As I have written before, These three all interlink with one another so the solution needs to be cognizant of this complexity.
– we turn on the tap and it flows. But this undervaluing has led to misuse and misallocation – because water provides multiple uses and services, all too often it is it is used for purposes that do not maximize wellbeing and regulated in ways that do not recognize scarcity or promote conservation.
So how do we translate the individual and community-level values into a common value system for societies and countries? Institutional mechanisms to manage water and deliver services are crucial.
Released earlier this year, the Bellagio Principles on Valuing Water encourage us to do a number of things. Firstly, they encourage us to recognize water’s multiple values principle by considering the multiple values to different stakeholders in all decisions affecting water. Secondly, to build trust by conducting all processes to reconcile values into management systems in ways that are equitable, transparent, and inclusive of multiple values. Thirdly, to protect water sources by valuing and protecting all sources of water, including watersheds, rivers, aquifers and associated ecosystems for current and future generations. Fourthly, empowering people by promoting education and public awareness about the essential role of water and its intrinsic value. And finally, to invest and innovate by putting resources behind our institutions, infrastructure, information and innovation to realize the full potential and values of water.
All of this involves broadening our outreach and turning up the volume. With so many important issues in the world and so much content competing for public attention, events like World Water Week are crucial for raising awareness, highlighting the scale of the challenge and showcasing solutions. But we need to go beyond talking to those in the water sector and engage those from other sectors. And we need leadership on this topic to catalyze action, such as from the High Level Panel on Water, which presented some of its global initiatives at World Water Week and launched a consultation on the Bellagio Principles.
In conclusion, I believe we need a seminal shift to value water based on the values necessary to chart an inclusive course that respects culture, religion, and environment.