‘Stop ignoring water’: World Water Council urges governments to make water security a top priority
While water security can be established by providing more water resources, the target is to also convince the public and other stakeholders to consume less, said the council’s president Loic Fauchon.
JAKARTA: The World Water Council has urged governments to show strong political will to provide access to water and sanitation for all.
In an interview with CNA in line with World Water Day that fell on Mar 22, the council's president Loic Fauchon said politicians need to make water security a top priority.
"We know the solutions – the technical, digital solutions. We know what good governance could be. But we need political will. I mean, a strong political will from politicians at all levels to make water as the first priority," Mr Fauchon told CNA in Indonesian capital Jakarta ahead of the kick-off meeting for the 10th World Water Forum. The event will be held in Bali May next year.
"You cannot build, and you cannot produce any water. You may today produce air, not water. And we say to the politicians, stop ignoring water. Stop ignoring water and make it a political priority," he added.
The theme for this year’s World Water Day was accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis.
“TOO MUCH WATER” IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
When asked for his assessment of the level of water security in Southeast Asia, Mr Fauchon said there are "very different situations" in the region.
"Mostly, the main issue is that we have too much water, but we do not have the quality most of the time," he noted.
"With the demographic growth, we (will) begin to have a lack of water resources and (so) we have to manage it better."
Countries in Southeast Asia have shown commitment in improving water security and in providing new solutions, said Mr Fauchon.
IMPROVING WATER SECURITY
While water security can be established by providing more water resources, for instance, through the desalination or reuse of water, the target is to also convince the public and other stakeholders to consume less, he added.
When asked for his opinion on the 2030 target that the United Nations (UN) has for governments and other stakeholders to provide access to water and sanitation for all, Mr Fauchon said countries should act ahead of the international organisation’s goals.
"We (don't) have to wait (for) the UN … We have to take (on) our future by ourselves," he said.
However, he was pessimistic about governments hitting the UN’s targets.
"I'm not sure that we will reach the goals, but … (there will be) progress".
This is dependent on world governments allocating more budget, and in some cases, coming up with laws, he said.
The UN, which held its first water conference in decades to mark World Water Day, said on its website that the world is “seriously off-track” from the goals that the global community committed to achieving by 2030.
These include improving water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials.
On the back of concerns that governments and other stakeholders could cut funding on access to water and sanitation amid fears of a recession, Mr Fauchon said: "You have to make choices. Water, air and soil are the three main elements which can provide prosperity. And that's the responsibility of the politicians to do that."