Opening Plenary

World Water Week: Energy and water communities must cooperate to meet global challenges

Stockholm (2014-09-01) – Global leaders gathered in Stockholm today for the 24th annual World Water Week, urging the energy and water communities to work together to face some of the main challenges of our time, providing clean drinking water and energy for a growing world population.

The theme of 2014 World Water Week is “Energy and Water”. Water and energy are interdependent in more ways than not. We need energy for pumping, storing, transporting and treating water, we need water for producing almost all sorts of energy. An increase or decrease in one will immediately affect the other. The two resources are also inseparable from sustainable development and must be tirelessly promoted in global decision-making.

Addressing the opening session of the Week, Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of World Water Week organiser Stockholm International Water Institute, said: “The challenges are immense. With the global demand for water projected to grow by 55 per cent between 2000 and 2050 and electricity demand expected to increase by 50 per cent in the next two decades, there is an urgent need for a closer relationship between the energy and water communities if we are to provide solutions for all peoples to prosper.”

Professor John Briscoe, 2014 Laureate of Stockholm Water Prize, spoke about water as a platform for growth, both of other sectors and society as a whole, and said that “developing countries face big challenges. They have yet to mobilise those resources.” He added that there is “no eternal solution [to the water crisis], neither here nor there. Instead, there is a cycle of challenges and responses.”

In over 100 seminars, workshops and events spread throughout the week, delegates will discuss ongoing and future work and collaboration between the energy and water communities

“One of the major challenges that our world faces today is providing modern energy services and water for billions without both. As global demand for both energy and water increases, we must think about the way we produce and use both to ensure shared prosperity for all citizens, protect the environment, achieve socio-economic development and secure peace and stability, said Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All.

On Thursday 4 September, the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize will be awarded to Prof. John Briscoe of South Africa, for his unparalleled contributions to global and local water management, inspired by an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of people on the ground. The prize will be awarded to Prof. Briscoe by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, during a ceremony in Stockholm City Hall.

Other prizes that will be presented are the Stockholm Industry Water Award, which will be awarded, on Tuesday 2nd September, to eThekwini Water and Sanitation serving the Durban Metropolitan Area, for its transformative and inclusive approach to providing water and sanitation services, and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize which, on Wednesday 3rd September, is given to one national team from 29 competing nations by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.