This year’s World Water Day on the theme of “water and jobs” provides the perfect opportunity to highlight some of the main conclusions of World Water Council’s program on Water and Green Growth, conducted with the Government of the Republic of Korea from 2010 to 2015. This cooperation led to the launch of its final report at the 7th World Water Forum in April of last year.
Within the context of the post-2015 development agenda, the report provides guidance on developing and implementing water and green growth policies by combining different alternatives based on state-, market- and community-based approaches. A new development paradigm on Water and Green Growth suggests that society can maintain economic growth and environmental sustainability simultaneously through development of green technology and green jobs. For example, better water management can enhance economic productivity by creating more jobs, expanding industrial production, or through utilizing the environment and ecology as cultural and recreational space.
For the report, case studies were conducted from around the world to demonstrate how governance, finance, technology, or even climatic conditions may influence employment, income, or population dynamics.
- In Ecuador for example, water trust funds introduced in early 2000 have found to be an effective way to reach water users. As a result of this successful water management practice, jobs in the local economy were created, and the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) was increased.
- A case study from Egypt describes how better access to water for irrigation increased agricultural productivity and output, as well as employment. Local laborers have been employed and related economic activities have benefited.
- In Turkey, the Golden Horn revitalization project transformed a heavily polluted industrial area through waterfront developments that brought new economic and social vitality, and that have vastly improved the marine and coastal environment and created educational and cultural centers.
These are just few examples how the green growth paradigm promoted sustainability and resulted in new business and employment opportunities.
There is evidence from around the world that underlines the connection between how good water management and green growth practices and policies can lead to sustainable economic, social, and environmental outcomes.