- Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of World Water Day: "Clean Water for a Healthy World", 22 March 2010
- IHP-VII: Water Dependencies: Systems Under Stress and Societal Responses (2008-2013) - Strategic Plan
- ICHARM Starts a Water-related Disaster Management Project in Asia
- Parisian Meetings "Water & Cinema" and VidéEAU Contest
- Meeting report available: Isotopes and tracers in hydrology
UNESCO Water Family (*)
- G-WADI Dakar Workshop: Water – Science, Policy and Capacity Development
- International Training Course on Qanats
- Deltas in Times of Climate Change
- International Conference on Arid and Semi Arid Development through Water Augmentation (ASADWA)
Featured International Events
- International African Water and Sanitation Congress and Exhibition
- The International Classification for Seasonal Snow on the Ground
- Research Specialist – Disaster Prevention Research Team - ICHARM
Did you know?
Facts and figures about the Pacific Islands
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Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of World Water Day: "Clean Water for a Healthy World", 22 March 2010
Water is fundamental to life on earth. For human populations and ecosystems to thrive, that water must be clean, it must stay clean and, most importantly, it must be accessible to all.
World Water Day 2010 calls for "Clean Water for a Healthy World". As we celebrate this Day, let us consider the facts. More than 2.5 billion people live without proper sanitation. An estimated 884 million people, the majority of them in Africa, do not have access to safe drinking water. Some 1.5 million children under five die each year from sickness caused by water-borne diseases. The degradation of water quality in rivers, streams, lakes, and groundwater systems has a direct impact on ecosystems and human health. This state of affairs represents an unspeakable human tragedy, and is also major obstacle to development.
Water-related sickness and the additional financial hardship it brings, lowers the odds that a poor family will educate its children. This, in turn, robs the next generation of the opportunity to improve their own circumstances and break the cycle of poverty and deprivation trapping them. Clean water and proper sanitation are where it all starts. A key approach to addressing water quality challenges should be based on pollution prevention, control and restoration strategies.
Numerous rivers, once the source of human prosperity and rich wildlife, are now heavily polluted. The degradation of water quality in surface and groundwater systems is further exacerbating water scarcity and negatively impacting our natural environment and the ecosystem services and goods that it provides, jeopardizing food security and livelihoods.
In these cost-cutting times, when economic difficulties jeopardise investment in development, let us be clear that developmental progress more than pays for itself. It has been estimated that achieving the Millennium Development Goals for access to safe water and sanitation would produce a global saving of more than $84 billion. We already have the scientific knowledge to make immediate strides in the provision of clean water and sanitation, provided the funding is there. Researchers are developing new and ingenious ways of protecting surface waters and groundwater systems from pollution, and ensuring better water management.
As the lead UN agency for water sciences and education, UNESCO is moving ahead with an array of programmes to further this know-how. UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme is actively engaged in fostering science and knowledge for protecting the quality of surface waters and groundwater systems. Likewise, UNESCO is an active contributor to the monitoring of the state of the world’s freshwater resources in the World Water Development Report coordinated by the World Water Assessment Programme, whose secretariat is hosted and led by UNESCO. Since 2003, UNESCO has overseen the training of dozens of water scientists and engineers from developing countries at the Netherlands based UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, a world-ranking establishment. UNESCO promotes capacity building for better management of water resources through its water centres and chairs operating under the auspices of UNESCO in many parts of the world.
Much remains to be done if we are to make a difference to the lives of millions of people. On this World Water Day, I urge Governments, civil society, the private sector and all stakeholders to put the goal of "Clean Water for a Healthy World" at the forefront of their priorities.
IHP-VII: Water Dependencies: Systems Under Stress and Societal Responses (2008-2013) - Strategic Plan
The Seventh Phase of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP-VII, 2008-2013) will continue to promote and lead international hydrological research, facilitate education and capacity development, and enhance governance in water resources management. The aim of these efforts is to help meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on environmental sustainability, water supply, sanitation, food security and poverty alleviation, and contribute to the objectives of the International Decade for Action "Water for Life" (2005-2015).
The results achieved during this phase will be action-oriented and policy-relevant so that all of IHP’s audiences – governments, the scientific community and civil society – can benefit from them.
The structure of the IHP-VII Strategic Plan is set out in seven sections:
- Establishing the baseline conditions for IHP – Three decades of hydrology
- Assessment of the coming decade – Hydrology for environmental sustainability
- Setting the targets for IHP Phase VII – Water, central to global ecosystems
- Transition from Phase VI to Phase VII – Continuity with change
- Making IHP-VII action-oriented and policy relevant – Support to the global agenda
- The themes and focal areas of Phase VII
- The next steps
Access the full publication [PDF, 2.65 MB]
ICHARM Starts a Water-related Disaster Management Project in Asia
ICHARM and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have officially agreed to start a regional technical assistance project.
The project "Supporting Investment in Water-Related Disaster Management" is scheduled to be carried out until April 2011. ADB is ready to invest USD$2 million in the project, part of which will be provided to ICHARM to cover necessary expenses.
The project focuses on the regions of Asia that constantly suffer from floods, particularly Bangladesh, Indonesia, India and the Lower Mekong basin (i.e., Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos). The role of ICHARM is to offer technical assistance. The following are two examples of the key activities included in this project:
- Model application of a satellite-based flood forecasting and warning system – so-called Integrated Flood Analysis System (IFAS) - to the Solo River basin in Indonesia
- Capacity building (training) of local experts at ICHARM on local disaster management plans for Bangladesh and Indonesia
Parisian Meetings "Water & Cinema" and VidéEAU Contest
Water from Paris and the International Secretariat for Water (ISW) will organize from March 18 to 25 the Parisian Meetings "Water & Cinema", in the Water Pavilion. This new event, free and open to all, presents a selection of fiction films, documentaries and short films from all areas on water and ecology. There will also be the opportunity to meet the film crews and to participate in discussions with environmental actors.
Some of these films have been presented at the recent World Water Forums in Mexico in 2006 and Istanbul in 2009. The film "The Water Roads" by Augusto Contento opens the Parisian Meetings "Water & Cinema". This documentary on the Amazon River has just received support from the Natural Sciences Sector of UNESCO.
On this occasion, participate in the "VidéEAU" contest, make a clip of less than 60 seconds on the theme "Water and Paris" and win one of the four awards!
The award ceremony will take place on March 22nd for the World Water Day.
Meeting report available: Isotopes and tracers in hydrology
Isotopes and tracers offer powerful options for the enhancement of knowledge about water systems, especially in the case of water resources modelling. As costs for analyses are decreasing, more opportunities for analyses become readily available. These are some of the conclusions of the international symposium, Isotopes and tracers in hydrology & Henry Darcy Lecture 2009, which took place on 5 November 2009 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The symposium was organized by the Netherlands IHP Committee and VU University Amsterdam in conjunction with the Netherlands Hydrological Society, the Netherlands Chapter of IAH and the US National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation.
Download the report
UNESCO Water Family (*)
G-WADI Dakar Workshop: Water – Science, Policy and Capacity Development
21-22 April 2010: Dakar, Senegal
International Training Course on Qanats
12-17 June 2010: Yazd, Iran
Deltas in Times of Climate Change
29 September – 2 October 2010: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
International Conference on Arid and Semi Arid Development through Water Augmentation (ASADWA)
13-17 December 2010: Valparaiso, Chile
Featured International Events
International African Water and Sanitation Congress and Exhibition
15-18 March 2010: Kampala, Uganda
Access a complete list of water events around the world
The International Classification for Seasonal Snow on the Ground
Prepared by the ICSI-UCCS-IACS Working Group on Snow Classification – IHP VII Technical Documents in Hydrology No. 83, IACS Contribution No. 1
Since 1990 our collective knowledge of snow and the techniques we use to observe its characteristics have evolved. Thus, in 2003, the current classification (Colbeck et al., 1990) needed an update, but the users of the 1990 classification felt that corrections and additions should be kept to a minimum. Following the spirit of the previous editions, the Working Group on Snow Classification took care to again provide a concise document usable by user groups of quite different specialties: snow scientists, practitioners, scientists from other fields, as well as interested lay persons. However, classification schemes typically become more technical as knowledge, measurement techniques, and observation methods evolve.
The classification deals primarily with seasonal snow, even though many concepts in the present snow classification can also be applied to firn, which is the first stage in the formation of glacier ice. Definitions and tools are provided mainly to describe point observations of the snowpack, e.g., from snow pitwork. However, the classification does not attempt to classify snow covers from a climatic point of view, a topic that is dealt with in other publications (Sturm et al., 1995).
Research Specialist – Disaster Prevention Research Team - ICHARM
ICHARM is seeking one research specialist for its Disaster Prevention Research Team. In addition, the deadline of the posts, which were announced in the e-Newsletter 226 has been extended.
Did you know...? Facts and figures about the Pacific Islands
- There are about 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean, only 2,000 of which are inhabited. Many of the populated islands are less than 10 km2, while some, especially atolls, are less than 1 km2. The 18 Pacific Island countries and territories considered in this study account for 550,000 km2 of land and some 7 million inhabitants spread across 180 million km2 of ocean – about 36% of the earth’s surface.
- Average annual rainfall varies considerably in the tropical Pacific, from over 4,000 mm to less than 500 mm. The higher altitudes of volcanic islands receive more rain, with about a 10% increase per 100 metre rise in elevation.
- The limited freshwater supply in small Pacific islands is used for various purposes, including for towns, industrial activities, agriculture and forestry, tourism, environmental needs and mining. Non-consumptive uses include hydropower generation (e.g. in Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu), navigation and recreation.
- To meet growing demand, naturally occurring water resources are supplemented with non-conventional ones. The former are surface water, groundwater and rainwater collection; the latter include desalination, imports, wastewater recycling and use of seawater or brackish water for selected purposes where potable water is not needed.
- Some islands, including in Fiji and Tonga, have imported water as an emergency measure during severe drought. In some instances, people move from water-scarce islands to others nearby with more water. On many small islands, local or imported bottled water is an alternative for drinking water, although it costs more than water supplied by local water authorities.
- Many small islands, particularly coral atolls and small limestone islands, generally do not have sufficient water resources for irrigated agriculture, or suitable soil conditions. Irrigation on small islands thus tends to occur on a relatively minor scale except in cases like that of Fiji, where agriculture – primarily water-intensive cultivation of sugar cane as a cash crop – is the largest water user.
The section "Did You Know…?" is taken from the 3rd World Water Development Report "Water in a Changing World".
UNESCO's Water Family consists of the following:
- International Hydrological Programme
- World Water Assessment Programme
- UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
- Water-related Institutes and Centres under the Auspices of UNESCO
- UNESCO Water-related Chairs
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