The Dutch have battled the sea for centuries. Twenty percent of the country is land reclaimed from the sea. Without the countless dunes, dykes and various waterworks over half the Netherlands would be frequently submerged. This love-hate relationship has resulted in prosperity and innovation as well as some very unique landscapes. That is why The Netherlands is called “A land won from the sea”. It also gave us the famous Dutch saying “God created the world, but the Dutch created the Netherlands”, read more on this from this traveler’s report
In various countries hurt by the economic crisis discussions emerge about speeding up infrastructure investments in public works to stimulate the economy. This will create jobs and lead to assets that contribute to the social and economic prosperity of a nation. Each US$ 1 billion invested in water and wastewater infrastructure projects generates more than 47,000 jobs. “Hopefully, this emerging trend to stimulate economies through infrastructure may also directly benefit water and sanitation,” writes my colleague editor Pamela Wolfe in her commentary in World Water and Environmental Engineering of November/December 2008.
“I am convinced that, under present conditions and with the way water is being managed, we will run out of water long before we run out of fuel.” Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe argues in the “The World in 2009” of The Economist (page 108) that water shortage is an even more urgent problem than climate change.
In 2009 the world needs to reflect on the underlying causes of the food crisis and start addressing structural factors, in particular the link to bio fuels and water. Since 2003 the trends in water have changed, but not for the better, Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe argues. And the craze for biofuels has added to the urgency of the water issue.
Energy versus Water is flagged on the first cover of Earth 3.0, a new magazine published in America by the Scientific American http://tinyurl.com/6cfsxq in September 2008.
Catch-22: Water vs. Energy is the title of an interesting article by Michael E. Webber on fierce competition for water between Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Water is needed to generate energy. Energy is needed to deliver water. Both resources are limiting the other—and both may be running short. Is there a way out?
The role of the media featured in two stories next to each other on the foreign page of De Volkskrant last Friday. The media and all anti terrorism experts are part of the terrorism problem, according to UK terrorism expert Paul Cornish in an interview on the Mumbai terrorist’s attacks.
“Can you please write that we are not drowning here?”, asked a hotel manager in Venice from the Volkskrant correspondent. “The whole world thinks that Venice is flooded for days, as the media only report that the city is flooded. They don’t mention that this only lasted a few hours, by the evening the water had receded.”
Friday night 21 November I celebrated the 40th anniversary of my employer IRC in the beatiful Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. There we also did the last morning of our anniversary symposium on Urban Sanitation for the Poor. Rosemary Rop, WSP Africa Nairobi in her key note speech to the symposium identified six drivers of successful urban sanitation for the poor.
In the afternoon we had the Prince of Orange’s presence in a closing ceremony of the he International Year of Sanitation and many activities by Dutch coalitions. Around 250 visitors joined this Looking Beyond the International Year of Sanitation session, a joint activity of IRC, Simavi and the Netherlands Water Partnership.
Knowledge will stream from my blog from Amsterdam mainly in weekends. I (Dirk de Jong) am going to combine my knowledge on water and sanitation with my knowledge and views on ICT for development. You can check who I am on my personal web site and on the one from my work at the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre.