I am very pleased to announce the keynote speaker for our upcoming water research forum will be Vanesa Rodríguez Osuna, Senior Scientist at CUNY Advanced Science Research Center, and Project Director at sequa gGmbH. She will present a vision for the future of water security that she and her colleagues developed at the request of the UN’s High Level Panel on Water. She will break down some of the key challenges scientists and water management practitioners face if we are to go beyond the grey-green dichotomy of water management. This vision shows how this is necessary if we are to solve the world’s water crisis.
The central focus of the forum is a Water Security Vision for the future which entails: “The ever accelerating environmental and societal challenges of the rapidly developing world, particularly in the water sector, are today routinely met with novel solutions that have moved beyond the typical and unitary focus on engineering-based approaches of the past to embrace blended grey-green approaches to water management.” Vorosmarty et al (2018, p. 318). These approaches will require skilled workforces and knowledge sharing for local water management practices around the world.
According to Vorosmarty et al. (2010), “nearly 80% of the world’s population is exposed to high levels of threat to water security.” I learned from Danny Wright, CEO of Gravity Water, however, that more people are affected by water cleanliness issues than water scarcity issues because more of the world’s population lives in tropical climates (global map below) with plenty of precipitation. By integrating local perspectives into conversations on how to solve the water crisis, perhaps a more realistic direction may be found for overcoming the global water crisis.
Looking at water through the lens of war (Klare, 2002), the Middle East is the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” for water resource conflict with numerous cross-border tensions surrounding the Nile River and Euphrates Tigris river basins. Yet, at the same time, extraordinary cross-border cooperation in the region makes the Middle East a source for hope.
Our goal is to provide a framework for these conversations which will draw in multiple scientific, scholarly, and regional perspectives. You can see the diversity of regional water circumstances from the map below – each region bring different knowledge-bases based on their environmental circumstance which could inform cultural and/or technological solutions.