Back to the Future: Affordable Water Technology as the Key to Meeting the post-2015 SDGs
By admin May 22, 2015


Science and technology have much to offer for development, and it is only by going back to the future, that we are able to advance this nexus with a view of meeting the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by 2030.

The post-2015 SDGs have several water-oriented targets.SDG 6 proposes to: “ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” The other various goals include the safe use and development of water resources, reducing water pollution, mortality and economic losses from water-oriented natural disasters and not least of all, safe drinking water and sanitation for all.

Policies aimed at making drinking water more affordable, may come at the expense of improving irrigation water systems. Earlier this year, The Committee for World Food Security, based in Rome issued a Report stating that enhanced technology could benefit irrigation systems used in farming.

In light of SDG 6, we are reminded that climate change is already placing unprecedented strains on fresh water supplies. The countries which may be severely affected by these strains are those in low rainfall areas such as: Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Farming techniques, including rain-fed agriculture, as well as, advanced technologies for storing and harvesting water while reducing losses due to evaporation; hold the potential to make impressive and substantial strides in meeting the SDGs. Moreover, these measures may also see to it that there is no unequal strain placed on drinking water.

Toby Bruce, of Rothamsted Research, stated: “Agriculture uses 70 per cent of the world’s freshwater extraction, which means improvements in efficiency could make a big difference.” However, this difference does not guarantee that access to drinking water will not be affected. An excessive focus on concepts such as water for food security and nutrition should not compromise on the most vulnerable populations and urban communities’ access to water.

Technologies aimed at abating this have already taken  place in parts of Africa for instance, where satellite imaging is used to assist water management in Africa. This includes the TIGER project led by the African Ministers’ Council on Water, to consider the status of water resources across many African countries.

Another point for consideration is that an equal prioritisation of SDGs without reinforcing gender bias needs to be advanced in view of the competition between water for irrigation and the customary water rights of women. This can be achieved, across the board, through increased technical and lasting solutions to access to water.

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Thanks for sharing !

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