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Knowledge and capacity development in the water sector: special issue of Water Policy

Water management is particularly dependent on strong capacity, a solid knowledge base and awareness at all levels, including those of the individual, the organization, the sector institutions and the ‘enabling environment’. Yet getting all levels to operate in a coherent manner is challenging, and requires vision and leadership. A special issue of Water Policy seeks to further the understanding of leadership in knowledge and capacity development in the water sector. However, its theoretical and methodological insights will be of interest beyond that arena. The special issue resulted from selected papers presented at the 5th Delft Symposium on Water Sector Capacity Development held in Delft, The Netherlands. The best thing: they are free to download!

 
UN-Water’s technical advice on a possible Water Goal: «Securing sustainable water for all»

What should be to role of water in the Post-2015 Development Agenda? This was one of the questions in the expert consultation process that UN-Water undertook all year during 2013 to help UN Member States in their forthcoming intergovernmental negotiations. The outcome – an evidence-based paper and an Executive Summary – recommends a prioritization of water through a dedicated goal with five interlinked targets, that builds on and extends existing commitments such as the Millennium Development Goals and the priorities agreed at Rio+20. But what is the goal? Securing sustainable water for all!

 
Improving food security in the Sahel is difficult, but achievable

Africa’s Sahel suffers from degraded soils, erratic rainfall, and an exploding population – all of which hold huge implications for the region’s food security. This year the situation is especially dire. Valerie Amos, the United Nations coordinator for emergency relief, estimated that 20 million people in the Sahel will face hunger this year, requiring $2 billion in food aid. WRI’s Chris Reij writes about it. 

 
Paris should prepare for risk of a costly Seine flood, says OECD

A major flooding of the Seine River similar to the flood disaster of 1910 could affect up to 5 million residents in the greater Paris area and cause up to 30 billion euros worth of damage, according to a new OECD report. Economic growth, jobs and public finances could also be significantly affected. The OECD Review on Flood Risk Management of the Seine River – commissioned by the Basin Organisation Seine Grands Lacs with the French Ministry of Ecology and Ile-de-France regional council – recommends that city officials work to raise risk awareness among citizens and businesses and improve the resilience of the metropolitan area to flood risks.

 
Herders fight farmers over Tanzania water

Tanzanian authorities are finding it increasingly difficult to deal with ongoing conflicts between farmers and pastoralists as they fight over limited land and water resources in this East African nation. From Tanzania’s Coast Region to Kilimanjaro, violent and sometimes deadly clashes have been raging for decades as farmers and pastoralists scramble for resources.

 
Human and climate impacts on global water resources

Over past decades, terrestrial water fluxes have been affected by humans at an unprecedented scale and the fingerprints that humans have left on Earth’s water resources are turning up in a diverse range of records. In his PhD thesis, Yoshihide Wada developed a state-of-the-art global hydrological model (GHM) and global water demand model. These were eventually coupled to quantify and distinguish human and climate impacts on surface freshwater and groundwater resources. Yoshihide Wada’s thesis is composed of three major parts: Part 1. Human and climate impacts on surface freshwater resources; Part 2. Global assessment of groundwater resources; Part 3. Integrated modeling and indicators of global water resources. Yoshihide Wada was promoted cum laude!

 
Extensive liquid meltwater storage in firn within the Greenland ice sheet

Mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet contributes significantly to present sea level rise. High meltwater runoff is responsible for half of Greenland’s mass loss. Surface melt has been spreading and intensifying in Greenland, with the highest ever surface area melt and runoff recorded in 2012. However, how surface melt water reaches the ocean, and how fast it does so, is poorly understood. Firn – partially compacted snow from previous years – potentially has the capacity to store significant amounts of melt water in liquid or frozen form, and thus delay its contribution to sea level. A paper in Nature Geoscience presents direct observations from ground and airborne radar, as well as ice cores, of liquid water within firn in the southern Greenland ice sheet: a firn aquifer.

 
Dutch-Palestinian academic cooperation programme to increase water security in Palestine

As part of the first Dutch-Palestinian cooperation forum, 5 Dutch and 5 Palestinian universities signed a Memorandum of Understanding for an academic cooperation programme on joint education, research and training to improve the capacity in the Palestinian water sector.

 
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