Managing water resources sustainably

Srepok River, Vietnam. Efficient water use in coffee production.
Efficient water use in coffee production in the river basin of the Srepok, which feeds into the Mekong river. © Alisher Sharypau

Demand for water continues to grow while the total volume of water available on the planet is limited and increasingly exposed to pollution. The main challenge is to manage the water sustainably and achieve an equitable distribution of water between households, agriculture and industry as well as between countries. The SDC is working to promote sustainable water use between sectors and peaceful cooperation across borders.

SDC Focus

The SDC is committed to achieving sustainable management of water resources to ensure access to water and reduce the risks of environmental degradation and conflicts. It strives to link peacebuilding with sustainable management of water resources in regions where tensions exist, and promote the efficient use, reuse and proper management of water in areas where it is in short supply.

Background

Transboundary cooperation

The SDC promotes dialogue between countries, which rely on the same river basin for their water supply. Sharing policy frameworks and technical information can help deflate existing or nascent tensions and conflicts. Switzerland, as a neutral actor with experience in mediation and acknowledged expertise in water management, is ideally placed to facilitate such discussions. At the technical level, , the SDC also supports common methods of measurement for determining the quality of water available and the quantities of water used. This data enables decision-makers to speak a common language when it comes to the management of shared water resources, and thus work together to set and reach commonly defined objectives.

Water – a commodity to be valued

Water is not free. Its protection, distribution and treatment obey the same economic laws as any other consumer good. At the same time, water is a resource to which everyone should have access, including the poorest and marginalised populations. The SDC develops mechanisms for making better use of water and promoting the reuse of wastewater.  The mechanisms provide incentives to manage water sustainably and construct environmentally friendly infrastructure in a particular region or industry.

For example, the SDC is involved alongside major corporations in facilitating the transfer of knowledge in relation to the water footprint, an indicator that enables the water used in the whole manufacturing cycle of a product to be better managed. The SDC is also pursuing the development of the 'Water Stewardship Standard' which aims to encourage all actors from business, government and civil society to take responsibility for their particular impacts on this shared resource and to work together to achieve sustainable management. Payment mechanisms are also being developed for compensating populations in the river basin areas for protecting water resources.

Current challenges

By 2030, demand for water is expected to rise by 30% while the degradation in quality caused by pollution will reach unprecedented levels.  Worldwide, 80% of urban and industrial wastewater is discharged into the environment without prior treatment. The majority of the time, the self-purification capacity of aquatic ecosystems is largely insufficient to be able to cope with such large volumes. Furthermore, agriculture requires a great deal of water, accounting for almost 70% of global consumption.  However, water is often used inefficiently and can be contaminated by fertilisers and pesticides. In addition, industry currently uses 22% of water and as it continues to grow will put water resources under even greater pressure.

By 2025, half of the world's population will be living in regions suffering permanent water scarcity, which will have the effect of weakening local economies and force millions of people to relocate. That is why it is already especially important today to use water so as to preserve its regenerative capacity and allow it to be distributed equitably.

Documents

Current projects

Object 1057 – 1068 of 1075

North Tajik II Water Supply Project

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2021

Urban water supply in Tajikistan is in bad condition due to the lack of maintenance since the break-up of the Soviet Union. This project aims at improving the water supply in four cities in the North of Tajikistan through the combination of three components: physical investments, corporate development and consumer participation.


Sustainable Cities in Colombia and Peru

01.11.2012 - 31.12.2020

The private sector can be a source of urban infrastructure financing to close the growing infrastructure gap in Latin America. The IFC LAC Sustainable Cities Program will provide advisory services to support selected cities in attracting the private sector to develop a pool of implementable and bankable high impact infrastructure projects.


Competitive Industries and Innovation Program

03.10.2012 - 31.03.2022

Competitiveness strategies have recently gained renewed attention by focusing on specific industries. They target policies and public investments, catalyze private investments, and foster innovation systems with a view to growing those industries and therefore supporting job creation.


Partnership on Sustainable Urban Development - Phase II

01.07.2012 - 30.06.2023

The WB Trust Fund for Sustainable Urban Development - Phase II, is a continuation of the existing strategic cooperation with the World Bank on sustainable urban development. It will support cities in developing countries to sustainably plan and manage urban development with the help of evidence provided by the program.


The Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH

01.07.2012 - 31.12.2021

IDH is a neutral convener that brings together companies in a safe pre-competitive arena, acts as facilitator to organize cooperation between companies, NGOs, governments, knowledge institutes, banks and trade unions. IDH kick-starts sustainability programs by co-funding and de-risking private investments, and helps exploring new concepts that will help create scalable, self-sustaining solutions that deliver impact at scale on Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on: improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers and increased, decent incomes for workers to help end poverty (SDG1), promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth (SDG 8), improve gender equality (SDG 5), nutrition (SDG 2) and help to halt deforestation (SDG 15) and reduce toxic loading.


Syrdarya Water Supply Project

30.05.2012 - 31.12.2021

In 2011, the World Bank approved a large water management project in the predominantly rural Syrdarya region with a WB-IDA-share of USD 88 million, in which the participation of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO with a parallel financing was sought. The SECO project is a complementary and self-contained operation. It comprises (i) an investment component aimed at the rehabilitation of the Beshbulok water pumping station and its well fields, a backbone of regional water supply and of Gulistan the capital of Syrdarya province (260'000 inhabitants). It also includes targeted physical investment measures in selected villages in the vicinity of Beshbulok- and (ii) an institutional component consisting of a corporate development programme for three pilot water utilities (Bukhara, Samarkand, Syrdarya) and a limited number of selective and targeted regulatory framework measures. The objective of the institutional component is the creation of a sound basis for financial and operational sustainability of the three water utilities.



Waste Water Treatment Plant in Thala and Feriana

01.03.2012 - 31.12.2021

This project aims at implementing wastewater infrastructure in the cities of Thala (15'000 inhabitants) and Fériana (27'000 inhabitants) in the Governorate of Kasserine, Tunisia. The infrastructure includes the financing of the treatment plants, the extension of the wastewater networks and pumping stations for both cities.


Emission Reduction in Cities - Solid Waste Management IND

01.01.2012 - 31.12.2020

Cities are important producers of greenhouse gases and at the same time highly affected by the impact of climate change, e. g. by more frequent flooding events which lead amongst others to loss of property and a spread of diseases. Solid waste management is part of Indonesia's strategy to address climate change. The programme foresees to support investments in solid waste treatment in different Indonesian cities, which have climate impacts. Besides the investments, consulting services are foreseen to support city efforts to manage their solid waste in a sustainable way. As a complementary component, the Swiss research institute Eawag will carry out applied research to identify market opportunities for recycling of organic waste and will develop these technologies in a showcase pilot situation.


Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Program in Ukraine

01.10.2011 - 31.12.2020

The project "Promoting the adaptation and adoption of RECP (Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production) through the establishment and operation of a Cleaner Production Centre in Ukraine" aims at enhancing the resource productivity, competitiveness and environmental performance of industry in Ukraine.


Indonesian-Swiss Intellectual Property (ISIP), Phase II

14.09.2011 - 31.12.2020

Intellectual property rights support economic competitiveness and innovation. With its rich cultural diversity and 56 million SMEs, Indonesia has a strong potential to strengthen its creative industries. ISIP-2 supports Indonesia?s strategy to bolster innovation and income generation by improving stakeholder awareness, access and benefits from a robust Intellectual Property framework.


Europe and Central Asia : PPP Transaction Advisory Program

01.06.2011 - 31.12.2022

The ECA Program, managed by the International Finance Corporation IFC, is providing infrastructure transaction advisory and capacity building services to the public sector authorities to promote Public-Private Partnerships in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia.

Object 1057 – 1068 of 1075