Engineering professor provides advice to high level UN conference
27 January 2015
Cardiff School of Engineering’s Professor Roger Falconer, of the Hydro-environmental Research Centre and CH2M HILL Professor of Water Management, has recently returned from participating in a high level UN meeting in Zaragoza, Spain, on Water and Sustainable Development: From Vision to Action.
The meeting focused on addressing sustainable development goals and a range of concerns, including the following:
- Over 1.7 billion people live in river basins where water use exceeds recharge;
- Two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water stressed countries by 2025;
- Demand for water will increase by 55% by 2050;
- Estimates suggest that over 80% of wastewater is discharged without treatment;
- 40% of the world’s population live in basins that overlap two or more countries; and
- Water shortages have been identified by industry, government academia and civil society as one of the top three global risks.
Professor Falconer was the reporter for the 1-day session on “Countries’ experiences in contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals” and on the following day he was one of four panel members in a session on “Key tools and lessons learnt from implementation”.
Professor Falconer expressed his belief that if governments, industry and non-governmental agencies work together to get the Water Footprint recognised in the same way as the Carbon Footprint, then many of the challenges of water security will be much reduced.
He is leading a global initiative through IAHR (International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research) to encourage the introduction of a traffic light system to flag up products and services with a high water footprint as red, and a low water footprint as green, with various shades of colouring in-between, much as one experiences when purchasing a fridge.
His comments were well supported at the UN meeting and this is being followed up with further talks by him on the subject.