World Water Week agenda to offer future water perspectives

The first global, comprehensive United Nations evaluation of world water resources (published in March 2003) was a wake-up call to water professionals and political decision-makers worldwide.

Experts from 100 countries participating in August 10-16 World Water Week in Stockholm

Aug. 8, 2003 -- The first global, comprehensive United Nations evaluation of world water resources (published in March 2003) was a wake-up call to water professionals and political decision-makers worldwide.

In stark terms, it highlighted the scale of world water problems: by 2050 seven billion people in 60 countries may be facing water scarcity, about 2 million tons of waste are dumped into rivers, lakes and streams each day, and some seven million people die each year of waterborne diseases.

A Time to Focus on Freshwater

2003 is also the United Nations International Year of Freshwater. With that in mind, water experts and stakeholders from more than 100 countries will assemble August 10-16 for the well-known World Water Week in Stockholm to examine the causes and effects of the most pressing global water-related issues, as well as strategies for tackling them.

The programme for the 2003 World Water Week and Stockholm Water Symposium focuses on many key water-related topics, from agricultural subsidies to so-called "virtual water", i.e. the water required to produce food for consumption. Experts will examine, for example, if the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved, and whether the targets to halve by 2015 the proportion of the world's population lacking safe drinking water and safe sanitation are realisable.

A Global Meeting of Minds

Many prominent international organisations have chosen to utilise Stockholm in its role as a main annual global platform for continuing dialogue on key water-related issues.

Among others these include a seminar by the European Union on its major Water Initiative for Africa, and another on the water shared by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority Areas. Other highlights during the week include the launch of the Final Report of the 3rd World Water Forum and the annual meeting of the Global Water Partnership.

Moving From Words to Action

By discussing the practical implementation of actions and initiatives launched during the 3rd World Water Forum, last year's World Summit and other major events, participants will contribute to finding the answers.

Since many answers will mainly be found at the river basin level, the 13th Stockholm Water Symposium takes this perspective with the theme of "Drainage Basin Security - Balancing Production, Trade and Water Use."

Honouring Excellence

Solving the world's water crisis will depend upon human ingenuity in the water-related fields. Impressive work is already be done and will be honoured during the World Water Week.

The $150,000 Stockholm Water Prize will be presented by HM King Carl XVI Gustaf to German Professor Peter A. Wilderer, and teams of young people from 26 countries will compete for the 2003 Stockholm Junior Water Prize. In addition, the Stockholm Industry Water Award and Swedish Baltic Sea Water Award will be presented to two companies showing innovation from inside and outside of the water sector, respectively.

Water prizes and other events of interest

Prize ceremonies are open to accredited journalists, and high-resolution photos will be available at following the prize ceremonies.

Stockholm Junior Water Prize Award Ceremony
Tuesday, August 12

Nearly 60 young people from 26 countries are competing for the 2003 Stockholm Junior Water Prize during this week. The winning country will be announced during a ceremony at Nybrokajen 11 on August 12 and the prize presented by HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.

Young people from the following countries are participating in 2003: Argentina, Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the USA.

Stockholm Industry Water Award Ceremony
Wednesday, August 13

ZENON Environmental Inc., an environmental technology company that has developed an energy efficient, innovative, compact and forward-looking membrane concept, is the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Stockholm Industry Water Award.

Dr. Andrew Benedek, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ZENON, will receive the award on behalf of the company from Stockholm Water Foundation Chairman Stig Larsson during the Founders Luncheon on August 13.

Swedish Baltic Sea Water Award Presentation
Thursday, August 14, 10:10, Stockholm City Conference Centre, Folkets Hus Frantschach Swiecie SA, a pulp and paper producer in Poland, is the winner of the 2003 Swedish Baltic Sea Water Award for its outstanding efforts over the last 10 years to reduce both its pollution discharge to the Vistula River and its overall water consumption.

The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs will present the award to Frantschach Swiecie SA, represented by its Chairman Krzystof Sedzikowski and Managing Director Maciej Kunda.

Stockholm Water Prize Award Ceremony and Royal Banquet
Thursday, August 14

Professor Peter A. Wilderer of the Technical University of Munich, who has promoted and developed holistic, interdisciplinary research for more than 30 years in the pursuit of sustainable water use and sanitation, is the 2003 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate.

HM King Carl XVI Gustaf will present the 2003 Stockholm Water Prize to Professor Wilderer during a ceremony in the Stockholm City Hall on August 14.

Water is Art - Art is Water
Water Photography, Art and Sculpture Exhibition, Folkets Hus/Stockholm City Conference Sunday, August 10 - Saturday, August 16

Water, the precious substance connecting the mosaic of life, has through the ages been a subject of artistic interpretation. Gunilla Hedén, ART.27 and Stina Axelsson, PLIMSOLL will present a unique exhibition in connection with the World Water Week in Stockholm and the Stockholm Water Symposium. Some of the most famous Swedish water artists will have their works on display, and can be met at this exhibition on Monday, August 11.

Film and Discussion
Friday, August 15

The Aquaria Water Museum in Stockholm is showing a 35- minute documentary from the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto last March entitled Reclaiming Water, and to join in a discussion on international water-management strategies directly after the screening. The film is produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Angela Alston and presents the views of grassroots activists like Vandana Shiva (Water Wars) and Maude Barlow (Blue Gold: The Fight to End the Corporate Theft of the World's Water).

General Water Statistics

The numbers provided below and elsewhere in this document are regularly published in United Nations, World Bank - and other international organisations'- publications. However, the figures can vary as each organisation applies its own criteria.

Over the next 20 years, the world's population will increase from six billion to an estimated 7.2 billion, while the average supply of water per person is expected to drop by one-third.

Source: World Water Assessment Programme, 2003 Water and sanitation

1.4 billion people do not have access to safe water.
2.3 billion inhabitants lack adequate sanitation.
7 million people die each year of water-borne diseases, including 2.2 million children under the age of 5. Daily water use per inhabitant totals 600 liters in residential areas of North America and Japan, and between 250 and 350 liters in Europe, while daily water use per inhabitant in sub-Saharan Africa averages just 10 and 20 liters.

In the past 100 years, the world population has tripled, but water use by humans has multiplied six fold. Source: "World Water Vision, Making water everybody's business", World Water Council, 2000

Distribution of global population lacking adequate sanitation, by region:
- Europe: 2%
- Africa: 13%
- Asia: 80%
- Latin America and the Caribbean: 5%
- Total: 2.4 billion people

Source: Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report, WHO/UNICEF

Median percentage of wastewater treated by effective treatment plants, by region:
- Africa: 0%
- Asia: 25%
- Latin America & the Caribbean: 14%
- North America: 90%
- Europe: 66%

Source: Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 200 Report, WHO/UNICEF

Water resources

Water covers 70% of the planet, but more than 97.5% of this surface water is ocean, which is not usable in industry, agriculture or as drinking water. Consequently, the freshwater on which we depend represents just 2.5% of all available water.

However, three-quarters of this fresh water is trapped in the form of snow and ice, notably in the polar icecaps and in Greenland.

Source: "Water, a world financial issue", PricewaterhouseCoopers, series "Sustainable development" March 2001

Annually, 110,000 billion cubic metres of rainwater falls on earth, of which 70,000 billion cubic metres evaporated before they can be used. This means that just 40,000 billion cubic metres remain, however, a great deal of what remains is inaccessible or not evenly spread, which gives just 12,500 billion cubic metres. This global volume is nevertheless, sufficient for all human needs. Source: UNESCO

Water scarcity today afflicts 250 million people in 26 countries, with each person having access to an annual volume of less than 1000 m3.

Source: "Water, a world financial issue", PricewaterhouseCoopers, series "Sustainable development" March 2001

Worldwide water withdrawal by sector:
- Agriculture: 70% - but still 800 million people remain hungry
- Industry: 22%
- Domestic needs: 8%

Source: "World Water Vision, Making water everybody's business", World Water Council, March 2000

Water conflicts

The world numbers 215 trans-boundary rivers whose basins cover 50% of all land areas. Thirty two percent of national borders are formed by water. Consequently, no fewer than 300 potential water-conflict zones have been identified by the UN.

Source: "Water, a world financial issue", PricewaterhouseCoopers, series "Sustainable development"

Water storage

There are 25,400 large dams throughout the world, that are divided into two main categories:
- 18,000 are single-purpose dams, of which approximately 48% are for irrigation and therefore contribute greatly to food production.
- 7,400 are multipurpose dams, of which approximately 15% are used for domestic and industrial water supply and approximately 20% generate electricity (in Europe alone, around 40% are hydro power dams). Other purposes include, in decreasing order of importance, flood control (8%), recreational uses (4%) and, to a lesser degree, inland navigation and fish farming.

The breakdown of dams per geographical zone is as follows:
- Africa: 5 %
- North America: 30.61%
- South America: 2.66%
- Asia: 33.38%
- Europe: 24.38%

Source: International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD)

Water and climate

Based on data for the period 1950 to 1998, the number of major flood disasters has grown considerably world-wide from decade to decade -- six cases in the 1950s, seven in the 1960s, eight in the 1970s, 18 in the 1980s, and 26 in the 1990s.

The number of significant flood disasters in the decade of the 1990s was higher than in the three decades combined from 1950 to 1979. Floods in the period from 1971 to 1995 affected more than 1.5 billion people worldwide.

This total includes 318,000 killed and more than 81 million made homeless.

Source: The International Red Cross

The average global sea level rise from 1990 to the year 2100 is expected to be 0.48 meters (19 inches), between twice and four times the rate of rise over the 20th century.

For more information, please visit the web site of the Stockholm International Water Institute,

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