World Water Week 2017 highlights

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World Water Week, hosted and organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) takes place in late summer in the Swedish capital. Since 1991, it has been an annual focal point for global water issues.

Each year, water experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals from various sectors and countries congregate in Stockholm to “exchange ideas ... and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of the day”.

Building on the premise that water is key to future prosperity, the Week helps to show that by joining forces, we can move towards “a water-wise world”.

World Water Week incorporates several world-renowned award ceremonies, including the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize Award Ceremony and the Royal Banquet. 

Under the theme ‘Water and waste: reduce and reuse’, World Water Week 2017, held in Stockholm in late August, highlighted ways to minimise water wastage in agriculture and several other industries.

Check out some of the highlights here, courtesy of World Water Week host, SIWI.

WWW 2017 Opening plenary session

The Opening session of World Water Week 2017 introduced this year’s ‘reduce and reuse’ theme, looking at it from many angles. Key WWW speakers sharing their insights on how solutions to water scarcity, poor water management, wastewater treatment issues and unjustifiable waste management can be found in cutting-edge science, innovative technology and novel finance models.

AgWater Challenge: Corporate Progress and Learnings

Agriculture consumes more than 70 percent of the world’s fresh water, with food and beverage companies and their supply chains making up most of the sector’s water use and associated water-quality impacts, via crop irrigation and livestock production, says SIWI. 

To address this, Ceres and WWF launched the AgWater Challenge in 2016. Their aim was “to influence and recognise corporate water-related commitments among food and beverage sector companies and their supply chains”.

The Challenge, states SIWI, “provides unique incentives for companies to develop time-bound, measurable commitments that address agricultural supply chain impacts, protect freshwater, and reduce runoff”, as well as technical assistance from leading NGOs, “resulting in more meaningful goals and commitments”.

In 2016, the inaugural Challenge recognised seven major companies: Diageo, Hain Celestial, Hormel Foods, General Mills, Kellogg, PepsiCo, and WhiteWave Foods – as AgWater Stewards.

The awarded companies shared their leadership stories; they also released a total of 18 new commitments to improve water efficiency, create water stewardship policies, and develop time-bound roadmaps for agricultural water stewardship.

In this video of a ‘SIWI Sofa session’ at World Water Week 2017 in late August, you can hear about lessons learned from last year’s AgWater Challenge, the progress the first AgWater Stewards have made towards their water-saving commitments; and “exciting next steps” the Challenge will be taking to boost engagement.

Capacity development in the use of new technologies

Thanks to various new technologies, food producers everywhere now have wide access to data and to new ways of learning. Cap-Tec, a signature program of Cap-Net UNDP, the International Network for Capacity Development in Sustainable Water Management, aims to promote the use of these technologies in daily water management, planning and decision-making across the world, via demonstration and innovative learning.

The new technologies under discussion include:

  • smart phones and sensors;
  • earth observation;
  • drones to manage agriculture systems and water pollution in real time; and
  • the use of innovative learning platforms.

The Cap-Tec project, says SIWI, “bridges the digital divide, developing competent water knowledge societies” and contributing to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

“Availability and affordability, including connectivity, are in place,” states SIWI. “It is a matter of capacity development, change management, and partnerships until we see more and more of these tools in daily work in all regions. Cap-Tec responds to these challenges.”

In the video below, the SIWI moderator asks panel members at World Water Week 2017 various key questions on this topic, including:

  • How can we promote the use and adoption of new technologies for improved water management and productivity?
  • How can we form robust partnerships, especially with IT companies, to realise this goal?
  • How can we establish a mechanism for financial resource mobilisation to support planned activities in developing countries and regions?

Stockholm Water Prize 2017

The winner of this year’s prestigious Stockholm Water Prize Award recognised international lawyer Professor Stephen McCaffrey, who helped to establish access to clean water as a universal human right.

In the video below, Professor McCaffrey talks about his win and the work that helped him net this year’s award.

Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2017

The winners of the Stockholm Young Water Prize this year were high-school students Ryan Thorpe and Rachel Chang, from Long Island, New York, who developed a new way to create clean water quickly and cost-effectively.

Check out this SIWI video, in which the winners explain the genesis of their winning idea and its potential applications globally.

And this video from Waterpedia of the winning team receiving the prize (from a global field of 33 competing countries from H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, the Patron of the Prize.

Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize

The winner of the 2017 Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize, who got to attend World Water Week and compete for the global Junior Water Prize. is Illawarra Grammar School student Macinley Butson, from New South Wales. Macinley’s project entailed designing and testing a simple, affordable mechanical device to help solve the challenge of providing affordable clean water and power for people in developing communities.

The resulting technology, known as the Solar System, produces solar energy to provide a supply of clean potable water for personal use, as well as a sterile water supply for medical use.

Macinley’s invention has potential to help millions of people across the world by increasing green-energy power generation by more than 70 percent a day and using it to supply clean water daily to in-need communities.

The Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize is an annual water science competition that showcases innovative solutions to current and anticipated water challenges developed by high-school students across the nation.

The 2017 Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize, awarded at Ozwater’17, the Australian Water Association’s leading international conference, held in Sydney in May 2017.

In this video, Macinley Butson talks about her winning water innovation and the opportunities the award has afforded her.

WWW 2017 Closing plenary session

The multifaceted scope of World Water Week 2017 was reflected in the Closing Plenary session, which summarised the key issues and discussions of WWW 2017.

Check out this SIWI video of WWW 2017’s closing plenary session.

World Water Week 2018

World Water Week 2018 will take place between 26 and 31 August, again in Stockholm, Sweden, and will address the theme ‘Water, ecosystems and human development’.

More information

For more information about World Water Week, see AgInnovators’ event listing

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