Kicking off August 23rd, World Water Week 2022 came at a time when the urgency of tackling the global water crisis is increasingly evident. Headlines across the world warn of record droughts as well as increased flooding. The theme of Seeing the Unseen: The Value of Water, is therefore substantially relevant.
In the Welcome to World Water Week session Icelandic writer Andri Snaer Magnason discusses the pronounced imbalance of the world’s water system – glaciers are melting and oceans rising at speeds we have not seen for thousands of years. He describes substantial changes occurring at an excessive speed within all elements including soil moisture, permafrost, rain, and snow. Children born today will live in a radically different natural world by the time they are 20.
For the last 30 years, World Water Week has been the leading conference for exploring solutions to tackling the world’s water crisis. Dr Jenny Grönwall from SIWI believes the real value of water must be understood in order to provide solutions as she speaks in the Welcome session: “How we value water changes everything”. This starts with a crucial element of the 2022 theme, unseen water. Scientists and decision-makers are rapidly gaining interest in understanding the water hidden in the soil, aquifers, or in the atmosphere, as it holds the key to tackling the accelerating food and climate crises.
A critical component of the water crisis is groundwater, the topic of a record number of sessions within this year’s event. Professor John Cherry discusses solving rural water poverty by advocating sustainable groundwater use. He states, “groundwater is central to the fight against poverty” making it a key component of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Find more information regarding groundwater here.