Water solutions for the 21st century
Nick Clark, Environmental Editor at Al Jazeera English started this discussion by asking each panelist to describe some of the main urban water challenges in each of their local contexts. Carla May Berina-Kim, the Executive Director of the Manila Water Foundation, explained that in Manila, illegal water connections lead to quality issues, and that while water coverage is fairly good, only a third of the city has coverage when it comes to sewage. Lack of sewage infrastructure — the result of poor urban planning — is a main cause. Koen Broersma, a Consultant of Urban Water Management at Royal HaskoningDHV described the situation here in Jakarta: water supply is lacking, causing residents to use wells and pumps, which then causes subsidence (land sinking) and flooding. Untreated wastewater flooding to the sea is another major concern. Roch Cheroux, the CEO South East Asia at Suez Environnement explained that in Australia, the driest continent, lack of water is a challenge, as is affordability — utilities are not run efficiently, so costs are high. Also, Australia’s water infrastructure is old, and renewing it would be costly. Finally, Aziza Chaouni, Founding Principal at Aziza Chaouni Projects, indicated that in Morocco, too, lack of water is an issue — especially since agriculture, a major source of income for Moroccans, requires heavy water use. Read more.