The United Nations defines Water Security as “the capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability.”
The SG is therefore concerned with the development of water resiliency, and especially in large cities. The water resiliency of a given city is built on both active security and passive security:
- active security is principally based on the human response, know-how and adaptability; all acquired with the training of people and the implementation of accurate operational procedures;
- passive security relates to the infrastructure resiliency and capacity to fulfill its purpose; both acquired thanks to intelligent design and realization on the first hand, and on the second hand, with the steady maintenance of this infrastructure.
The population in urban centers is growing, sometimes at an alarming speed, while the water resources and facilities are not always following. At the same time climate change issues are already putting even more pressure for developing adaptation strategies to the new and evolving context.
Technology of course will be a major provider of urban water resiliency improvements; but interaction and interdependency with other urban networks like energy, telecommunications or transports, will have to be addressed in a global city perspective. Governance issues won’t be left aside since they are known to have an impact on the efficiency of the response and mitigation whenever a disaster has occurred.
The SG’s focus and priorities for 2016 are to develop water security educational material to be used during workshops or seminars, and to initiate collaboration projects with other IWA SG, with institutional partners and with NGOs for pushing synergies, sharing experiences and enlarging visions.
Recognizing the fact that being prepared can make the difference between a controlled situation and a complete disaster, the SG will encourage the analysis of case studies and will promote the dissemination of post-disaster reports.