#WatersideWorkers'FederationofAustralia, #WorldWaterWeekinStockholm; #TheValuingRiversreport; #JeffOpperman; #StuartOrr
Ottawa, Aug 29 (Canadian-Media): A Waterside Workers' Federation of Australia (WWF) report published this week in time with the opening of World Water Week in Stockholm, Australia highlights that healthy rivers are capable of mitigating flooding disasters, media reports said.
World Water Week in Stockhome. Image credit: Facebook page
A new framework for safeguarding rivers from growing pressure from dam development, climate change, and increasing demand for water to irrigate farms and fuel hydropower plants is also provided in this report.
The new framework gives guidelines for societies to measure, value, and promote rivers’ diverse benefits and offers solutions to support better decisions and management.
The potential role of new technologies -- such as artificial intelligence, remote sensing, and blockchain -- are also provided by the report which offer a number of methods to improve measurement water and river systems.
Improvements in methods for valuing water, quantifying ecosystem services, and evaluating tradeoffs also provide new opportunities.
Apart from their cultural and religious values, the report shows that healthy rivers, particularly free-flowing rivers, provide a range of benefits to people across the planet such as 2 billion people rely directly on rivers for their drinking water; 500 million people live on deltas that can only be sustained by sediment from rivers; 25 percent of the world’s food production depends on irrigation from rivers; At least 12 million tonnes of freshwater fish are caught each year, providing food and livelihoods for tens of millions of people.
The report said that services like freshwater fisheries to natural flood protection for cities and sediment flows that keep the world’s deltas above rising seas that directly benefit hundreds of millions of people could be lost if low priority to these sevices are given by decision makers until the crisis occur.
“Rivers are not just pipes for delivering water, and we don’t have to accept the loss of rivers’ diverse benefits as the unavoidable collateral damage of development,” said Jeff Opperman, WWF global lead freshwater scientist and author of the report. “Emerging innovations, alongside existing solutions, now allow us to reconcile sustainable economic growth with healthy rivers.”
The report shows how a short-sighted approach has proven costly across the globe and could result in even greater economic losses in the future.
Already, 19 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from watersheds with very high water risk.
Most of the world’s great deltas, continued the report, including the Ganges, Indus, Mekong, Nile and Yangtze, are sinking and shrinking.
“Collapsing fisheries and disappearing deltas are just two examples of the collateral damage caused by our failure to value rivers for all their diverse benefits, not just the water flowing down them,” said Stuart Orr, WWF freshwater practice lead. “We need to urgently transform the way we value and manage our rivers, or we risk undermining economies and global efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals.”
Finally, the report recommends governments, companies and financial institutions should ensure best decisions are taken for effective water-management institutions and governance for sustainable progress.
“This is not a zero-sum game: communities, companies and governments can, and must, help plot a better course that helps secure water for all while maintaining these critical lifelines for people and nature,” said Opperman.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)