World Water Day: Selected Stories from Policy Innovations

In honor of World Water Day, I compiled some of our top water stories, videos, and reports from Policy Innovations magazine:

STORIES

Global Water Crisis: Selected Resources from Carnegie Council
The need for adequate, affordable drinking and irrigation water is a growing international crisis. Carnegie Council presents a collection of materials on this essential natural resource.

Security and Scarcity: The Two-headed Problem of Asian Hydropolitics
By Saleem H. Ali
With the Tibetan plateau serving as a third pole of available water, and the rift widening between China and the Dalai Lama's government in exile, it is high time that innovative strategies be considered for conflict resolution and water scarcity in Asia.

Ethics Be Dammed? China's Water Projects
By Madeleine Lynn
Advocates of dams point out their potential benefits: protection from floods, clean and safe electricity (as opposed to coal or nuclear power plants), and reservoirs that provide water for drinking and irrigation. But are the benefits worth the social, environmental, and economic costs? The Chinese are going full speed ahead with a spate of giant dams, both at home and abroad. These projects will displace millions of people, adversely affect wildlife, drown historical sites in some cases, and permanently alter and damage the environment.

VIDEOS

Indian Desert Water Innovations
In this TED talk, Anupam Mishra describes the amazing feats of engineering built centuries ago to harvest water in India's Golden Desert. These structures are still used today—and are often superior to modern water megaprojects.

Lifesaver Water Filter
Inventor Michael Pritchard drinks water filtered from a pestiferous cocktail of pond scum, sewage, and rabbit feces to prove the viability of his new Lifesaver water bottle. His nanoscale filter eliminates bacteria and viruses more effectively than common commercial filters, with obvious applications for disease control in developing countries and disaster relief zones. 

A Liter of Light
An innovator in the Manila slums improvises skylights made out of plastic water bottles to illuminate dark housing interiors without electricity. 

REPORTS

Water: A Global Innovation Outlook
This IBM Global Innovations Outlook report on water discusses the necessity of broader data collection in the future, the ways in which the costs of collecting that data can be borne, and how water will need to be allocated and priced in the years to come. 

Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty, and the Global Water Crisis
The United Nations Development Programme's 2006 Human Development Report focuses on the world's most precious natural resource: fresh, potable water. Millions each day go without the water they need. The report indicates that the scarcity at the heart of the global water crisis is rooted in power, poverty, and inequality, not in physical availability.

Low-cost Drip Irrigation as a Poverty-Reduction Tool
IDE India has developed an affordable micro-drip irrigation technology that makes efficient and high yield irrigation accessible to small land holders by bringing the price down by 60 to 80 percent,  assuring that even small-scale farmers in  arid regions of India can use the scarce water resources available to get out of poverty and meet their family's basic economic and nutritional needs.

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Tags: agriculture, development, poverty, rights, security, technology, water

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Carnegie Council

Global Ethics Weekly: Human Rights on the Ground, with Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox

Quinnipiac's Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox discusses her work researching the conception of human rights in a community in rural India. She tells the story of Chaya Kakade, a woman who went on a hunger strike after the Indian government proposed a tax on sanitary napkins, and has since built her own production center in Latur. How does Kakade understand human rights? How can Westerners move beyond a legalistic view of the concept?

The Future is Asian, with Parag Khanna

"The rise of China is not the biggest story in the world," says Parag Khanna. "The Asianization of Asia, the return of Asia, the rise of the Asian system, is the biggest story in the world." This new Asian system, where business, technology, globalization, and geopolitics are intertwined, stretches from Japan to Saudi Arabia, from Australia to Russia, and Indonesia to Turkey, linking 5 billion people.

China's Cognitive Warfare, with Rachael Burton

How is China influencing democracies such as Taiwan, Korea, and the United States? "I think there are three areas that you can look at," says Asia security analyst Rachael Burton. "The first is narrative dominance, which I would call a form of cognitive warfare. Beijing has been able to set the terms of debate . . . and once you're asking the questions, then you're able to drive intellectuals or policymakers to a certain answer."

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