Water security - a useful concept? What is needed to achieve it? by Mike Muller, GWP Technical Committee member
mike Mike MullerMike MullerColombo February 2011
Have we escaped the water box? Heard a great deal about economics and hydrology But much less about social issues, Almost incidentally, political challenges of irrigation are largely about livelihoods and poverty, so virtual water trade can produce the food but cannot feed the poor and landless And not much critical analysis of institutions Except that they are not generally not effective Not achieving what we need to achieve, but is that Because of old goals? Whose problem? “theirs” problem or “ours”? Institutional design, the elephant in the room?
What does “water security” tell us? Language is important ... “The wars of the next century will be for water”, “unless we change the way we manage water”. Ismael Serageldin, 1996 Former VP Sustainable Development, World Bank Founder of the World Water Council Head of the Alexandria Library
Language is importantWhat is meant by water security? Household? Reliable services Health Community? Resilience to disasters Vulnerability of economy National? survival of the state and nation Environmental? Ecological survival, from local to planet
So what are our water resourcemanagement goals?
How water resource development & management supports economiesFlow Management and Infrastructure interventions Maximum flood flow Maximum flood flow Reliable Flow Reliable Flow Time
From theory to practice …Ethiopia: RainfallGDP andGDPGDP Ethiopia: Rainfall, and Agric. 80 25 20 60 15 40 percentage 10 20 5 0 0 -5 1986 1988 1989 1991 1992 1994 1995 1997 1983 1984 1987 1990 1993 1996 1998 2000 1982 1985 1999 -20 -10 -15 -40 rainfall variation around the mean -20 -60 GDP growth -25 Ag GDP growth -80 -30 year World Bank
Framing the issue : a definition“Water security”: “…the availability of an acceptable quantity and quality of water for health, livelihoods, ecosystems and production, coupled with an acceptable level of water- related risks to people, environments and economies.” Not the same as ‘food security’ and ‘energy security’, reliable access to sufficient supplies. “water security” also captures destructive aspects of water floods and droughts as well as quality And broader environmental and biodiversity goals ...
Water is context specific Which would you rather be run over by?Depends whereyou live
Water management is a complex business Flood line – Water for agriculture development Water for nature conservation – – commercial cane constraint National parkOfftake for sugar mill and village Weir, interferes with Onward flow to poor(return channel, warm treated environmental function people & neighborswater, just downstream)
Framing the issue To achieve water security, need Investments in infrastructure to store and transport water, treat and reuse waste water robust institutions, able to take and implement decisions information and the capacity to predict, plan and cope Does “water security” help to clarify our goals? better include social issues, poverty And does it support structured thinking about the institutions best able to help us to achieve them
CONCLUSIONS Water security may be useful paradigmTests: does it help us to address the broader developmental challenges of poverty and social inclusion? does it guide us as to the structure of the institutions that we may choose to use?