Nature-based Solutions for Water: World Water Development Report 2018

Tomorrow, March 22nd, 2018 is the 25th anniversary of the World Water Day. A day designated by the United Nations to highlight the importance of freshwater and provide global advocacy for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

The theme for 2018 is “Nature for Water” which is meant to encourage people to look into the nature for solutions to water problems. One of such is the nature-based solutions for water that can be implemented to reduce the incidence of water pollution, floods, and droughts.

Some of the previous World Water Days: 2017: Why Waste Water? | 2016: Water and Jobs | 2015: Water and Sustainable Development | 2014: Water and Energy

As a water resources management “activist”, I started WaterFix on March 22, 2014 as a means advocate people, businesses, and nations to take action against the fast-growing global water crisis. As part of that, I am happy to share with you the World Water Development Report 2018 with the information below as found on UNWater

Nature-based Solutions for Water

Image source: UNWater.org

The global demand for water has been increasing at a rate of about 1% per year over the past decades as a function of population growth, economic development and changing consumption patterns, among other factors, and it will continue to grow significantly over the foreseeable future. Industrial and domestic demand for water will increase much faster than agricultural demand, although agriculture will remain the largest user overall. The vast majority of the growth in demand for water will occur in countries with developing or emerging economies.

At the same time, the global water cycle is intensifying due to climate change, with wetter regions generally becoming wetter and drier regions becoming even drier. Other global changes (e.g., urbanisation, de‐forestation, intensification of agriculture) add to these challenges.

The United Nations World Water Development Report, Nature-based Solutions for Water, launched 19 March 2018 during the 8th World Water Forum, and in conjunction to the World Water Day, demonstrates how nature‐based solutions for water (NBS) offer a vital means of moving beyond business‐as‐usual to address many of the world’s water challenges while simultaneously delivering additional benefits vital to all aspects of sustainable development.

NBS use or mimic natural processes to enhance water availability (e.g., soil moisture retention, groundwater recharge), improve water quality (e.g., natural and constructed wetlands, riparian buffer strips), and reduce risks associated with water‐related disasters and climate change (e.g., floodplain restoration, green roofs).

Currently, water management remains heavily dominated by traditional, human‐built (i.e. ‘grey’) infrastructure and the enormous potential for NBS remains under‐utilized. NBS include green infrastructure that can substitute, augment or work in parallel with grey infrastructure in a cost‐effective manner. The goal is to find the most appropriate blend of green and grey investments to maximize benefits and system efficiency while minimizing costs and trade‐offs.

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