The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The virtual water forum initiated by the secretariat of the third World Water Forum hosts more than 5,300 participants ... As of February 7, 2003 the secretariat of the third Water Forum received 41 session reports representing 12 themes and 4 regional clusters. Despite the limited number of themes and regional discussions included in this section of the VWF final report, it has been made clear from the high level of commitment and achievements to alleviate the world water crisis, that the VWF pre-forum discussions toward the third World Water Forum were a great success.

Actions and guidelines for actions have been realized and proposed by the participants to ensure operational integrated water resources management and basin management; legislative water reforms, efficient groundwater development, protection and integrated policies; flexible trans-boundary management; improve poor and slum dwellers water and living conditions, realize flood protection measures, include human and ethical values in water management, combine space and earth technologies to ensure water security, enhance water education, among other pertinent water issues.

Despite the enormous diversity of water problems around the globe, crossing path toward sustainable solutions of today’s water crisis has been clearly identified. Building an efficient mechanism to strengthen participatory management and involvement of all potential stockholders in the early process of any water development was recognized as one of the principles to build a secure-water world. However, it has been made clear that any proposed mechanism for stakeholders’ involvement won’t be successful unless a clear understanding of the problem and its proposed solutions is achieved. Therefore, legal, financial and scientific support of global information networks publicly accessible in all fields will serve as an archive of best practices, learning material for capacity building and public education, a platform for discussion, and guidance and sharing of experience in every aspect of water resources, ecosystem and environmental development. Strong political will and sound legal reforms at regional basis combined with solid international and trans-boundary partnership involving political authorities, financing bodies and NGOs will undoubtedly reduce, if not eliminate, many of the national and international conflicts on water.

Despite the major difficulties acknowledged by any preparatory work of conferences in the size of the third water forum, the innovative VWF has alleviated all obstacles of regions, time differences and languages. Simply, anyone with basic access to the internet can contribute, discuss, argue and propose solutions and actions to solve water issues beyond any limits of time and place. Visiting and freely subscribing to the first historical VWF website will undoubtedly give a new vision for the future of our water planet.

Poverty in developing countries leads to the settlement of flood-prone areas putting at risk millions of children, aged people and women. The impact of the losses can set back the local and national economy, threatening any large programme for future sustainable development. Lack of global networking and sustainable international dialogue and co-operation will undoubtedly degenerate any initiative for the protection of lakes environments and wetlands ecosystems. Water security for the inhabitants, food security and ecological security are unbalanced imperatives within a catchment. Lack of strategic trade-offs, enforcement and ethically-based water solidarity will undoubtedly enlarge the gap between human-land-water-and-ecosystem. Sedimentation continuously reduces reservoir storage capacity for all users’ benefits.

Besides the valuable storage loss for the future inter-generational water security, adverse impacts on ecosystem, water transparency, sediment balance, nutrient budgets, and river morphology downstream have been widely acknowledged.

A riverine ecosystem is quite complex and diverse. Rational management of the riverine ecosystem is challenged by the importance of suitable eco-compatibility and habitat restoration, an appropriate response to sediment transport, and flood damage mitigation. Devastating floods and severe droughts are the common water problems affecting people, land and economy in Asia’s monsoon regions. Despite, the acknowledged challenges, a comprehensive and effective system for water resources development based on the natural and social values of the regions has not yet been well established.

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