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 1093 – 1104 of 1107

Africa Corporate Governance Program

01.02.2014 - 30.06.2020

The regional program aims to improve corporate governance policies and practices in selected countries in Africa. By promoting good corporate governance operational efficiency and performance of companies can be improved.


Tax Administration Diagnostic and Assessement Tool (TADAT) Trust Fund

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019

The overall objective of the TADAT Trust Fund is to establish a methodology and a tool for assessing tax administration performance, the Tax Administration Diagnostic and Assessment Tool (TADAT). The activities include the drafting of the diagnostic tool itself (the TADAT), the definition of the institutional setting ant governance structure around the TADAT, the establishment of the TADAT Secretariat, the conduct of pilot diagnostic assessments, and the establishment of appropriate quality assurance mechanisms.


Sanad Fund

01.01.2014 - 31.03.2028

The Sanad Fund is an investment vehicle, that provides debt and equity financing to banks and microfinance institutions. The ultimate beneficiaries are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The Middle East and North African region is the main target region of the Sanad Fund.


North Tajik II Water Supply Project

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019

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.


Wastewater Treatment Plant Gjakova with KfW

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019

SECO is entering with this project the domain of wastewater treatment by cofinancing the construction of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Gjakova with KfW.


Support to the State Audit of Vietnam

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019

Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) are key in any Public Financial Management system because they foster accountability and transparency. The State Audit of Vietnam (SAV) is Vietnam's external oversight function. It has recently gained constitutional recognition and has formulated a comprehensive development plan.


Improved Water and Wastewater Services Program - Phase II

01.07.2013 - 31.12.2023

The Improved Water and Wastewater Services Program - Phase II (IWSP II) plans to increase the coverage of water supply systems and wastewater treatment infrastructure in four Governorates of Upper Egypt (Qena, Assiout, Minya, Sohag).


The Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH

30.06.2013 - 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.


Kant Water Supply Project

01.06.2013 - 31.12.2019

SECO has a longstanding partnership with the Kyrgyz Government aiming to develop and strengthen the urban water and sewerage sector of the country. Responding to the significant institutional and infrastructural needs, SECO engaged in 2013 in the Kant Water Supply Project (Phase I) on co-financing basis with EBRD. The municipality and water company have engaged in a public private partnership scheme. The project will rehabilitate the water and partly the waste water infrastructure of Kant and improve the management of the water company. The project with an overall budget of EUR 7,65 million, will be financed by an EBRD loan of EUR 1,5 mio., a grant by EBRD of EUR 0,45 mio. and a grant by SECO of EUR 5,7 mio.



Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services

01.03.2013 - 31.12.2019

Human wellbeing is highly dependent on ecosystems and biodiversity, yet these critical natural resources are being degraded at alarming rates. Part of the solution lies in better informed policy making, in both public and private sectors, which take into account the full value of the benefits from ecosystems. WAVES and the Natural Capital Accounting Program help developing countries to value their natural capital and ecosystem services and how to use this information for policy making in favour of a sustainable development.


Public finance management - Subnational Strengthening Program

14.02.2013 - 31.12.2019

This program aims at providing technical assistance and training to Peruvian subnational governments in the area of public finance management (PFM). The objective is to improve public services delivery and increase cost transparency at the decentralized level. In Peru, regional governments and local governments represent more than 40% of total public spending. However, very little systematic action has been directed so far to support the strengthening and modernization of regional and local governments, thus reducing the capacity of sub-national governments to soundly deliver key public services in areas such as education, health, water and sanitation, waste management, public transport, and security.

Object 1093 – 1104 of 1107