Building Water Back Better

In recent months, there have been numerous news reports and discussions around the so-called ‘build back better’ agenda. It is a phrase which has become popularised due to its usage by key actors, such as the UN and the World Bank.

This slogan broadly means – how can we build back our economies and societies post-coronavirus in a way which protects the natural environment and is sustainable?

Clearly water has an important role to play in this agenda. There are huge opportunities in all contexts around the world. High-income countries typically have a very linear water system, meaning there is scope to improve efficiencies to respond to the needs and challenges of the 21st century. Meanwhile, the lack of access and service provision in low-income countries means new and relevant technology and institutional approaches can be built in.

A recent IWA webinar addressed some of these issues – notably around the circular economy and wastewater. It attracted well over 1000 attendees. This level of interest highlights the significance which our network places on building better and more sustainable water systems, as well as highlighting how IWA can bring key stakeholders together around the issues of the day. In case you missed this webinar, click here to watch the webinar on-demand.

But there is far more to do if we are to ‘build water back better’. As part of this, IWA is committed to collaborating with partners on key topics that will fundamentally shape the future, such as citywide inclusive sanitation and the digitalisation of the water sector. If we can harness technology, innovation, and collaboration in these areas, the benefits will be felt across an array of social, environmental, economic and health outcomes.

We are approaching the UN World Water Day. IWA has always supported this landmark day in the water calendar, and I am pleased to say that IWA has formally raised its level of support. This is an important platform for raising awareness among the public of the challenges people face in accessing clean water and sanitation services. What is needed is greater action to implement solutions – the right solutions for our time – and I believe building water back better has a key role to play in this.

I’d like to hear from any innovative water professional in our sector who has a story to tell about your work in helping us build back better. Please do email if you’d like to discuss this further.

Kala Vairavamoorthy,
IWA Executive Director

Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy

IWA Executive Director
Kala Vairavamoorthy is an internationally recognized water resource management expert, with a particular interest in urban water issues. He combines a strong engineering background with practical international experience. He has published extensively... Read full biography