World Water Day at IPVF: Raising awareness on the global water crisis

26 March 2021

Monday 22 March 2021 – Researchers from IPVF gathered to raise awareness and discuss about water-related issues.

The World Water Day at IPVF started off with an introductory presentation by PhD student Cécilia Tel from the ImproveForce, who highlighted the importance of freshwater in our society, particularly in agriculture (70% of global freshwater use). An emphasis was placed on the fact that today 1 out of 3 people in the world have limited access to safe drinking water. Very often, it is not a result of the scarcity of water but rather a poor management of this vital resource both at the global and regional scale (NGOs, local government, private companies). As it turns out, water and energy are intricately connected: producing energy uses water and providing freshwater uses energy. Consequently, abuses and tensions may arise from this water-energy dependency: a ‘culture of water’ should be developed to deal with these challenges.

As an Institute for the Energy Transition (ITE), IPVF researchers have reflected upon technologies which could help avert the global water crisis, such as the installation of solar panels on energy-intensive water treatment and desalination plants. Davide Regaldo, another PhD student part of the ImproveForce, drew the attention to the consequences of poor sanitation conditions in some areas of the world due to the lack of water. The “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’ initiated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was brought to light, with the aim of highlighting how technological innovations can address global challenges. International and national policies regarding water management were also discussed. Although we cannot influence such policies per se, it was agreed that at the individual level, contribution to change starts with self-education, knowledge sharing and raising awareness. Therefore, similar discussions will continue to be pursued within the IPVF community in order to nurture insightful ideas which can eventually be turned into actions.

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