Managing water resources sustainably

Srepok River, Vietnam. Efficient water use in coffee production.
Efficient water use in coffee production in the river basin of the Srepok, which feeds into the Mekong river. © Alisher Sharypau

Demand for water continues to grow while the total volume of water available on the planet is limited and increasingly exposed to pollution. The main challenge is to manage the water sustainably and achieve an equitable distribution of water between households, agriculture and industry as well as between countries. The SDC is working to promote sustainable water use between sectors and peaceful cooperation across borders.

SDC Focus

The SDC is committed to achieving sustainable management of water resources to ensure access to water and reduce the risks of environmental degradation and conflicts. It strives to link peacebuilding with sustainable management of water resources in regions where tensions exist, and promote the efficient use, reuse and proper management of water in areas where it is in short supply.

Background

Transboundary cooperation

The SDC promotes dialogue between countries, which rely on the same river basin for their water supply. Sharing policy frameworks and technical information can help deflate existing or nascent tensions and conflicts. Switzerland, as a neutral actor with experience in mediation and acknowledged expertise in water management, is ideally placed to facilitate such discussions. At the technical level, , the SDC also supports common methods of measurement for determining the quality of water available and the quantities of water used. This data enables decision-makers to speak a common language when it comes to the management of shared water resources, and thus work together to set and reach commonly defined objectives.

Water – a commodity to be valued

Water is not free. Its protection, distribution and treatment obey the same economic laws as any other consumer good. At the same time, water is a resource to which everyone should have access, including the poorest and marginalised populations. The SDC develops mechanisms for making better use of water and promoting the reuse of wastewater.  The mechanisms provide incentives to manage water sustainably and construct environmentally friendly infrastructure in a particular region or industry.

For example, the SDC is involved alongside major corporations in facilitating the transfer of knowledge in relation to the water footprint, an indicator that enables the water used in the whole manufacturing cycle of a product to be better managed. The SDC is also pursuing the development of the 'Water Stewardship Standard' which aims to encourage all actors from business, government and civil society to take responsibility for their particular impacts on this shared resource and to work together to achieve sustainable management. Payment mechanisms are also being developed for compensating populations in the river basin areas for protecting water resources.

Current challenges

By 2030, demand for water is expected to rise by 30% while the degradation in quality caused by pollution will reach unprecedented levels.  Worldwide, 80% of urban and industrial wastewater is discharged into the environment without prior treatment. The majority of the time, the self-purification capacity of aquatic ecosystems is largely insufficient to be able to cope with such large volumes. Furthermore, agriculture requires a great deal of water, accounting for almost 70% of global consumption.  However, water is often used inefficiently and can be contaminated by fertilisers and pesticides. In addition, industry currently uses 22% of water and as it continues to grow will put water resources under even greater pressure.

By 2025, half of the world's population will be living in regions suffering permanent water scarcity, which will have the effect of weakening local economies and force millions of people to relocate. That is why it is already especially important today to use water so as to preserve its regenerative capacity and allow it to be distributed equitably.

Current projects

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Public Private Development Partnership to improved Plumbing Education in Ukraine

01.10.2018 - 28.02.2023

The mismatch of skills and qualifications with the needs of the economy remains an important cause of low productivity in Ukraine. This Public Private Development Partnership aims at improving the quality and relevance of vocational education and training for plumbers. Improved skills and knowledge tailored to the needs of the market will contribute to increase employability and incomes of young people.


lntegrated Water Resource Management in Kosovo

01.10.2018 - 30.04.2024

The Integrated Water Resource Management project supports different stakeholders in Kosovo at the national, regional and local level for establishing an integrated water resources management approach. This approach will address issues such as pollution, rising demand for water for farming, industry and growing urban areas, and will help mitigate the impact of climate change.

 


Blue Peace: Unlocking the value of transboundary, multisectoral and transgenerational investments

01.10.2018 - 31.12.2029

In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals government efforts do not suffice, large private capitals deployed towards development are needed. Switzerland has a comparative advantage as innovative finance hub. Building on this, SDC contributes to the development of innovative financial products that enable transboundary, multisectoral and transgenerational investments with aim to contribute to sustainable development and peace.


Blue Peace Financing: transboundary, multisectoral and transgenerational investments

01.10.2018 - 30.06.2023

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals government efforts do not suffice, additional private capital deployed towards sustainable development are needed. Blue Peace advocates for investments to be re-directed to two levels: transboundary entities and to municipalities. This will have a transformative impact. As a door opener, Switzerland through its partnership with UNCDF contributes to the development of innovative financial products that enable transboundary, multisectoral and transgenerational investments leading to sustainable development and peace.


Contribution Earth Security Initiative (ESI)

01.09.2018 - 31.03.2024

The ESI is an independent think tank which aims at catalyzing the global financial and industry sectors to define and leverage global finance innovations that contribute directly to cooperation for sustainable water management and poverty alleviation. This SDC contribution will promote the development of new financial mechanisms that are aligned with sustainable development policy objectives and priorities of developing countries to the benefit of society and natural resources.


China: Rehabilitation and management strategy for over-pumped aquifers under a changing climate

01.09.2018 - 31.12.2022

In the past 30 years the aquifers in the North China plain have been over-exploited. Based on cutting-edge Sino-Swiss expertise in real-time groundwater monitoring and modelling, the project will implement groundwater and agricultural management policies to stabilize groundwater levels as a buffer to climate change induced droughts. The project will work with farmers and local authorities to facilitate policy uptake. Findings are relevant for many water-stressed countries and will be shared globally.


Améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle aux provinces du Kadiogo, Zoundwéogo et de l’Oubritenga

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2021

Le Burkina Faso fait face à des crises de sécurité alimentaire et de malnutrition récurrentes pour des raisons structurelles et conjoncturelles. L’approche intégrée et innovatrice proposée par ce projet vise à améliorer les conditions de vie et développer la résilience des populations vulnérables selon trois axes : la récupération des enfants malnutris ; la mise en place de groupes d’apprentissage communautaires pour les femmes enceintes et les mères d’enfant; ainsi que l’amélioration de l’environnement sanitaire et des moyens d’existence. Ce programme s’inscrit dans la nouvelle vision du « programme lait » de la Confédération. 


Solar irrigation for Agriculture Resilience (SoLAR)

01.08.2018 - 31.12.2023

Farmers increasingly rely on irrigation to counter rising temperature and rainfall variability, leading to growth in energy demand and depletion of groundwater resources. The project aims to promote solar irrigation as a water-energy solution for climate-resilient and socially inclusive agrarian livelihoods in South Asia. Swiss innovation in groundwater monitoring through electricity use, efficient solar pumps and smart micro grids will be applied in the partner countries.


Integrated Water Resources Management in the Barind areas

01.07.2018 - 30.06.2023

By promoting the coordinated, equitable and sustainable development and management of water, land and related resources, and addressing the institutional challenges associated with integrated water resources management, the project intends to ensure access to sufficient and safe water for the disadvantaged people of the Barind tracts in North-Western Bangladesh.   


Tajikistan Water Supply and Sanitation Project

01.07.2018 - 30.06.2022

Through the support of the project 30‘000 women and men will have sustained access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in three rural districts of Tajikistan thereby contributing to their better health and wellbeing. The project further supports the development of local and national authorities’ capacities and strengthen the policy frameworks in order to enable a more effective, inclusive and sustainable delivery of safe drinking water and sanitation services to the population.


Backstopping Mandate for Water

01.06.2018 - 30.11.2021

Water secure development cooperation requires continuous knowledge management and capacity strengthening through sound thematic expertise. The next phase of the Backstopping Mandate (BSM) for water will help to capitalize on SDC’s key learnings and successes, fuel capacity building, and foster mainstreaming and coherence. It will allow thematic water network (RésEAU) to be fit for purpose and to cope with new trends and challenges.


Global Alliance for Health and Pollution

01.06.2018 - 31.12.2028

Through political, technical and financial support, SDC together with other Swiss partners aims at actively co-shaping the agenda of the still young Global Alliance on Health and Pollution. The alliance brings together different stakeholders to produce evidence for awareness raising and to curb toxic pollution of air, water and soil in low- and middle-income countries in order to reduce its harmful effects on public health.

Object 49 – 60 of 117