Today is World Water Day. A day to reflect on the importance of water in all of our lives and steps we can take to preserve the world’s most precious resource.
To mark World Water Day, the U.S. Department of State did just that. We took a moment to talk about the world’s water challenges and highlight some of the emerging technologies that can help us bring clean, safe water to those in the world currently without. We called the event U.S. Tech H2.O.
Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Catherine Novelli kicked off the event with a wakeup call to us all on the importance of reliable water supplies for economic development, health, and peace and security. The President’s Science Advisor John Holdren highlighted the power of science and technology to address global water challenges. U.S. Agency for International Development’s Chris Holmes announced the semi-finalists for the Securing Water For Food Grand Challenge For Development, a contest that encourages people around the world to develop solutions to food shortages and poverty through game-changing water technologies and new water management approaches.
Our work doesn’t end when World Water Day is over. From water to climate change, Secretary Kerry is making the environment a top priority on our foreign policy agenda. During his visit to the Mekong Delta in December 2013, he announced an initial commitment of $17 million for USAID’s Vietnam Forest and Deltas Program, which will help the region reverse environmental degradation and adapt to the impacts of climate change, including saltwater intrusion. One of the greatest impacts of climate change will likely be on the hydrological cycle. Greater variability in rainfall will probably increase the number and severity of floods and droughts. Rising sea levels, storm surges, flood damage, and saltwater intrusion are projected to threaten human lives and livelihoods both directly and through diminished freshwater supplies. Technology and innovative approaches can mitigate these impacts.
The United States is committed to building a water secure future. Our goal is a future where no child dies from a water-related disease; no girl fears going to the bathroom or collecting water; and that no war is fought over water.
Everyone must be part of the solution. It’s up to us, and to you, to work together to find solutions to the global water challenge.
To learn more about the water technologies shown at the exhibit, stay tuned to our Facebook page.
For more information about the Department of State’s work on water, please visit our website.
About the Author: Aaron Salzberg is the Special Coordinator for Water Resources in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.