9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
LASPAU, 25 Mt Auburn St, Suite 300, Cambridge, MA
By approximately 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in water-scarce regions
Humans are drawing down groundwater reserves at an alarming pace, leaving communities thirsty and landscapes parched. Contamination of lakes and rivers is epidemic worldwide, with high-volume water uses such as fracking leaving many water consumers uneasy about where their next glass of clean water will come from. One in eight people worldwide do not have access to improved sources of drinking water. Despite UN passage of the human right to water and sanitation, over 1 billion people do not have adequate sanitation. Approximately 3.5 million people die each year due to inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene—and nearly all of these preventable deaths occur in the developing world.
The water crisis is not merely an environmental issue. Rather, it is a multidimensional problem that has far-reaching implications for human rights, global health and economic development.
So what are the solutions to these problems—and what is the role of funders in supporting them?
It’s not enough to simply build one well or to plant one tree. Ensuring water flow to people and ecosystems remains a public responsibility. How can funders work with complex networks of NGOs, water utility managers, and municipal governments to ensure plentiful clean water for all? For example, what investments in “green infrastructure” and reforested watersheds are needed—and how can donors help to finance them? How do we help build the capacity of individuals and community groups to assume ownership and work in alliance for sustainable solutions?
As international donors, we all grapple with questions of collaboration and sustainability on a daily basis. EcoLogic and The Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) are two fascinating organizations tackling these challenges in quite different environments. Ecologic works with farmer organizations, environmental groups and municipalities on watershed recovery across Mexico and Central America. CRWA mobilizes citizen scientists and collaborates with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority to steward our very own Charles River. They have recently partnered with an organization in the Dominican Republic to share best practices and support their efforts. Please join us in exploring how to solve the global water crisis together!
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