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Summary - Lecture 6: Urban Water Security

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2018 ProSPER.Net Young Researchers' School
Lecture summary prepared by Sonya Kozak (Griffith University) & Md. Shiblur Rahaman (Hokkaido University)

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Summary - Lecture 6: Urban Water Security

  1. 1. 2018 ProSPER.Net Young Researchers’ School Lecture 6: Urban Water Security Presented by Dr. Yoshifumi Masago (UNU-IAS) Summary by Sonya Kozak and MD. Shiblur Rahaman Dr. Masago’s lecture detailed the relevance of urban water security to the sustainability development goals; provided a summary of the challenges posed by population growth, urbanisation and climate change; and overviewed contrasting issues of urban water security faced by two case- studies: El Alto and La Paz city of Bolivia and Manila city of the Philippines. Each of the 17 sustainability development goals (SDGs) are intrinsically linked with SDG goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. Without widespread access to safe water, we cannot hope to achieve equity, reduce poverty, continue infrastructure, innovation or sustain life on earth (Figure 1). Almost one tenth of the global burden of disease could be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources which would have a substantially positive impact on global health. This is important as failure to provide clean water and sanitation has far-reaching negative social and economic impacts, particularly for children, the elderly and the immunocompromised. Combined with climate change as a risk multiplier, the impacts of inadequate clean water and sanitation could be catastrophic in large urban settings such as megacities. Two case-studies were described in the lecture: Bolivia and Manila. • In the case of Bolivia, climate change impacts are causing the retreat of ice cover on the nearby mountains. This is resulting in a reduced amount of glacial melt which was the primary water source for the two cities. The cities also lack a wastewater treatment plant and much of the human waste ends up chronically contaminating the natural water streams around and within the region. Without adequate wastewater treatment facilities and a dwindling supply of glacial melt water, El Alto and La Paz are heading towards a drinking water crisis. • In the case of Manila, the water security issues relate to flood rather than drought. Additional flood control measures are needed. The Pasig river is highly polluted, and conditions are likely to deteriorate further under growing population and climate change conditions combined with improper waste management. Acknowledging the need for remediation, a master plan has been developed, however research suggests that this will not be adequate to meet the national water quality standards for all parts of the river. The discussion during this lecture centred around methods used in this research and the questions posed by Dr. Masago during the lecture on how we would approach the problems faced in the two case studies. The discussion primarily touched on three of the four research proposal areas: 1. Urban governance 2. Urban ecosystems 3. Urban planning With regard to urban governance and planning, this discussion was about the importance of having forethought into policy to reduce water supply issues and ensure adequate infrastructure. This includes the need for alternative water sources, such as rainwater harvesting, groundwater and desalination of seawater. With regard to urban ecosystems, the discussion referenced the negative impacts of contaminated water sources on human health and the difficulties of remediating such issues. Figure 1: SDG Goal 6 Clean Water and Sanitation relates to each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

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