Water cooperation was the theme of this year’s World Water Day. There is a higher need to access of water and security of water resources especially with the estimated population increase which suggests that by 2050 there will be 9 billion people in the world. Thus, dependency on water will continue to be a major source of concern, especially when taking into account that each individual holds the power to affect others’ access to clean water because each individual can pollute and/or waste water.
Some concerns and challenges include that water is needed in every aspect of life; for example, the growth of the agricultural industry and service sectors depend on access and availability of water. However, in addition to maintaining the availability of water, there is also a need to decrease pressure on the excess disposal of water, especially for economic development. Water should be used in relation to its “biophysical limit.” Water also faces the threat of “commercialisation,” where water markets dictate that access to clean and safe water depends on the ability to pay for it. Thus, there should be a push for more water rights for poor communities.
Hence, water cooperation would lead to many benefits: “social harmony in water allocation and increasing human welfare.” Cooperation can prevent conflicts and competition over water access, can promote water use efficiency and better water management. Cooperation can occur between municipalities and private providers in order to “stimulate resource mobilisation.” Also, industry and government must cooperate to efficiently mobilise finances for water projects.
Water cooperation calls for an “inclusive and innovative approach.” The main goal is to sustain the growing population, preserve water availability and access, promote peace and security and mutual respect, and ultimately maintain economic growth. After all, water is truly the elixir of life.