New World Water Quality Alliance To Tackle Global Water Crisis

ISPRA, Italy

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission have launched the World Water Quality Alliance (WWQA).

The Alliance arises from a comprehensive resolution adopted at the third UN Environment Assembly (Dec 2017), to address water pollution to protect and restore water-related ecosystems. Among other things, the resolution calls for better data collection, water monitoring and technologies to recycle and reuse wastewater. The WWQA consists of more than 50 organizations with a wide rage of expertise in fields of water quality science, technology innovation, governance and diplomacy and whose diverse backgrounds will ensure that the work of the Alliance will be useful for a wide spectrum stakeholders.

“I am so pleased that UNEP has been able to catalyse the creation of the World Water Quality Alliance which brings diverse disciplines together to translate science on water quality into action. I cannot highlight enough the importance of the task at hand: because improving water quality is central to environmental sustainability and to ensuring healthy ecosystems, healthy people and a healthy planet,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Program at the 19 September launch.

UNEP indicates that “an estimated 80 per cent of wastewater is released directly into water bodies without treatment. The poor quality of surface water bodies in lakes and rivers, the primary sources of drinking water for millions of people around the world, leads to diarrheal diseases, which are among of the leading causes of death and disease worldwide. In the developing world, upstream pollution may trigger reductions of up to 30-40 per cent in annual GDP growth downstream.”

The purpose of the Alliance is to provide a baseline assessment of global water quality and a continuous overview of global water quality and its drivers. It will also develop evidence-based products to inform improved global, regional and local water management. Working with partners on the ground, WWQA will facilitate a bottom-up approach to co-designing and developing products for mid- to long- term use and operations.