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New EU Funding Supports River Basin Management In Estonia, Austria

BRUSSELS, Belgium

New European Union (EU) funding will unlock more than $3.6 Billion USD of additional support to twelve large-scale environmental and climate projects in ten member states to support Europe’s transition to a low-carbon, circular economy. The new funding is part of “The LIFE Program”, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action, and includes support for Estonia and Austria to combine effective river basin management with flood risk management and nature conservation, so that their water bodies can sustain both biodiversity and people.

More Attacks This Week On Eastern Ukraine Water Facilities, Workers

DONETSK, Ukraine

A key pumping station providing water for 1.1 million people in Ukraine was again subjected to shelling and shooting this week, the seventh such attack since the start of 2019.

Belarus Will Spend $50 Million USD On Water Deferrization

MINSK

The state budget will spend an equivalent of over $50 million on water deferrization in 2019-2020 according to Belarusian Housing and Utilities Minister Alexander Terekhov during the international conference held in Minsk on 12 February to discuss modern trends in the development of water supply and wastewater disposal. The official said: “The state raises money for this purpose.

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Russia Declares Plan To Clean Up Most Polluted Cities

MOSCOW

The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has set out to fully clean up Russia’s most polluted cities by 2024 within the framework of the state’s national project known as "Ecology", citing data uploaded to the government’s website on Monday.

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KfW To Fund Modernization, Development Of Water Supply Systems In Central Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine

German Development Bank KfW is reported to be "ready" to spend $22.7 Million USD to support modernization and development of water supply in the central Ukraine Oblast (region) of Dnipropetrovsk.

Efficiencies Urged In Croatia Freshwater Supply Networks

ZAGREB

The Republic of Croatia boasts the largest supply of fresh water in the whole of the territory of the European Union. But when it comes to domestic water supply systems there are some enormous losses, and in some, up to 80 percent of that water is lost through leakage.

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EBRD Finances Tirana Municipal Water Project

TIRANA

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has signed a loan of up to 15 million euro ($17.2 million) to finance a project of Albania’s Tirana Water Supply and Sewage company (UKT) for improving the municipal water services. UKT is a municipal utility company which provides water supply and sewage for the municipalities of Tirana, Vora and Kamza.

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Russian, Chinese Scientists To Cooperate On Lunar Water Search

BARNAUL

Scientists of Altai State Technical University (AltSTU) have won a grant of the Russian Fundamental Research Fund and China’s National Natural Science Fund for 2019-2020, according toVladimir Khmelyov Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor of the Measuring Methods and Instruments and Automation Department at the Biysk Technological Institute (a branch of the AltSTU).

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OOSKAnews Talks - John Matthews, Alliance for Global Water Adaptation

Edinburgh, Scotland

Dr John H. Matthews, co-founder and secretariat coordinator for the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) speaks with David Duncan, Publisher, OOSKAnews in this (LINK) OOSKAnewscast video.

Matthews reflects on December's 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the evolving recognition and presence of "water" as a voice in the UNFCCC. The conversation follows up his "guest column" article for OOSKAnews in December "Climate and Water at COP24: Will We Catch the Current or Be Trapped in the Eddies?"

AGWA is an international network working on climate change adaptation and sustainable water management issues through global policy and technical programs, chaired by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the World Bank. Matthews’ work integrates technical and policy knowledge for climate adaptation for practical implementation. John has worked globally on these issues since 2007 and has authored many publications on adaptive management for water infrastructure and ecosystems. He has a PhD in ecology from the University of Texas and is based in the United States.
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Three Donetsk Water Workers Injured By Gunfire

KYIV, Ukraine

Three water workers in Donetsk, Ukraine, were injured by gunfire January 10, bringing the total to eleven in the past nine months. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani condemned the attack on workers of Voda Donbassu, which delivers water to more than 3.5 million people on both sides of the "contact line" in the politically-divided region.

OOSKAnews coverage of the struggle over Donetsk’s water supply can be found here.

Magical Russian Mushrooms!

NOVOBUREYSKIY

Stunning sculptures appear hanging on trees that were submerged by a giant new reservoir. As the water levels dipped, officials noticed the ‘mushrooms’ made of ice and sprinkled with snow on the tops of partially submerged trees. Senior wildlife official Andrey Tarasov said: 'The so-called 'mushrooms' are half manmade, and the rest is a natural phenomenon.

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Trump Will Appoint New Leader Of World's Biggest Water Infrastructure Lender. Could It Be Ivanka?

WASHINGTON DC, United States

It has been reported that US President Donald J Trump is considering his daughter Ivanka for the soon-to-be-vacant Presidency of the World Bank Group. The Financial Times described the first daughter's name as "floating around Washington" to be the President's nominee. Ivanka Trump, a failed fashion entrepreneur, currently acts as a special adviser to her father. Former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has also been described as a candidate for the role.

In a surprise development World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim is to step down at the end of January. His successor will be selected by the Board of the Group's Executive Directors for a five-year, renewable term. As the largest investor in the WBG, the United States administration of current US President Trump effectively controls the organization's leadership succession. The World Bank Group is the largest single investor in water projects globally.

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Shared Management of Water Resources: A Pioneer Experience

GENEVA, Switzerland

A forty year success story of transboundary governance by Switzerland and France of the Genevois Aquifer ("Nappe du Genevois") was celebrated in Geneva November 29 with a one-day seminar "Shared Management of Resources: A Pioneer Experience on Water".

In Part Two (Part One is linked here) of an OOSKAnews Feature to mark the anniversary, Manager of the Geneva Water Hub Francois Munger recognizes forty years of transboundary governance of the Nappe du Genevois with the following statement:

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Siberia "Toilet of Shame" To Punish Late Payers

IRKUTSK

A water company in the freezing Russian region of Siberia has imposed a public "toilet of shame" outside a tower block, to punish residents who don't pay their bills on time. It's there to show people what will happen if their water is shut off because they didn't pay their bills — and temperatures in Irkutsk can reach -28 Celsius in the winter months.

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A Triumph Of Innovation And Governance: Forty Years Of Cooperation On The Transboundary Genevois Aquifer

GENEVA, Switzerland

A forty year success story of transboundary governance by Switzerland and France of the Genevois Aquifer ("Nappe du Genevois") was celebrated in Geneva November 29 with a one-day seminar "Shared Management of Resources: A Pioneer Experience on Water".

This is Part One of an OOSKAnews Feature to mark the anniversary.

A full audio interview with Alice Aureli, Chief of Groundwater Systems and Settlements Section, UNESCO Water Sciences Division, can be found here on YouTube.

Lake Geneva and the Genevois Aquifer provide drinking water for nearly 700,000 inhabitants of the Franco-Genevese region. The aquifer, shared by the Swiss Canton of Geneva and France's Haute-Savois Department is jointly expolited through ten wells in Switzerland and four wells in France.

In the 1960s and 1970s it was identified that the level of the aquifer had dropped because of large and uncoordinated pumping on both sides of the border, prompting consideration of technical solutions to overexploitation of the groundwater resources, to include artificial recharge of the aquifer during winter, when demand is lower, with water from the Arve River.

An innovative artificial recharge system became operational in 1980 while, in parallel, organizational, administrative, financial, legal and political mechanisms have been deployed with an aim to achieve transboundary consensus on joint management and protection of the groundwater resources. The Genevois Aquifer is to date one of the few examples of an agreement for local level management of a transboundary aquifer.

Since the artificial recharge system's inception, it has allowed an overall contribution of 300 million cubic meters of filtered water to the Genevois Aquifer. OOSKAnews caught up in Geneva with Alice Aureli, Chief of Groundwater Systems and Settlements Section, UNESCO Water Sciences Division. In this audio interview, Aureli describes the functions of UNESCO's International Hydrological Program and her Groundwater Systems and Settlements Section; the importance of groundwater resources as the planet's climate changes; the technical and governance challenges of shared, transboundary groundwater resources around the world; and the lessons that can be learned from the success story of the Genevois Aquifer.

The full audio conversation with Alice Aureli is available here on YouTube.

In a second interview to be transmitted in January, OOSKAnews will talk to Gabriel de los Cobos, Service of Geology Soil and Waste of the State of Geneva about the specific technical and governance challenges of the Genevois Aquifer, and the secrets of the forty year success story.

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Climate and Water at COP24: Will We Catch the Current or Be Trapped in the Eddies?

KATOWICE, Poland

OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest “opinion columns” written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community.

In this article, John H. Matthews, co-founder and secretariat coordinator for the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), which is chaired by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the World Bank, reflects on this month's 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the evolving recognition and presence of "water" as a voice in the UNFCCC.

Matthews’ work integrates technical and policy knowledge for climate adaptation for practical implementation. John has worked globally on these issues since 2007 and has authored many publications on adaptive management for water infrastructure and ecosystems. He has a PhD in ecology from the University of Texas and is based in the United States.
 
I’ve just left COP24 in Katowice, Poland. The UNFCCC COP in Paris three years ago had the Eiffel Tower in its logo - today, we are still living in the shadow of Paris in the negotiations.

I’ve been tracking water in the COP process since COP15 in 2009. The period in between has seen vast changes in the recognition and presence of “water” as a voice in the UNFCCC. Back then, my first impression was that everyone was talking about water impacts but no one seemed to realize that they were constantly referring to water management decisions. Water was present but the water community was invisible.

The next year - 2010 - was the Cancun, Mexico, conference. Water was covered in a single unofficial side event organized by the World Bank; water was figuratively outside of the COP — but literally as well, some 20 km away from the negotiations. But word was leaking out. The message that climate adaptation for people and ecosystems was largely about water began to permeate the COP.

The 2015 Paris Agreement marked a huge transition. Overall, we had a clear framework for talking about both emissions and adaptation at national and global levels. Although water was not named in the Paris Agreement, the water community for the first time began communicating with largely one voice through #ClimateIsWater, while the French, Moroccans, Germans, Dutch, and others sponsored the first UNFCCC Water Action Day to recognize how the UNFCCC is in many ways really the first global water and climate convention — water for clean energy, for carbon sequestration, and for effective and enduring climate adaptation.

Making Polish Sausage at COP24: How Much Can We See?

This year - last Friday - we celebrated the third year of having water formally engaged, with extensive water events looking at climate mitigation and adaptation and how the water community can help achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Many of our messages from 2009 and 2010 have become truisms - almost throwaway lines.

But the Paris shadow is long and dark, at least in places. So far, negotiators have not agreed on the urgency of action. The US and many Persian Gulf states have effectively opposed endorsement of the IPCC’s 1.5 degree report. The role of climate change in human migration and displacement remains deeply controversial and sensitive. And many countries are struggling with meeting and clarifying their national goals - the Nationally Determined Contributions to global targets, or NDCs - even as they must revise their first five-year targets to prepare for new, more hopefully more rigorous targets in 2020. The broad aspirations of Paris are becoming more pressing and also need to become more specific and strict. That transition is the challenge now facing negotiators this week.

Water too is facing new challenges. I was the only “sectoral” specialist to speak in an official UNFCCC event on water and finance. Most of the other speakers celebrated new finance vehicles for clean energy and mobilizing large pools of capital for climate mitigation. Only a few also mentioned adaptation.

My turn came to speak. I began by stating that the discussion had largely focused on the quantity of investment, but we had said almost nothing about the quality of that investment. Systemic risks were present in our investment frameworks if we did not recognize that the deep uncertainties in water management for both mitigation and adaptation threatened our ability to achieve most climate goals. Only within the past few years had the water community had only just begun to coalesce and promote methods to address these uncertainties, but few financial institutions recognized these concerns as significant issues. Thus, the finance community needed to use funding vehicles to signal to broader markets and decision makers that our long-term climate security and investment paradigm must float on a pool of resilient water resource for robustness and flexibility.

My points, however, were not heard.

I was silenced - my microphone turned off by the chair before I had finished my talking points. The moderator looked harshly at me: “These are not investment issues and thus not relevant to this discussion.”

Water still has some way to flow, some opposition to erode.

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EU Supports Turkmenistan Capacity Building

ASHGABAT

On December 5-6, Ashgabat hosted a workshop and a meeting of an Inter-sectoral Working Group on the development of multi-sector investment projects for achieving water, energy and food security in Turkmenistan within the European Union funded Nexus project, the EU Liaison Office in Turkmenistan reported.

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Veolia Exec Fauchon Is WWC Prez Again

KATOWICE, Poland

The Board of Governors of the World Water Council (WWC) has unanimously elected Loïc Fauchon as its new president, succeding Brazilian Benedito Braga. Fauchon was previously WWC president from 2005 to 2012, and has now been re-elected in 2018. Fauchon is also president of Eaux de Marseille in France, a subsidiary of Veolia, the international water and waste conglomerate.The returning WWC president will have an opportunity to describe WWC priorities December 7 at COP24 in Poland at a special water event where he is scheduled to offer concluding remarks.

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