Conclusions implications for sustainable development

Most of the seven Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are related directly or indirectly to water management and climate change, although climate change is not directly addressed in the MDGs. Some major concerns are presented in Table 3.6 (UNDP, 2006).

In many regions of the globe, climate change impacts on freshwater resources may affect sustainable development and put at risk, for example, the reduction of poverty and child mortality. Even with optimal water management, it is very likely that negative impacts on sustainable development cannot be avoided. Figure 3.8 shows some key cases around the world where freshwater-related climate change impacts are a threat to the sustainable development of the affected regions.

'Sustainable' water resources management is generally sought to be achieved by Integrated Water Resources Management. However, the precise interpretation of this term varies considerably. All definitions broadly include the concept of maintaining and enhancing the environment, and in particular the water environment, taking into account competing users, instream ecosystems, and wetlands. Also, wider environmental implications of water management policies, such as implications for land management, or the implications of land management policies for the water environment, are considered. Water and land governance are important components of managing water in order to achieve sustainable water resources for a range of political, socio-economic and administrative systems (GWP, 2002; Eakin and Lemos, 2006).

Energy, equity, health, and water governance are key issues when linking climate change and sustainable development. However, few studies on sustainability have explicitly incorporated the issue of climate change (Kashyap, 2004). Some studies have taken into account the carbon footprint attributable to the water sector. For example, desalination can be regarded as a sustainable water management measure if solar energy is used. Many water management actions and adaptations, particularly those involving pumping or treating water, are very energy-

Table 3.6. Potential contribution of the water sector to attain the MDGs.


Direct relation to water

Indirect relation to water

Goal 1:

Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Water as a factor in many production activities (e.g., agriculture, animal husbandry, cottage industry) Sustainable production of fish, tree crops and other food brought together in common property resources

Reduced ecosystem degradation improves local-level sustainable development

Reduced urban hunger by means of cheaper food from more reliable water supplies

Goal 2:

Achieve universal education

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