Topic of the Day – United Nations World Water Development Report

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – United Nations World Water Development Report

The United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR) is a global report that provides an authoritative, comprehensive assessment of the world’s freshwater resources. 

  • The report is released annually and is produced by World Water Assessment Programme and is released by UN-Water.
  • The content is generated by the combined efforts of 26 agencies of the UN that constitute UN-Water, working with NGOs, international organizations, governments and other stakeholders.
  • The report examines the means and ways in which the water resources in the world are being exploited and the problems related to water that the various regions of the world are experiencing.


The World Water Development Report 2018 is titled Nature-based solutions (NBS) for water

  • The report was released on the World Water Day during the 8th World Water Forum.
  • The report aims at addressing the contemporary water management challenges across various sectors, in particular, sustainable cities, disaster risk reduction, agriculture and water quality.
  • Nature-based solutions refer to the sustainable management and use of nature for tackling societal and environmental challenges. Water security, food security, water pollution, climate change, disaster risk and human health are some of the challenges.



How can Nature-Based Solutions be used for addressing water problems?

  1. Managing the availability of water:

The water availability could be managed by switching to eco-friendly agricultural practices such as conservation tillage, drip irrigation etc. Eco-friendly systems of water storage could be adopted. Ex: recharge of groundwater, natural wetlands etc.

  1. Water quality management through efficient environment management:

The water quality could be improved with proper management of forests, wetlands, grasslands, soil, recycling nutrients, capturing and retaining pollutants, rehabilitation of ecosystem services etc.

  1. Water-related risks and disaster management:

Nature-based solutions such as water retention by the management of overland flow and infiltration could be practiced, thereby creating space for water storage through the floodplains.

  1. Enhancement of Water Security:

Improvement in the availability of water and the quality of water while simultaneously generating environmental, social and economic benefits and reducing the water-related risks would lead to the enhancement of water security.


Challenges in Using Nature-Based Solutions:

There are certain limitations with respect to the performance of Nature Based Solutions. For example, NBS application at large scale would require huge investments. Moreover, it requires cooperation and coordination among various stakeholders which could be difficult to achieve. There is also a lack of awareness among the policy makers, regional planners etc, as to what nature based solutions can offer. There also remains a historical inertia against NAture Based Solutions due to the dominance of grey infrastructure solutions. 



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