Global leaders gathered in Stockholm Monday for 2014 World Water Week urged the energy and water communities to work together to provide clean drinking water and energy for a growing world population.
With the theme of "Energy and Water," the 24th annual World Water Week is aimed at finding solutions to challenges in optimizing these resources while acknowledging their interdependency — an increase or decrease in one will immediately affect the other. The two are also inseparable from sustainable development, which must be tirelessly promoted in global decision-making.
Addressing the opening session of the Week, Torgny Holmgren, executive director of World Water Week organizer Stockholm International Water Institute, said: "The challenges are immense. With the global demand for water projected to grow by 55 percent between 2000 and 2050 and electricity demand expected to increase by 50 percent in the next two decades, there is an urgent need for a closer relationship between the energy and water communities if we are to provide solutions for all peoples to prosper."
Professor John Briscoe, who will receive the Stockholm Water Prize during a ceremony in Stockholm City Hall on Thursday, spoke about water as a platform for growth, both of other sectors and society as a whole, and said that "developing countries face big challenges. They have yet to mobilize those resources." He added that there is "no eternal solution [to the water crisis], neither here nor there. Instead, there is a cycle of challenges and responses."
In over 100 seminars, workshops and events spread throughout the week, delegates will discuss ongoing and future work, collaboration within and across industries and between the energy and water communities, and tools that will lend themselves to the sustainability of these resources. Case in point: This morning in Stockholm, the U.S. Water Partnership announced the launch of a new platform, H2infO, that offers simple online access to a growing library of U.S.-generated water data and knowledge. H2infO was created to fill a gap in knowledge management identified by the international water community. The Partnership says by the end of 2014, more than 10,000 water resources from leading U.S.-based institutions will be centrally accessible through the expanding tool.