“The true values of water are still not reflected in all water related decision-making” John Joyce, SIWI
There are many research institutions dedicated to understanding water utilization and management. Water is the sole purpose at a number of such institutions. This series will describe what these think tanks do in terms of scope, reach, and function.
This first post in the series will describe two large water think tanks; the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). They produce information and reports on international water issues along with providing independent policy advice and capacity building.
SIWI’s goal is to look at international solutions to the growing global water crisis. It accomplishes this on a number of different fronts while providing a rich resource for publications and policy. It has a very broad focus and covers many aspects of water utilization. SIWI has a stated goal of creating “Independent and Leading-Edge Water Competence for Future-Oriented Action.”
The issue areas that SIWI focuses on are broad and far reaching in scope. It looks to the future in terms of how people will utilize water to help solve problems before they become crises. The thematic areas are climate change, energy, drinking water, sanitation, transboundary waters, governance, and water resources management. Through these areas of work SIWI is able to aid in capacity development in water. Within their program areas they are able to provide a wide range of consulting services but one of their best resources for researchers is the extensive publications on a variety of themes.
SIWI recently published a paper on Setting a Value for Water where it describes the importance of economics in decision making. The value of water changes based on a number of factors including location, availability, and use. In terms of international river basins SIWI released a paper entitled Transboundary water management: Who Does What, Where? – Analysing the Data in SIWI’s Transboundary Water Management Database where the authors analyze actors within river basins. Have a look around the publications database because there are many interesting reports.
The World Water Week (WWWeek) in Stockholm is a yearly international event that brings together experts in the global water community. Each year brings a different theme to the forefront with the focus this year being Food and Water Security. Next year WWWeek will be about Water Cooperation. One of the major things that happens at WWWeek is the Stockholm Water Prize that recognizes achievements in water. The winner of the prize this year was IWMI, for its pioneering research in water management and alleviating poverty.
IWMI attempts to improve water utilization and land management for agriculture, economic growth, and the environment. It is one of 15 research centers funded by CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research). IWMI’s stated goal “is to improve the management of land and water resources for food, livelihoods and the environment.”
The issue areas that IWMI focuses on for improved water management are Water Availability and Access; Productive Water Use; Water Quality, Health and Environment; and Water and Society. Within each of these focus areas there are a number of different projects. An example of one within the water and society is a project to improve irrigation in Pakistan by revitalizing water management in the Indus basin. IWMI also has a project to quantify the impact of 2 degrees of warming on water in vulnerable regions. These and many other projects are important in the regions in which IWMI operates.
These regions are Africa and Asia which are further broken down into sub regions. Within each region and sub region there are different issues and therefore research aims and goals will vary. In Africa 70% of the rural population relies on agriculture for income and 85% of the income of the urban poor is spent on food. In Asia IWMI research is focused on food security through effective management of water and land resources.
The research publications and data created by IWMI encompass a large range of interesting topics within water. Some of the recent publications include the indexing vulnerable mountain streams in the mountains of Azerbaijan. Another publication is one where IWMI assesses foreign direct investment in Ethiopian agriculture. It also has a database for water and agricultural data. The Water Data Portal contains a number of statistical indicators ranging from specific basins to national and international figures.
Both of these think tanks provide a great resource for understanding global water issues. They cover a wide range of topics, issues, and places. By providing key information to decision makers they enable informed solutions to the problems we face now and those that will present themselves in the future. The next few posts in this series will detail other think tanks that deal with water. These organizations help us better understand what is happening in the global water landscape.