overstated. With one-fifth of the global population,it holds only seven per cent of available waterresources. The current projection from the governmentis for the economy to grow by five per centevery year over the next 15 years, while only usingfive per cent more water than it does today in total.Yet, the availability of water may not even be thegreatest challenge. Restoring and cleaning water sothat it is fit for use is priority number one. Almost 10per cent of the surface water is worse than “grade 5”– defined by the government as water that has“lost all of its functions”.Even amid strong government rhetoric to declare“war on pollution” and promote an “ecological civilization,”as well as the promulgation of a numberof national policies andsubstantial investmentin environmental technologyand remediation,public pressure to improveenvironmentalprotection has grown onall fronts. Early in 2015,the documentary Underthe Dome reported on the cause and scope of thecurrent crisis in air pollution. It was watched by 150million people in the first three days after its release.It was one of the most recent catalysts sparkingenormous public demand on the governmentfor swifter action, and led to an unprecedented levelof concern for the environment. China is pursuinga “new normal” that entails less rapid but moresustainable growth; a restructuring of the economyfocused on green and circular production.In April 2015, the State Council of China releasedthe “Action Plan for Water Pollution Prevention andControl,” which will strengthen regulatory measuresto improve its water environment with specifictargets set over the next 15 years. Coined the ‘WaterTen’, the plan sets out ten general measures, whichare broken down to 38 sub-measures with deadlinesfor responsible government departments identifiedfor each action. Broadly, it outlines over 240 actionsunder these measures that aim to control pollutiondischarge, stimulate economic and industrial transformation,promote environmental research, developmentand technology; strengthen management,regulation and legal enforcement; and improve inter-governmentalcoordination and accountability.There are several reasons for optimism that the‘Water Ten’ will make real change. It puts the focuson the most urgent issues with direct impacts onpeople’s daily livelihood, such as drinking watersafety and black and odorous water in urban areas,and improving coordination and compliance betweenministries as well as national, provincial andlocal authorities.In addition, the“Almost 10 per cent ofChina’s surface water isdangerous for human use”development ofthe ‘Water Ten’has involved coordinatedinputsand consultationwith a dozen differentministries,and each action outlines specifically which governmentbodies will be lead and co-responsible forimplementation. More importantly, for each action,plans to meet specific targets will be developed atthe provincial and local levels throughout the country.All provincial and municipal governments willbe forced to sign an official document that clarifiesthe goals and deadlines for their local action planand their results will be published and used for theirperformance evaluation. Reforms set out to8 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 20159


ANALYSISOPINIONThe ‘Water 10’: Goals and Targetsat a glanceBy 2020, water environment quality will be periodicallyimproved and by 2030 water eco-system functions will bepreliminarily recovered. By mid-century, overall ecologicalenvironment quality will be improved. Key interim targetsinclude:Blind spots delay sub-Saharanstruggle for water securityBY 2020BY 2030make local governments more powerful andaccountable. Environmental protection bureauswill be empowered to implement a “yellow and redcards” system, to restrict or stop production and putrepeat offenders out of services. Environmental datawill also be made available to the public, and reportswill highlight the best and worst performing citiesand the worst polluting industries. In terms of investment,more than four trillion RMB (650 billionUSD) will be needed from different sources in orderto stimulate progress towards achieving the targets.Such substantial investments, in combination withgrowing efforts to reduce barriers for private andforeign investments, will boost the environmentaltechnology sector, a new engine and pillar industryin the Chinese economy. This process bodes well forimproving the integrated and effective managementof resources – there is much more stick, more carrotand more clarity on how to avoid the former andreceive the latter.There is criticism of the plan as well. With aimsto establish realistic and achievable targets, it isvalid to wonder whether the plan goes far and fastenough. Good ecological status remains decadesaway for much of the countries most utilized watersources, and some targets are either on par or onlyslight improvements on the situation today. However,the plan does well to aim at the lowest-• 70% of water in the seven key basins reach grade three orbetter.• 70% of coastal water reach grade two or better• ‘Black Smelly Water’ in urban areas does not exceed 10%• Over 93% of all the centralized drinking water resourcesreaches grade three or better• 75% of water in the seven key basins reach grade three orbetter.• ‘Black Smelly Water’ in urban areas is eliminated.• Over 95% of all the centralized drinking water resourcesreaches grade three or better• Overall quality of water ecological environment improvedhanging fruit first and requires credible plans forimplementation and oversight at all levels. It keysin on priority problems and sets to establish amore effective regulatory environment to ensurepolicies are implemented and results can bebetter monitored.As the economy develops and ecological constraintsgrow tighter, China must accelerate thetransition to a more knowledge-based, service-orientedeconomy and modernize industrial and agriculturalproduction with a minimal environmentalfootprint. A “new normal” focused on improvedenvironmental regulation, and stable but slowedeconomic growth is a wise path amid the real ecologicalconstraints China faces. The ‘Water 10’ is animportant step on this road.This experience will have a great impact, not onlyfor the more than 1.3 billion people who live withand depend on China’s watersheds. Water treatmenttechnology providers can also expect a robust marketfor their products and services. For those investedin companies with production in China, thenew normal will mean they need to get cleaner andgreener, or get going. Those invested in agriculturaland industrial production will need to take action inone direction or the other, and expect ramificationsin the global markets.TEXT | Malin Falkenmark PHOTO | istockIn semi-arid Africa, elimination of poverty and hunger is largely aquestion of wisely navigating in a dry landscape. The golden rule ofthe African green revolution will be to catch the rainwater beforeit evaporates, writes Malin Falkenmark in this opinion.Water-blinding effect of Desertification convention| Since the start of UNESCO’s Arid Zoneprogramme in 1951, much interest has been paidto water in arid lands. The droughts of the 1970’sand 80’s, with its severe African famines, lead up tothe UN Desertification Convention in 1994. Morerecently, development of a Dryland Developmentparadigm has started, linking ecosystem managementwith human livelihoods. In the water sector,an odd side-effect of the attention to drought anddrought-risk has been that more attention has infact been paid to the ABSENCE of water in termsof drought-related damages, rather than to thePRESENCE of water in drought-ridden regions andthe benefits that it could produce to support socioeconomicdevelopment.Still today, poverty, hunger and continuing populationgrowth characterize a large group of lowincomecountries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.These are countries characterized by what Grey &Sadoff in their classical paper “Sink or swim?” (2007)identified as “hostages” of a difficult hydrology, notingthat intermediate economies have tended to remain“hampered” by hydrological complexity but developedeconomies have been able to “harness” theirhydrological particularities.What makes Africa different? | The difficultwater situation in the low-income sub-Saharan countriesis characterized by a mainly semi-arid climate,very high evaporative demand, limited runoff and alarge rain variability – within years as well as betweenyears, increasing with climate change. In this region,the hot climate makes most of the rain evaporate.A great number of these countries have not succeededin navigating between water in its two opposite functions:water as a source of production, and water asa source of destruction. They have not been able tode-link their economies from the shortage and largevariability of available water.Today, the fine-grained geographical analysis byVörösmarty et al (2005) has contributed to a largescalequantitative overview of the water predicamentof Africa. 82 per cent of the land is arid, hosting 75per cent of the Africans. River water, originating fromrain over sparse water towers, passes through theselandscapes in a network of long river corridors, wherethe upstream parts of the rivers tend to be ephemeral,carrying water only during the rainy season.Locally, dry areas can have access to abundant watergenerated upstream, but 40 per cent of the populationlive where runoff is less than 100 mm/yr. and 60 percent where it is less than 300 mm. The vast majorityof Africans rely on locally generated runoff in smallstreams or on local groundwater. Overall, 30 per cent ofpeople in Africa are exposed to both limited runoffand high inter-annual rain variability, i.e. droughtrisk. In view of the widespread scarcity of reliable riverwater, most agriculture is rainfed – only six per cent isirrigated. The situation is made even more precariousby the combination of extreme population growth, andvulnerability to droughts. Already in some 35 years,the dryland population may have grown to one billion.Towards larger global water wisdom | A betterunderstanding of the essential characteristics of theAfrican water resources predicament, that makewater security challenges different from moredeveloped regions of the world will be importantas international cooperation and endeavours nowincrease with the ambition to eliminate povertyand hunger and develop Sustainable DevelopmentGoals. Influential international expertise will have toget out of the past water blindness (Nature 19 March2015).10 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201511


OPINIONMake use of the rainwater beforeit evaporates | The experience of themore developed countries with catchment-basedhydrology has not been applicableenough in the sub-Saharan situationbecause of fundamental differencesin their hydro-climate. An arid climatedominates large parts of the continent,and the hot climate makes most of therain evaporate. The part of the rain thatfalls over humid mountain areas (“watertowers”), forms runoff, which gathers inlong river corridors carrying the waterto distant areas downstream. The rainfalling over flatter savannah lands tendsto evaporate. Making use of that wateris a question of catching the rain beforeit evaporates, which can be made in twomain ways: harvesting the rain in smalldams for local use, or harvesting it in thesoil through conservation agriculture.This will have to be the key to social-economicdevelopment in large partsof sub-Saharan Africa. It will constitutea fundamental difference compared toAsia where agricultural developmenthas been a question of irrigation, basedon river flow originating from the Himalayasand other mountain ridges andgroundwater from rich underground resources.Away from the river corridors,Africa’s agricultural revolution will haveto be based on rain-fed agriculture, upgradedby rainwater harvesting in localtanks and supplementary irrigation.In a recent assessment, IFPRI (2010)has estimated the water storage potentialas a base for increased agriculturaldevelopment: on the one hand irrigatedagriculture from river corridor dams byan add-on function to hydropower, onthe other hand away from the river corridorsas local rainwater harvesting forsupplementary irrigation in smallholderfarming.Malin Falkenmark, is a Senior ScientificAdvisor at SIWI. She has contributedto the 2015 World Water Week report“Water for Development – Charting aWater Wise Path”.VerticalINHorizontalA Catchment:rain in – flow outC River corridor:flow in – flow outHorizontalOUTB Savanna:rain in – vapour outD Closed lakes, deltas:flow in – vapour outVerticalFigure 1 illustrates four contrastingsituations in terms of water inputs toand water outputs from a particulararea in a landscape. Water may reachthe area as rain or as inflow, and it mayleave the area as vertical vapor flow oras horizontal outflow. This means thatactivities aimed at achieving water securitywill be very different. They willdiffer between situations when theseflows are vertical, involving rainwaterinput and vapour output, as opposedto situations when they are horizontal,involving river inflow and riveroutflow.The vertical outflow dominance(case B) is typical for hot arid regionssuch as the vast savannah lands insub-Saharan Africa, while the horizontaloutflow situations (case A) characterizemost of the developed regionsof the world, Australia being an importantexception. Up till now, mostwater security discussions have hadtheir focus on the upper left, i.e. catchmentsituations (A). The challengesmeeting the sub-Saharan savannahlands, expecting a population of onebillion already in 35 years from now,are represented by the upper-righthandsituation (B). The lower-left-handsituation (C) is representative for thespecial case of the river corridors likethe Nile and the Niger, and the lowerright (D) to the situation of closedlakes and deltas, like the Aral Sea inAsia and the Okavango delta in Africa.Figure 1. Four contrasting water balancesituations in landscapes, characterized bydifferent combinations of horizontal as opposedto vertical water inflows and outflows.(Based on Weiskel et al 2014)12 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201513


Water heroesIn the following pages, you will meet people from all parts of the world, with verydifferent backgrounds and professions. The one thing that unites them is theirpassion and their dedication to building a better, water-wise world, in any way theycan. They have inspired us, and many others. Meet our water heroes!02 MALIN FALKENMARKBy Cecilia Bäcklander04 MATT DAMONBy Görrel Espelund06 ZERIHUN NEGUSEBy Cecilia Bäcklander07 ALISON BICKBy Sanna Gustafsson09 MA JUNBy Josh Weinberg10 PETER MORGANBy Andreas Karlsson13 SUNITA NARAINBy Sanna Gustafsson14 ECO PEACEBy Görrel Espelund16 JAN ELIASSONBy Görrel Espelund18 RENÉE ANDERSSONBy Cecilia Bäcklanderwiththe world’sbestwater ideasPhoto: Andreas KarlssonPhotos: Mikael Ullén Photo: Thomas HenriksonMALIN FALKENMARK:THE TRAILBLAZERNo one believes in a woman alone, proclaims Malin Falkenmark when we havetalked for an hour. But she is wrong.She has been listened to more thanmost people, men and women. At almost90 years of age, Professor Falkenmarkis still active. There is so muchto do.Malin Falkenmark resembles morean activist than an introvert scientist.She is a stately 184 centimetres tall,upright and razor sharp. During mostof her life, she has been the only womanin a male-dominated scientific community.But she has not felt discriminatedagainst, or she has refused to see prejudiceagainst her if it existed. The onlytime she was openly questioned becauseof her gender was when the janitor atthe Swedish Meteorological and HydrologicalInstitute (SMHI), where she hadher first job dedicated to what wouldbecome her life’s mission, did not wantto give her the keys to the office becauseshe was a woman.Malin Falkenmark’s battle cry is thatwe should focus on the available water.It makes no sense to focus only on theproblems of the water scarcity thataffects many parts of the world.We meet in Malin’s beautiful apartmentat Karlaplan in Stockholm. It isfilled with papers and books, revealinga constant activity. A few weeks earlier,she wrote an article in the journalNature together with Johan Rockström.They propagate that the use ofrainwater through what is called waterharvesting, must increase in Africa tosecure agricultural production and foodsupply. The opposite would be a historicmistake.Malin Falkenmark realized early onthat it is important to develop conceptsand create images to make science understandable.She coined the term greenwater. It was a brilliant term, an educationalstroke of genius, which madeit easier to understand the role variousforms of water have in the Earth’ssupply. The green water is what is in theroot zone below the surface, water thatthe rain brought and which makes ourfood grow. But it is often invisible. Theblue water we can see easily, it flows inrivers and is collected in ponds or availableas groundwater deep below us. Themore we can utilize the green water, theless we need to squander the blue.Water is perhaps the only movingnatural resource, says Malin Falkenmark.The ore lies still, but water moves.It is important to understand how wateravailability varies over time and whatthe trends are. In the past, water wasan engineering issue. What matteredwas to convey it and to take it out of theground. Now we understand to treat itas a natural resource. If you cut downthe trees in Brazil’s rainforests it rainsless in Argentina because evaporation isWATER HEROESreduced and thus the wind-borne watervapour that generates rain. Water doesnot care about national boundaries.Therefore, there must be agreementon how water should be used. Onepromising example is the partnershipof the Nile. Battle for the Nile’s water isdisturbing and acute, yet classic. Entirecivilizations were created around theNile delta. Now the countries upstreamin Africa also want to take advantage ofthe water for its energy supply. Underthe leadership of the World Bank, theywork together to regulate the use – anecessity to avoid devastating conflicts.Right now, Malin Falkenmark focuseson Africa. The water is Africa’s Achillesheel, she says. In Asia, there was thegreen revolution through irrigation.It will not work in Africa; there is notenough water. The solution is to collectrainwater and store it, to be used overtime. Greenhouses, which reduce evaporation,must be built on a large scale.The limited blue water available inrivers and ponds will be spent on energyproduction, the household need forwater and sanitation and on the growingcities. Meanwhile, food productionhas to increase to match the populationgrowth. Radical solutions are required.The Chinese have ancient traditionsof collecting water and in China, theefforts to bridge dry periods are nowmassive. Millions and millions of peopleengage in collecting water. In Africa,there is not the same tradition, but newtechnologies are being introduced touse the green water as productively aspossible – by collecting the rainwater,improving infiltration into the ground,terracing and the creation of reservoirs.However, it is a race against time. InMalin Falkenmark´s view, populationgrowth, – especially in Africa – is a biggerproblem than climate change. Butthe two trends work together and theprocess is accelerating. The popula-14 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201515


tion of sub-Saharan Africa is projectedto double by 2050. In arid zonesmore water is evaporating than whatfalls from the sky as rain, with globalwarming aggravating the situation.Those who previously denied climatechange are silent now. Why? Whatdrove them, I wonder. It was probablythe result of several dry years and flooddisasters that affected economic interestsand made them admit there wereproblems, Malin Falkenmark says.Malin Falkenmark is not only themother of the green water (and threechildren) but have also had an indexnamed after her – the Falkenmarkindex. It involves measuring “watercrowding”, how many people use aparticular source of water, a kind ofwater stress measurement. Now she is adogged advocate for the world tobetter understand how the Earth’swater resources should be protectedand utilized to eradicate hunger andpoverty and promote development.The alternatives if we do not use waterwisely are dismaying. That is whatspurs Malin Falkenmark.The pace is too slow, she says.WATER HEROESPhoto: iStockMATT DAMON: THE STARPhoto: iStockUsing his celebrity and sense of humour, Matt Damon wants to put the limelighton water issues.His commitment goes much furtherthan simply lending his name to a goodcause. Six years ago, together withwater expert Garry White, he foundedWater.org.It has become increasingly commonfor actors and sport stars to use theirfame to highlight an issue, becomegoodwill ambassadors, or take part ina charity. But few have gone to as muchdepth as American actor Matt Damonhas with water issues.Matt Damon has been travellingaround the globe for many years to getfirst-hand insight into the effects thatpolluted and untreated water have onpeople’s lives. He has learnt about microfinancestrategies, studied reportsfrom the field, and consistently emphasizesthe importance of visiting thepeople he wants to help.“If you want to understand how thisworks, there is no substitute for goingthere and talking to people in theirhomes,” he said in an interview withFast Company.This is an approach he learnt fromhis mother, a professor of early childhoodeducation, who – accompaniedby her teenage son – went to countriessuch as Mexico, Guatemala and ElSalvador for her studies in non-violentconflict resolution.So development issues were nothingnew to Matt Damon when he travelledto Zambia in 2006 with U2-singerBono’s ONE campaign. The aim of thetrip was to study issues of extremepoverty, including HIV/Aids, microfinance,education – and water.In many interviews after the journey,Matt Damon told the story of how a14-year-old girl in rural Zambia taughthim the real importance of clean andaccessible water.Upon his return he wanted to dosomething so, together with colleaguesin the film industry, he founded anorganization named H2O Africa.The reasons he chose to work on waterand sanitation was both the enormityof the problem and the availability ofsolutions. “It made me feel there wasa real chance to bring attention to itand to actually have a big impact,” heexplained.H2O Africa was a charity organization,but after a few years Matt Damonrealized that there would never beenough charity to solve the problem.So he went into partnership with waterexpert Gary White, co-founder ofWater Partners, and the two organizations,H2O Africa and Water Partners,merged into a new non-profit organization:Water.org.One of Water.org’s most successfulprogrammes is Water Credits, a microfinancetool that gives individual familiesthe chance to install a toilet andget their homes connected to the pipedwater system.The idea took off in India wherewater infrastructure already exists inmany of the slum areas, but familiescannot afford to connect to it. Instead,they have to fetch water from communaltaps.The idea behind Water Credits isthat if a family gets a microloan for awater connection, often for less thanUSD 100, they will not have to queuefor water any longer. The loan can bepaid off in full in a reasonably shorttime as running water in their homesmeans that the women (the majorityof the beneficiaries are women) canspend more time on income-generatingactivities.The programme has proven a success,and many microfinance institutionshave moved into the new marketof financing clean water. As of January2015, some 500 000 Water Creditloans had been made and 2.1 millionpeople had directly benefited from thescheme.“When enough people startto take action, things aregoing to move really fast”Matt Damon is convinced that thisis the kind of initiative that will helpsolve the world’s water crisis. He believesthat no matter how many wellsare being drilled by charity organizations,there will never be enough.Another problem with drilling wells ismaintaining them afterwards.However, Water.org has not given upon drilling wells, but they focus onforging partnership with local organizationsthat understand local conditions.Another important step towardsmaking the well sustainable is forminglocal water committees that are trainedin maintenance and finance management.Village-wide education on goodhygiene practices is also undertakenbefore installing a new well in a village.And finally, to prevent peoplefrom overusing theresources, a frequentcause of pump failures,villagers have topay a usage fee.After completion,Water.org visitsthe well site over afive-year period tomonitor its use, productionand condition, and the impactof safe water on the community.The vision of Water.org is clean waterand sanitation for everyone in our lifetime.Matt Damon thinks it is possible:“People are starting to becomeaware of the water crisis and morepeople are getting engaged. And whenenough people start to take action,things are going to move really fast.”Photo: iStock16 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201517


WATER HEROESPhoto: Abey MezgebuZERIHUN NEGUSE:THE EVERYDAY HEROIn Africa, men do not carry water. Why is it so? The answer is always: It is ourtradition. A brave village chairman in Ethiopia’s western Oromia region haschallenged this tradition.Think of all the pictures you have seenof water carrying. They always portraywomen. You may occasionally catcha glimpse of a little boy. Otherwise,only women – from thin little girls tomothers with small children and pregnantbellies to ladies bent with age, allcarrying yellow plastic cans, red-brownclay pots or grey tin buckets on thehead, the back or the hip.You will see a daily exodus from thehouse to the well and back again.“If husband and wife sharethe burdens, their love will bestrengthened”More boreholes, water pipes, lorries,and concentration of housing aroundwater sources – all this would liberatea lot of female power. But those arelong-term solutions. Meanwhile, thechildren in rural areas will continue todrink water lugged in the original way.But in the Ethiopian village Dembeliwith 1200 families the men nowhelp to carry water. It all began when ateam of nutrition experts worried thatthe hard-working women did not receiveadequate nutrition for themselvesand the children they gave birth to.The team asked the women what wastheir most onerous task.Almost all the women gave the sameanswer – the worst is bringing thewater every day. There are two coveredwells outside the village, at about fourkilometres distance for most households.The toil can take three hoursa day. There is no money to drill newwells. No one owns a car in the villagewhere all are farmers. And the donkeyshave other tasks.The team challenged the men inthe village: did they want to help thewomen and at the same time be renownedthroughout Ethiopia, perhapsthe whole of Africa?Would theyconsider relievingthe women ofsome of the watercarrying? Thereaction was veryhesitant. Menhave their ownduties. There is an immense respect forwhat is perceived as cultural traditionsand the women had always fetched thewater as part of the household chores.But finally the village chairman,35-year-old Zerihun Neguse steppedforward. He is a farmer, like all the villagers,and elected to the post. Zerihunis youngish but with authority, he wentto school a little longer than most ofhis neighbours. He gathered 200 menand told them that they would begin toparticipate in water carrying the nextday.Ethiopia is thoroughly organized.There is a national, a regional, and a localstructure where everyone is included.The structure is used to organizecommunity work, to keep track of landrights, to assist vulnerable familiesbut also to control and mobilize thepopulation. The decisions of a villagechairperson are important. But he orshe also takes a risk. It is difficult to goagainst tradition without a decree fromabove.Zerihun’s own family is quite ordinary– he is married and has four childrenbetween one and ten years of age.Two are girls. Zerihun calculates thathis household needs up to 60 litres ofwater per day for drinking, cookingand washing. That means 60 kg carriedon his wife’s back. The girls startto fetch water when they are aroundten years old, so his daughters are tooyoung. The family has just over twohectares of land, which is more thanthe average Ethiopian farmer has. Likeeveryone else in the village, they cultivatethe traditional Ethiopian crop teff,wheat, sorghum and vegetables likepotatoes and pumpkin. The fields areploughed with oxen and there are noagricultural machines. Everyone workshard. Small boys are sent out to guardthe cattle while the girls bring water.Zerihun wants his daughters to goto school and have the same opportunitiesas men. Previously the familieswanted the girls to stay at home to helpin the household. Nowadays Ethiopiahas compulsory and free education andeventually the parents have begun tothink that girls’ education is as importantas boys’. But water fetching andother household chores make themmiss school sometimes.When Zerihun explains why it isgood that the men are involved infetching the water, he emphasizes thecohesion of the family:s “If husbandPhoto: Jason Cooper, Mashableand wife share the burdens, the lovewill be strengthened, the family becomeshealthier and better off, and thiswill spread to the community aroundthem.” He also believes that most menwere not aware how very heavy thewater carrying is for the women.It is difficult to change ingrainedhabits, especially if it requires hoursof new efforts. Now the men’s participationin carrying the water has beengoing on for almost a year. It is courageousand unique.ALISON BICK:THE PROBLEM SOLVERAlison Bick is no ordinary 21-year-old. How many of her contemporaries havebeen granted a patent? Offered to join a project with the World Bank? Embarkedon their PhD studies? And in the unlikely event that Alison would have time tospare, she rebuilds vintage motorcycles.It all started with a storm. A massivestorm that hit Alison’s hometown ShortHills, New Jersey in 2007. There weretalks on the radio that the storm hadpotentially contaminated the pipedwater to the households. It got Alisonthinking about how to develop a quickand easy way to test that the water athome was safe to use.“I have always been curious aboutscience. Ever since I learned how toread, I flicked through the New YorkTimes to find the science section. Butit was not until something personalhappened that my passion awakened forIn the Ethiopian village of Dembeli, the inhabitants have defied tradition.The men have decided to help the women carry water.real. That was the moment I realized Icould make a difference myself.”When the storm hit, Alison wasabout to start her first year of highschool, contemplating which topic tochoose for a science research class shewas due to take the following year. Thecomplexity of the contaminated waterfascinated her, so Alison started herresearch right away.“I thought that if I start investigatingthis immediately, the project willbecome so much better when the classactually starts.”Said and done, Alison ploughedFoto: Berhanu Admassu Abegazthrough all research on testing waterquality she could find. In one article,she learnt that by exposing water tocertain types of light, particles normallyimperceptible to the human eye couldbe revealed. The discovery boggledAlison’s mind.“My brain was working at full speed,trying to figure out how to simplify thistechnique so that it could be more accessible.”And the class, which originally onlylasted for two years, turned into fourintensive lab years. She started out byphotographing water and analysing iton a computer. She tested, tested again,tested a third time and eventuallyreached a result.“I realized that I had to think mobileto develop a device that could reachpeople in the field. So I asked myself,Foto: Abinet Tarekega18 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201519


WATER HEROES‘why not use a phone instead ofa camera and a computer?’ During theprocess, the invention more or lesstransformed from a shoe box to a completeapplication for smart phones.”The long and intense days Alisonspent in the lab and in the field demonstratea devotion to problem solving.“I love seeing an idea develop from anembryo to a concrete product. So it isprobably the process in itself that fascinatesme the most.”Alison says that her passion forthe scientific process was awakenedthrough female role models, and particularlya certain Marie Curie – chemist,physicist, two-fold winner of theNobel Prize and the first female NobelPrize recipient.It does not seem to be a coincidencethat Marie Curie once said that “a scientistin his laboratory is not a mere technician:he is also a child confrontingnatural phenomena that impress him asthough they were fairy tales.”The dedication to problem solvingmanifests itself in other parts of Alison’slife, too. When she is not busy studying,working in the lab, or mentoringyounger students at the university, sherebuilds vintage motorcycles.”In a sense, it is something completelydifferent, a sanctuary I escapeto when I want to get a break from myresearch. But on the other hand, thelogic is the same. You identify a problem– maybe the clutch is broken – andyou disassemble the whole motorcycleto find the solution. It is so rewarding!”The lab years opened doors Alisoncould never have imagined. In 2011, shewon the Stockholm Junior Water Prizeand her invention got a global upswing.“The competition was rewardingin so many ways. Not only was I giventhe opportunity to discuss water issueswith likeminded students from everycorner of the globe, but the attentionthe contest gave the app also generatedgreat interest among scientists, companiesand organizations.”One of the organizations that approachedAlison about her inventionwas the World Bank. Together withthem, Alison has applied for a grant toimplement the app in one of the bank’sprojects in Nigeria – a country situatedon a continent where more people haveaccess to mobile phones than to cleanwater. Close to 358 million people inAfrica are still lacking access to cleanand safe drinking water.“Introducing the app in Nigeriawould be exciting. Hopefully it couldcontribute to helping the citizens, but itwould also mean a lot for the developmentof the app itself.”Alison’s career has rushed by and shedoes not plan to slow down. Fresh outof her Bachelor of Science’s degree inChemical Engineering, she has just embarkedon PhD studies at the StanfordUniversity in California – a universityconstantly at the top of global rankings.California, the most populous statein the US, is suffering the worst droughtin living memory. The drought hascaused great damage to the state’s economy;cities are rationing water, inhabitantsare losing their jobs and foodprices are increasing drastically.The proximity to the drought andits severe consequences has made Alisoneven more convinced to continueresearch on her app, and she enthusiasticallyrecounts that Stanford’s laboratorieshave the equipment she needs todo just that.“I want to take this project even further.Within a couple of years, my hopeis that the app is a given on all people’smobile phones, regardless of where inthe world they are. All people, in allsituations, should have the possibilityto determine if the water surroundingthem is safe to use.”How theapp worksBy taking a picture of water withAlison’s application on a smartphone, you can assess if the wateris safe to use. Most smart phoneson the market can be programmedso that their display emits the righttype of light. The app then analyzesthe picture and determines the water’sorganic and inorganic qualities.The method estimates the amountof bacteria in the water – quickerand up to 200 times cheaper thanstandard methods for this type ofassessment.Photo: Jason Cooper, MashableMA JUN: THE ENVIRON-MENTAL CHAMPIONPhoto: Asia’s Digital AgePhoto: Cecilia Österberg, ExrayMa Jun, widely recognized as one ofthe world’s foremost environmentalchampions, has both written the bookand drawn the map on China’s waterpollution challenges. His landmark1999 publication, “China’s WaterCrisis”, like Rachel Carson’s “SilentSpring” penned decades earlier, catalyzedpublic and government actionto confront the enormous challengesfaced with the deteriorating qualityof the nation’s water environment.In 2006, he founded the Institute ofPublic and Environmental Affairs(IPE) and developed the China PollutionMap, the country’s first publicdatabase of corporate environmentalperformance. IPE’s influence onlycontinues to grow as it develops toolsto increase pressure on polluters forexample the new Blue Map app, whichtoday has more than three milliondownloads, enables users to accessand microblog the records of emitters.Through IPE, Ma Jun has shown atireless dedication to ensure a greenerglobal supply chain and push companiesto concentrate on procurementand the environmental performanceof their suppliers. He has been recognizedby both Foreign Policy and TimeMagazine as one of the planet’s mostinfluential persons, and received theGoldman environmental prize.20 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201521


est water ideasBEST WATER IDEASThe list of inventions related to water is miles long. They are a part of our everydaylife, but while we are grateful they exist, we don’t take much notice of them. In arecent campaign, SIWI was sent 150 water ideas from people all over the world. Theten ideas presented below were the most popular among the submissions. Read moreon www.worldwaterweek.org/bestwaterideas and vote for your favourite!UN RESOLUTION: Close to two billion people lack accessto safe drinking water, and 2.5 people have no proper toiletto go to. In 2010, UN Resolution 64/292 stated that accessto clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right. Theresolution increases the pressure on world governments toprovide the unserved with a tool to claim their rightsFROM DRAIN TO DRINK: Wastewater has increasinglycome to be perceived as a resource. Usingtoday’s technique, water from our sinks and toiletscan be made drinkable again. It can also be used inagriculture, for industry, and in the rehabilitation ofnatural ecosystems.natural ecosystems.THE WATERLESS TOILET: When the flushing toilet madeits big breakthrough in the industrializing world in the late1800’s, it revolutionized sanitation. But today, many agreethat the toilet of the future must work without water. Withour strained global water resources, it is a bad idea to use arelatively large amount of water to flush away a small amountof waste.GOING VEGAN: Did you know that it requires 15,500litres of water to produce 1 kg beef? This can be contrastedto 180 litres for 1 kg tomatoes and 250 litresfor 1 kg potatoes. If more consumers changed to lesswater intense diets and chose for example pulses,vegetables and grains over meat, a lot of water couldbe saved.THE TAP: All over the world, women and girls spend severalhours every day fetching water from distant water points.With a pipe that leads water into their house, and a tapattached, significant time will be freed up for these womenand children to engage in other activities. Another importantbenefit with a tap is that it can be closed, thereby controllinga household’s water use and limiting potential water waste!THE DAM: The dam is a formidable tool for storingand controlling water to protect people from bothdroughts and floods. It can also be used for producingelectricity. One dam can provide hundreds ofthousands of households as well as industries withelectricity, and alleviate poverty in a region or country.DESALINATION: There is plenty of water on our planet –but as much as 97 percent is salty. Using desalination, it ispossible to remove the salt and make sea water drinkable.In dry coastal areas, desalination can greatly improve watersecurity.SARI AS A WATER PURIFIER: Contaminated waterkills roughly two million people around the worldevery year. Through studies in India, scientist RitaColwell discovered that Saris and other pieces ofcloth can be used to filtrate water. A simple, cheapand handy way to remove bacteria from water!RAINWATER HARVESTING: The world’s population is growingfast, and with it, the demand for freshwater resources.With a constant amount of fresh water available, we will needto become more innovative in managing it. Rainwater haslong been neglected. We must get better at treating it as theresource it is, harvest it and use it wisely.Photo: iStockTHE WELL: In many societies around the world, theburden of collecting water falls on women and girls.Typically, they have to walk to water sources far awayfrom the village several times a day, usually affectingtheir education. Installing a well closer to the villagebrings many benefits, for example that girls can to goto school instead of carrying water.22 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201523


WATER HEROESPhoto: Andreas KarlssonPETER MORGAN:THE INVENTORMany would argue that Zimbabwe’s Dr Peter Morgan deserves to be a celebrity.Yet the man behind several of Africa’s most important water inventionsremains unknown to most. That, however, is exactly the way he prefers it.Peter Morgan’s house is on a side streetin one of Harare’s older districts, tuckedaway behind pines, cypresses and jacarandas.Trailed by a somewhat tiredLabrador, the inventor, researcher andStockholm Water Prize laureate, comesto open the gate. Stepping inside is likestepping into a treasury, a cross-sectionof a life’s work, where decades of successfulwater and sanitation inventionsfor rural Africa are gathered.The single storey stone house providesrelative coolness and shelter fromthe African sun. Peter Morgan sits downin front of the tiny desk where he keepshis laptop. This is where he compiles hisreports, but his real passion is not theoreticalwork. It is the hands on, practicalwork of developing pumps, toilets, wellsand water tanks.Peter Morgan was born in the UnitedKingdom, where he studied zoologyand acquired a PhD in marine biology.But the academic world never appealedto him, and when his supervisor toldhim to go travelling, he did. He went toAfrica, where he spent three years doingresearch at Lake Chilwa in Malawi.“It was fascinating and I enjoyed itvery much. I really didn’t want to leave,but eventually I had to return to theUK, which I did, taking a somewhatunusual route.”He smiles at the understatement;Peter Morgan packed his car and set offon his own into the African continent.He travelled through East Africa, mostof which was part of colonial Britain atthe time. He made a detour into Ugandaafter which he turned back south, finallyending up in Cape Town, where heput himself and his car on a ship boundfor England.“It was an incredible experience anda journey that fuelled my growing lovefor Africa. When I returned to the UK,I realised how happy I’d been and howmuch I missed the continent.”That is why he grabbed the first opportunityto return:an offer to come andwork in what wasthen Rhodesia – nowZimbabwe. He puthis car back on a ship to Cape Town anddrove from there to Harare, then calledSalisbury. He arrived in 1972 and hasremained ever since.His new position did not see himdoing much work as a marine biologist,though. Instead, he worked at the BlairResearch Laboratory, the research wingof the Ministry of Health, named afterits founder, Dr Dyson Blair. And sincePeter Morgan proved himself a skilledpractitioner, he was soon asked to workon developing sanitation solutions.“That led to my first big and probablymost-known invention: the Blair Toilet,which my colleagues and I developedduring 1972 and 1973. It was adoptedas a national standard, and we followedup with working on pumps and a fewother things that have also been widelyused.”Peter Morgan walks into the gardenbehind the house. In passing, he pointsout some of the devices he has installedto minimise the water consumption anddependence on electricity. He says hewants to be as self-sufficient as possible,since power cuts occur frequentlyin Harare. He indicates one of severalwater tanks, explaining that electricalpumps are impractical and taps do notreally appeal to him.“It’s very easy to forget to close a tapproperly, and then you can lose a season’sworth of water in a single night.That’s why I prefer the simplest possiblesolution,” he says, picking up an unusualbucket. Called the Bailer Bucket,“This is the land of the loos,he says”it is made from a piece of pipe with aone-way valve cast in concrete at thebottom. This allows it to sink, lettingwater into the bucket via the valve.He draws a few buckets of water andnotes that it is probably quicker than apump or a tap in any case. A black bagsitting in the sun nearby is heating thewater that he and his wife will use intheir bucket-with-a-nozzle shower.The fact that the inventions are servingthe Morgans well in their everydaylife is merely a positive side-effect. Thereal purpose of all the installations inthe garden is to try them out beforethey are put to use under much moredemanding conditions, around Zimbabweand the rest of the African continent.Peter Morgan makes his way througha shrubbery at the back of the gardenand into the opening behind it, wherePhoto: Andreas Karlssonabout 15 toilets compete for space –some fully functional, others just dummyprototypes or work-in-progress.“This is the land of the loos,” he says.“This is where I’ve continued to work ondifferent versions of simple toilet solutions.Several are in working conditionand I’ve been using them for decades.”The so-called Blair Toilet or Blair VIP(Ventilated Improved Pit) is by now awell-tried and tested construction. Viaa chimney on the outside and thanks tothe natural airflow that is created, badsmell is being ventilated away from theinside of the toilet, also removing fliesand other inconveniences.The actual toilet can be as simple asa hole in the foundation, or it can havea proper seat, and the outside can havemany variations too. Peter Morgan isquick to point out, though, that regardlessof how it is constructed, it is vitalto keep it away from any fresh watersource. There should also always be ahand washing facility next to the toilet,since that is one of the most importantfactors for improving hygiene andhealth.The various versions of the BlairToilet in Peter Morgan’s garden havedifferent shapes and constructionmethods. Some are even portable, andone has been fitted with a urine24 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201525


Photo:EcoPeace Middle EastECOPEACE MIDDLE EAST:THE GOOD NEIGHBOURSIn a region that has lived through decades of conflict, water has become aunifying element across borders. For twenty years, EcoPeace has broughttogether environmentalists from Jordan, Israel and Palestine to strengthenand promote cooperation around the issues of water and peace.“We’re creating aconstituency of peoplecalling for action”Nader Khateb’s voice over the telephonefrom Bethlehem is at timesquite faint. But his message is clear:Water is life and there can be no sustainableexistence without it.Nader Khateb is the Palestinian Directorfor EcoPeace, and he explains whywater is so important to him and hiscolleagues.“It touches everybody’s daily livesand is at the core of sustainable developmentin our region. Unfortunately,water has also been part of the conflictin the Middle East. At EcoPeace,we’re tackling the water issue from anon-political angle, and we’re trying todemonstrate how working together canbenefit everybody. It’s not about doingeach other favours. We think it’s inour own interest, but at the same timeit benefits everybody,” Nader Khatebsays.Water and the environment knowno borders. All the main water resourcesin Israel, Jordan and Palestine areinterdependent and transboundary.This makes water a vital part of lifein the region, as well as an agent forchange.With this in mind, several of theregion’s environmental organizationscame together in Taba in Egypt inDecember 1994 to join forces and promotethe integration of environmentalissues in the peace process. A fewmonths later, EcoPeace was born.The non-governmental organizationstarted with an all-volunteer staff,working out of other agencies’ offices.It has grown into a strong, influentialvoice with its own offices in Bethlehem,Amman and Tel Aviv.Israeli lawyer Gidon Bromberg, one ofthe original founders, says:“EcoPeace was initiated out of concernfor the region’s environment. Atthe time, the peace process was at itsheight. There had been major economicsummits about development, butsustainability and environmentalissues weren’t on thepolitical agenda. Our fear wasthat these issues would neverget onto the agenda unless aregional environmental organizationwas established. So, weset out to make sure sustainabledevelopment and the environmentgot a place at the table.”From Jordan, Co-founder, Directorand President, Munqeth Mehyar, addsthat, as much as EcoPeace is about protectingthe environment and sharingwater resources, water has also becomean important tool for peace.“We try hard to use water as a catalystto enhance our peace talks and tobring people closer together. Whetherthey like each other or not, waterbrings people to the negotiating table,”he says.One example of this, and one of themost successful peace and environmentalprogrammes that the organizationhas developed over the years, isthe s Water Neighbour project. It wasstarted to raise awareness of the sharedwater problems in Palestine, Israel andJordan. Today almost 30 communitiesare participating in the programmeand more are waiting to join.The idea is to identify cross-bordercommunities and develop a dialoguearound their mutual dependence onshared water resources.“We’ve developed a curriculum andwe’ve engaged young water trusteeswho undertake environmental hazardmapping in their communities,”explains Gidon Bromberg. “This helpsthem understand their water realityand the water reality of their neighbours,and how the two are interlinked.”One of the core messages of theproject is that, by building trust andunderstanding, it is possible to solvecommon problems – even in a conflictarea. “Working together isn’t a favourto the other side, it’s a necessity. Asan organization, we’re really trying tohighlight the self-interest that couldmotivate each side to improve theirown water reality. And the only wayto do that is to engage with the otherside,” says Gidon Bromberg.Getting young people on board isalso a way of spreading the message inan efficient way. The youth can educatetheir parents, put pressure on the mayors,and ask adults what they are doingto solve the problems in the communities.“In this way we’re creating aconstituency of people calling for action,not because they’re nice guys butbecause it’s in their own self-interest,”says Gidon Bromberg.He adds: “You cannot downplaythe importance of water in the desertand the semi-arid parts of the world.It’s something we’re concerned aboutevery single day. In Israel, for the last50 years – although less so today becauseof desalination – people wouldcheck the front page of the newspaperto find out the water level of the Seaof Galilee. That’s something ingrainedinto our mind-set, because we’ve experiencedlong periods of drought, andthat’s had dramatic implications forthe economy as well as quality of life.”Munqeth Mehyar notes proudly thatthe Good Water Neighbours projecthas taught people in the communitiesto make their voices heard and to thinkoutside the stereotypical blame game.“The Good Water Neighbours projecthas fundamentally changed the waypeople think about water, reality andtheir neighbours,” he says.However, activism comes at a price.At first, the three directors gloss overthe threats they have received, but,scratching the surface, it becomes clearthat the last 20 years have not alwaysbeen an easy journey.“People receive threats because welive in a region of conflict,” says NaderKhateb. “There are radical groups whodon’t like what we do, and then there’sthe majority who stays silent. But thereare fewer threats today because theprojects are bringing a lot of good tothe region and people can see the benefits.”However, Gidon Bromberg has amore stern view. “In order to workproductively, for every measure weundertake we must ask the question:Can the people we’re seeking to empowerdefend their actions and standup to those who will condemn them?Because they will be condemned.And if they can’t stand up and defendthemselves, then we’ll be causingmore damage than good. That’s a constantchallenge, and we must find theright balance of risk-taking, becausewe’re risking people’s lives – includingour own – in this effort.”One such example was the mostrecent Gaza war, when EcoPeace advocatedfor more fresh water to bepiped into Gaza. The call was not wellreceived. “The drinking water situationwas a humanitarian disaster and thepopulation was desperate. Our campaignwas very unpopular, but it wasalso a call to self-interest,” says GidonBromberg.“A population of 1.8 million withoutwater will not stand still. They willknock down any fence in their pursuitof water. So, it wasn’t an easy stand totake, but it was a very important one,and we succeeded. The military hasannounced that they will double thewater pumped into Gaza in recognitionthat it is a security issue.”Photo: iStockBEST WATER IDEASOn the subject of security and peace,Nader Khateb points out that the workEcoPeace has conducted in the MiddleEast could be applied anywhere thereis conflict over water. “Most riversglobally are transboundary, and I’mconvinced that the model of the GoodWater Neighbours project can work asa peace building tool nationally and internationally.People must realise thatthey have to talk to their neighbours,their enemies across the river, to solvethe issues and improve everybody’ssituation. Only if you get together canyou determine the best way to create awin-win-situation.”Another of the organization’s successstories is the work done to rehabilitatethe Jordan River. After decadesof pollution, the river had turned intolittle more than a sewage canal.It would have been easy to point fingers,but a study done by EcoPeaceshowed that responsibility for theenvironmental disaster was sharedbetween Israel, Jordan and Syria. Thethree countries had all diverted28 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201529


BEST WATER IDEASupstream water for domestic andagricultural use, at the same time asdischarging large quantities of untreatedsewage into the river.“The whole region was hungry forfresh water and, at the time of conflict,each country tried to grab as much asthey could from the enemy. We endedup with a dramatic drop in water levelsflowing down the river, and the waterthat did trickle through was polluted,”says Munqeth Mehyar.Once EcoPeace finalized their study,the next step was to work out how torehabilitate the river. A master planhas been drawn up with internationalpartners SIWI and Global NatureFund, and will be launched in 2015.But progress has already been made.One big victory was the release of freshwater from the Sea of Galilee into theJordan River in 2013.“This was really a breakthrough. For49 years the river hadn’t seen a dropof fresh water from that source,” saysMunqeth Mehyar.Technological revolutions in wastewatertreatment and heavy investmentin new desalination plants on theIsraeli coast have relieved pressure onthe region’s fresh water resources andIsrael is now less dependent on waterfrom the Sea of Galilee.“We took advantage of this to applypressure on the Israeli authorities torelease water into the river. And wesucceeded,” says Munqeth MehyarWater release into the river will continueand expand, and, although it is notyet at the level that EcoPeace wouldlike it to be, the organization acknowledgesthat it is an important precedent.It has taken two decades of hard workto build a regional environmental organization,but change in the region isnow evident. Gidon Bromberg says thething that makes him most proud isthis: that EcoPeace has become a modelfor how people can work together,irrespective of nationality and religion,for the benefit of their people and theirregion.“I can honestly say that EcoPeacerepresents the possibility of a betterfuture together. It hasn’t always beeneasy, but it’s been worth every drop ofsweat along the way.”talk about. However, you have introducedthe words into the diplomaticdiscourse. What were the reactions?JE: At first, surprise and many raisedeyebrows. These days there is moreacceptance and an overall positive reactionto breaking down these taboos.WF: An issue that might be even moredifficult to discuss is open defecation.What are the hard facts and the consequencesfor people who lack toilets?JE: More than a billion people worldwidepractice open defecation. This initself is an indication of poverty, butit also entails many health and securityrisks, especially for women andgirls. Reports from several countriesshow that many rape cases occur whenwomen have to venture out from theirhomes to isolated places for their basicneeds. At the end of the day, the lack oftoilets undermines human dignity.Photo: FNJAN ELIASSON:THE TABOO BREAKERWF: Adequate sanitation is at the coreof sustainable development. Can youexplain?JE: We have not reached the sanitationtarget set in the Millennium DevelopmentGoals by a long way and weneed to speed up the process. Becauseimproved sanitation means that childmortality goes down and maternalhealth improves. The lack of safe andprivate toilets at schools is also a majorimpediment to girls’ education. If sanitationfacilities improved, more girlswould remain in school past puberty.The result would be improved educationrates as well as better equality.“No one can do everything, buteveryone can do something”Photo: Thomas HenriksonThe Deputy Secretary-General of theUnited Nations does not shy away fromtalking about toilets.The sanitation target is among themost lagging of the MillenniumDevelopment Goals. The target was tohalve the number of people withoutadequate sanitation. This will notbe met.More than 2.5 billion people aroundthe world lack basic sanitation andthousands of children die of easilypreventable diseases caused by poorsanitation.In 2013, on the eve of World WaterDay, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson launched a callfor urgent action to end the crisis.The reason for the call was simple.Access to toilets goes to the heartof ensuring good health, a cleanenvironment, and fundamentalhuman dignity.WaterFront (WF): When did you becomeaware of the importance of cleanwater and basic sanitation?Jan Eliasson (JE): During my timeas the United Nations Under-Secretary-Generalfor Humanitarian Affairsfrom 1992 to 1994, I saw children inSomalia dying from diarrhoea, dysentery,and dehydration right in frontof me.WF: Sanitation and toilets are sensitivematters that people are not keen toWF: What is needed to convey themessage?JE: Everyone must be engaged: Governments,the UN, civil society, scientists,the media, the private sector. No onecan do everything, but everyone can dosomething.WF: Out of a global population of sevenbillion people, six billion have mobilephones, but only 4.5 billion haveaccess to adequate sanitation. Why?JE: It only proves that the InformationRevolution has been stronger than theeveryday struggle against poverty.WF: Can you give an example of aninnovation in sanitation that couldimprove the situation?JE: There are many interesting innovationsthat should be tried, but I do notwant to mention any specific ones. Atthe same time, we must not forget theimportance of good hygiene and wastemanagement when we talk about improvingthe current situation.WF: You have called for a new era ofhydro-diplomacy. What do you meanby that?JE: Hydro diplomacy is my unifyingterm for the importance of reachingpeaceful solutions to water disputesand competition over water resources.Scarce water should lead to increasedcooperation rather than conflict.30 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201531


BEST WATER IDEASPhoto: Peter KnutsonRENÉE ANDERSSON:THE PIONEERRenée Andersson’s commitment to bringing about positive change runs deep.It has shaped her entire life.“I’ve always been thinking about water!I have lived in countries where I hadto boil water for 20 minutes to make itdrinkable. I have seen women’s bodiesbreak from carrying heavy clay potswith water long distances from earlygirlhood. I have worked in slums duringfloods where dirty water that spreadsinfection is as big a problem as droughtand lack of water. And the lack of sanitationaffects women more than men– they hold back all day and when theysneak out under the cover of darkness,many are raped. It is terribly unfair. “Renée Andersson responds easily tothe question on whether she wants tocall herself an activist. She left manyyears of development work for Save theChildren and other organizations to gointo the private sector. She thought shecould influence better there. With theSwedish family-run company Indiskabehind her, she started extensive workon ethics and environmental issues.This led to codes of conduct for productionat the suppliers in India, China andTurkey and eventually to guidelines formore economical, energy-efficient andclean water use.“When I went to China to check theworking environment among our supplierspeople said to me: ‘Do you thinkyou can go to China and change thefactories? Forget about it.’ But you can. “Now, Renée has received an honorarydoctorate from the University of Lundfor her efforts to influence suppliers toimprove working conditions and reducethe environmental impact of textileproduction. She works her final weeksat Indiska before retirement.We meet at the headquarters in Stockholm,among collections of the colourful,thin cotton clothes that are typicalof Indiska. The cotton is grown, woven,dyed and sewn mostly in India, Chinaand Turkey.We go back in time. Renée Anderssongrew up in a working-class family.The father cut shoe soles at the Tretornfactory in Helsingborg for 40 years, buthated his job. The mother had to startworking for farmers when she was still achild.“We had so little. Mom even patchedour nylon stockings. And speaking ofwater – we bathed once a week, jumpedinto the water one after the other, andwe could use the laundry room onlyonce in five weeks. “Renée married early. For 13 years,she cared for day-care children, fosterchildren and children of her own. Shealso began to volunteer at the AdoptionCentre and stood in line for adoption.When the question came - would youconsider adopting a disabled child? –Renée and her husband answeredyes. They receiveda little foundling, Sandhya,from India with cleft lipand cleft palate. It wasthere and then Renée’s life changed.She became a fighter and an activist.Renée discovered that the cleftpalate children in Stockholm receivedmedically professional care but weretreated as laboratory animals beforesurgery. They were kept separately fromfamily and proximity while subjected tomonths in hospital during pre-surgery.“It was like ‘a little shop of horrors’,the Red Cross Hospital. But beautifuland high-class with exquisite tableclothscrocheted by the nurses. Theycurtsied to the doctors. I refused toleave Sandhya there and demanded togo back and forth with her every day. “Two years later, Renée together withother parents put a stop to that form oftreatment.“I realized then that things could bechanged. I brought that knowledge withme when I started working with socialchanges in the factories. “Renée got a job at Save the Childrenand met her new husband. The familyworked in several countries. Whenthey came home from Bangladesh in1999, she saw that the companies H&M,Indiska, KappAhl, Lindex and the networkClean Clothes were looking fora project manager to find a system formonitoring the working environmentin the clothing industry. Clean Clothesmembers are Swedish trade unions andorganizations working to improve conditionsin the textile industry by gettingcompanies to adopt codes of conductand the right for employees to formunions. But it was not enough to have“I realized then that thingscould be changed”nice rules for the production conditions;they must also be followed up on thespot. Renee got the job, took leave fromSave the Children and went out on touristvisas to perform discreet interviewswith workers in small shops, in homesand buses. After the project concluded,she worked for other similar networks,Photo: Abbas Rehman, SXCand started the Amnesty BusinessGroup in Sweden. Her view of corporatecommunity commitment changed inthe course.“I have worked for human rightssince I was 13 but never imagined thatcompanies cared. My father always said:‘without the union, no food on the table’.But the companies we worked withwere always well informed and engaged,while human rights organizationschanged people all the time and thelabour unions were rigid and uninterested.Sida, the Swedish InternationalDevelopment Agency, did not want tobe involved from the beginning. Theydid not want to support companies.They are now on board, but they missed10 years of learning. “Renée learned the national laws,which are often very good.“The people I met on my travels said:‘You demand that we change ourselvesaccording to Swedish law.’ ‘No,’ I said,‘that is Indian law. Here you have stipulatedthe right to overtime pay, vacation,health insurance. “Renée worked for several years visitingsuppliers in India and China whohad signed a code of conduct.“What we did was nothing less thana revolution. There were no rules inplace. Child workers hid on the roofwhen we arrived. It was dirty, dangerous,and messy, there were no fire drills,no first aid, no toilets for women andthose for the men were disgusting. “Renée always tried to work in a respectfulway and listen carefully to thepeople she met.“If I do not understand how youthink, I can yell until I am blue aboutworkers’ and children’s rights, withoutaccomplishing anything.”When the project assignments ended,Renée did not want to return to thedevelopment cooperation sector.She wanted to work with businesses onthe ground so she contacted Indiskaand immediately got a job travellingaround to suppliers and suggest improvementsfor the workers. After threeyears, the management wanted to moveon with environmental issues. ‘But Ionly know human rights issues’, Renéesaid. She was sent for an environmentaleducation in India.“After the training I was able to doenvironmental audits. What I saw wasterrible. Textile industry polluted to anPhoto: Renée Anderssonextreme degree. You could see in thegroundwater what the colour of consumerclothes would be next season –pink or blue. The groundwater pumpedup was dyed. Slag products were used inroad construction and house buildingand poisons were leaked out. We had tochange all the way back in the productionchain.”But by 2010, Renée had had enough.“I told the Indiska’s management thatwe must come together with others todevelop common guidelines for water.”Renée contacted SIWI, the StockholmInternational Water Institute,which became enthusiastic. Textileimport companies in Sweden were invitedto a big meeting. A learning projectwith 34 companies together with SIWIstarted. When the guidelines were completedIndiska, KappAhl, Lindex andSIWI wanted to test them properly fortwo years. Sida supported the project,which was carried out in three states inIndia.“We worked with talented Indianconsultants who are experts in water,chemicals and energy, and good attraining. We tried to get suppliers tounderstand that it will be cheaper if youuse the resources correctly. The problemwas that water was free. It was easyfor the producers to understand thatenergy used for heating water costs,the chemicals cost, and cleaning thewater costs. But the water had no priceon it except the pump cost. They oftenpumped it up from deep down in thewater table. It was horrible. You have toclean the water and then recirculate it. “In 2014, 42 suppliers collaboratedin what is called STWI, Sweden TextileWater Initiative. The same year theysaved 284 million litres of water and402 tonnes of chemicals, and 3 per centof energy and 3 per cent of other pro-duction costs. That means the investmentsin water and more efficient productionmethods have given manifoldback. Meanwhile, workers are trainedon chemicals and water economy.“We calculated that the project hassaved the equivalent of daily water for15 Indian villages for a year. Nothinghas been lost from focusing on water –all is included – chemicals, energy andwaste. Water is so extremely central. “It was Renée who took the initiativeto STWI. She and her employer theIndiska took the lead, and some muchlarger companies followed – H&M andIkea to name a few. The method can betransferred to other industries. This isjust the beginning.“We are competitors on the shopfloor but not when it comes to preservingthe environment. It is a whole newway of thinking, both here at home andamong our suppliers. “Renée is retiring this year, but shewill continue to be active. She sits onthe board of SWEDFUND, the developmentfinancier of the Swedish state,where she intends to monitor H&M’snew textile production in Ethiopia, acountry she used to live in. “I think itis good, they need jobs, but it must bedone right.”Photo: Samuel Rosa, SXC32 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201533


LAST WORD“We live in a richer, fatter world”TEXT | jan lundqvist photo Thomas HenriksonDuring the last 50 years, average global foodsupply increased by 30 per cent – a remarkableachievement in view of the fact that the world’spopulation increased from three to seven billion.Never before have so many been exposed to sucha tempting variety of food supply from so manyorigins for such a low expenditure.So, even if price and access to a proper diet forthe poor remain barriers, there seems to be goodreason to exclaim that the strategy and battleagainst food insecurity has been successful.Or has it? Well, it depends. Two partly new forceshave muscled their way into the dynamics offood security and socioeconomic progress. One ischanges in water, the other one is changes inconsumer attitudes and behaviour, modifiedthrough significant increases in disposableincome, more for some, less or nothing for others.A rapidly growing middle class in China, Indiaand in several countries in Africa also want twomeals a day, and they are able to pay for food thatgenerally requires more water and energy, andwhich generates more greenhouse gases. Whyshouldn’t they enjoy a better diet and otheramenities that are common in the rich world?Water flows naturally by gravity but also topeople and places where money is. When therivers are desiccated and the rains fail, people turnto groundwater. In affluent as well as developingcountries, groundwater is now lifted severalhundred meters with implications for energydemand and outflow to local streams. Yet, in spiteof impressive hydraulic works and ingenuity,water-related risks top decision-makers’ agenda.Prevailing food strategies ignore elevated risksand global warming. According to official statements,60 per cent more food is needed anddemanded from 2005/07 to 2050. How comes?Population increase during that period is onlyabout half of that figure.Let’s put the figures in context. About 800million people are undernourished but prevalenceis going down. Parallel with this laudabletrend, the number of people who are overweightand obese has accelerated and is now well over2 billion. The overweight and obesity epidemicis a major component in the nutritional crisis, atpar with climate change in terms of global threatsfor human well-being and progress. Equally disturbing,the losses and waste of food produced areabout a third of what is produced.Rivers of water are exploited in vain and so areenergy, land, investments and labor.Seven billion consumers today and nine billionin 35 years can make or break a strategy for foodand nutrition security. A growing middle class isresponsible for the largest part of food waste,either in terms of food discarded or in termsof overeating.Contrary to other actors in food systems,consumers are not accountable for wrong-doings.Overeating and waste of food are social challengeswith significant implications for water, the environment,energy, the economy, and public health.It is reasonable that actors from all parts of thefood system assume responsibility for water andfood and nutrition security. Initiatives to revive asound food culture among consumers are urgent.Jan Lundqvist is a Senior Scientific Advisor at SIWI.He is lead author of Water, food security and humandignity – a nutrition perspective. Ministry of Enterpriseand Innovation, Swedish FAO Committee (July, 2015).calendar8-10 SEPTEMBERPOLANDEconomic Forum,Organized for over 20 years,the Economic Forum in Krynicahas become the biggest and themost important meeting place forpolitical and economic leadersfrom Central and Eastern Europe.The Forum will be attended by about300 guests: investors from Polandand East-Central Europe, as well asrepresentatives of governments andparliaments, responsible for theprocesses of privatization inCentral Europe.www.forum-ekonomiczne.pl15 SEPTEMBERNEW YORK CITY, USAUNGA 70The 70th Regular Session of theUN General Assembly (UNGA 70) isscheduled to open at UN Headquarterson Tuesday, 15 September 2015.On 25 September 2015, His HolinessPope Francis will address the UNGA,and from 25-27 September the Summitfor the Adoption of the Post-2015Development Agenda will convene.The General Debate of the 70thSession of the UNGA will take placefrom 28 September-6 October 2015.http://sd.iisd.org/events/70th-sessionof-the-un-general-assembly-unga-70follow usTWITTER@siwi_water#wwweekdon’t miss the next issue ofSTOCKHOLM9-11 OCTOBERLIMA, PERUAnnual Meetingsof the WorldBank Group andthe InternationalMonetary FundThe 2015 AnnualMeetings of theWorld Bank Groupand the InternationalMonetary Fund(IMF) will take placein Lima, Peru, inOctober 2015.The Annual Meetingsbring togetherministers of financeand central bankgovernors from theinstitutions’ 188member countries,and provide a forumfor civil society,the private sector,academics andothers to engagein discussions oneconomic issues.www.worldbank.org/en/news/pressrelease/2012/09/14/world-bank-group-imf-hold-2015-annual-meetingslima-peruFACEBOOKSIWIwaterfrontPhoto: iStock25-27 SEPTEMBERNEW YORK CITY, USAUN Summit for the Adoptionof the Post-2015 DevelopmentAgendaThe United Nations summit forthe adoption of the Post-2015development agenda will beconvened as a high-level plenarymeeting of the General Assembly.https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/summit19 OCTOBERWASHINGTON D.C., USA49th Meeting of the GEF Council:Consultation with Civil SocietyOrganizationsThe Third International Conferenceon Financing for DevelopmentConference will result in an intergovernmentallynegotiated andagreed outcome, which shouldconstitute an important contributionto and support the implementationof the Post-2015 developmentagenda.www.thegef.org/gef/node/1094119–23 OCTOBERBONN, GERMANYAd Hoc Working Group on theBurban Platform for EnhancedAction (ADP)UNFCCC ADP 4 BONN, 4th sessionof the Ad Hoc Working Group onthe Durban Platform for EnhancedAction is one of the main event onClean Development, EnvironmentalProtection, Legal, Law, Climatologyand Methodology aspects.http://unfccc.intLINKEDINSIWIMEDIAHUBsiwi.org/mediahubOUT INNOVEMBER34 WATERFRONT # 3 | august 2015WATERFRONT # 3 | august 201535


Nominate now2016 StockholmWater PrizeWho is your water hero?Who do you think has made remarkableachievements in water? Nominate nowfor the 2016 edition of Stockholm WaterPrize – the world’s most prestigiousprize in water. Deadline for nominationsis 25 September.www.siwi.org/prizes/stockholmwaterprize

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