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

Object 73 – 84 of 129

Collaborative effort to address the global sanitation and hygiene challenge

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is a member-based organization committed to address the sanitation and hygiene challenge. This SDC contribution will further at the global level the knowledge exchange, advocacy and communication on these issues. Through the Global Sanitation Fund – the Council’s operational arm – 10-25 most sanitation needy countries will be supported in implementing their national sanitation plans and strategies benefiting millions of poor people in the next 3 years (until 2020).


SDC Water Network RésEAU

01.01.2018 - 30.11.2021

The RésEAU is the main mechanism for knowledge management on water in SDC. In the International Development Cooperation the generation, organization, sharing and application of knowledge is crucial to be effective in promoting relevant development results. The 250 network members share information and knowledge, learn from each other and have access to the latest news, trends and knowledge in the water sector; regional banks, multilateral organisations as well as from academia and private sector.


lntegrated Health and Habitat lmprovement in the Rasht Valley, Tajikistan

01.01.2018 - 30.06.2022

Through the project the population living in one of the poorest and fragile regions of Tajikistan (Rasht Valley) will gain access to basic social services (water and health). The interventions in the selected watersheds will empower the local communities enabling their active participation in decision-making and effective management of the resources. As a result, people in the project area will adopt healthier, more environmentally sustainable, and disaster-safer behaviours.


Core Contribution for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 2018 - 2020

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

SDC has been granting core contributions to IUCN since 1997. The new Core Contribution for the period 2018 – 2020 aims to highlight IUCN’s comparative advantage and development relevance. With this core contribution SDC contributes to the implementation of the IUCN Programme 2017-2020 and in particular to the integration of healthy and restored ecosystems into SDGs water (SDG 6), climate change (SDG13), environment (14/15) and food security (SDG2).


Research for action

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2030

The 2017 Joint Monitoring Report, published in July, states that serious efforts have been made since the Millennium Development Goals to improve access to safe water and sanitation around the world. However, disparities remain, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and for the rural poor, more drastic for sanitation. This project aims to reduce this gap, by supporting applied research, transformative innovations, capacity development and networking, which will answer to the needs and requirements of the targeted population.


Young People as Agents of Change in the Water Sector – Consolidation of SDC/GPW’s Pioneering Role

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2027

The project will facilitate the empowerment of young people in the water sector, which is essential to achieve the water-related SDG goals. The intervention will strengthen the current GPW/SDC portfolio, directly supports initiatives and projects, consolidate SDC’s institutional approach, and finally contribute to mainstream a young people approach into strategies and policies at all levels.


Andean Regional Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change (ARIACC)

15.12.2017 - 31.07.2024

The Andean Regional Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change builds on Swiss experience and aims at incorporating the resilience of poor rural Andean communities into national climate change adaptation (CCA) public policies, programs and intiatives of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Together with key stakeholders, it will promote the uptake of an integrated pro-poor approach, build on regional knowledge exchange and coordination, and articulate with the global CCA agenda


Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership to achieve a water-secure world for all

01.12.2017 - 30.06.2021

The Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership (GWSP) of the World Bank Water Global Practice is a global partnership with the objective to address the water and sanitation challenge in an integrated manner, as set out in the global water goal (SDG 6). This SDC support will advance innovative global knowledge production and exchange as well as building capacity through country-level support across regions with a focus on the population excluded most from water investments and services.


Contribution to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2022

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving its member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region. The SDC support will contribute to climate resilient and inclusive development of vulnerable mountain communities through strengthening ICIMOD’s regional role and capacity in climate science and relevance in regional policy dialogue.


Gaza Vulnerable Communities Development- GVCD (Phase 1)

01.10.2017 - 31.12.2021

In the first phase of this project, SDC will support selected Municipalities in the Gaza Strip to improve the delivery of services through the Municipal Development and Lending Fund (MDLF): small-scale infrastructure projects targeting vulnerable communities and capacity development activities to enhance the participation of these communities in local decision-making processes will be implemented. This project is aligned with Palestine National Policy Agenda (2017-2022), and Swiss Cooperation Strategy for the oPt (2015-2018).


Partenariat scientifique entre 2iE Ouagadougou et institutions universitaires suisses

01.10.2017 - 31.12.2022

La maitrise de l’eau et l’accès à des sources d’énergie durables sont des facteurs nécessaires pour créer les conditions d’un développement humain durable en Afrique. Pour y parvenir la formation de cadres compétents et le développement de technologies et d’approches innovantes sont indispensables. Le partenariat avec 2IE y a contribué durant les années écoulées et les résultats atteints feront l’objet d’une capitalisation au cours de cette phase de désengagement qui est la dernière phase de ce partenariat.


IRQ Oxfam – Integrated WASH and Protection response to conflict affected communities in Diyala governorate

01.09.2017 - 28.02.2020

A majority of people living in rural northern Diyala do not have access to potable water which results in communities utilizing unsafe sources like rivers and irrigation channels. The lack of solid waste management systems further aggravates the poor health conditions within this area. This project aims at reducing water and sanitation related risks and increasing access to clean water for IDPs, returnees and host communities living in the districts of Kifri and Khanaqin. It also helps particularly vulnerable families access protection services.

Object 73 – 84 of 129