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Knowledge and relevant data crucial to ensuring water security, says UN

May 26 ------ As experts gathered at the Indonesian resort island of Bali for the 10th World Water Forum that runs till Saturday (May 25), the United Nations urged governments to invest in making data on water available so that the scarce resource can be properly managed. “Water security is a matter of planning and management of the resources. But we cannot do it without knowledge and relevant data,” said Mr. Abou Amani, director of UNESCO’s Division of Water Sciences. 


People could be using water for consumption for irrigation and for hydropower, he noted. “We are almost saying that we cannot manage something we cannot measure.” 


Mr. Amani said that reliable data needs to be collected on the ground by communities, for instance, by using a sensor chip. While satellite data helps, given that it provides an indirect measurement, it cannot replace “ground truth data”, he added. “By combining satellite data (and) ground truth data, we are capable of monitoring on a real-time basis what's going on within a basin. And in that case, it can help to better manage the water resources within the basins,” he said.  



The IHP, which has been around for about 50 years, aims to continue equipping governments with tools, methodologies and innovative solutions so that they can address their complex, interrelated water challenges. 


The IHP also aims to build capacity in the water sector. “We need to have a new generation of water professionals capable of advising governments to address water because water is becoming so broad. It’s not only a technical issue - water is also a social issue. It's an environmental issue. It’s an equanimity issue,” Mr. Amani said. 


The UN, through the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) new “national water road maps”, will also aim to try to encourage countries to look at water resources management. Under the initiative, countries come up with an investment plan and their priorities in the water sector, and suggest actions and programmes that can help them achieve sustainable water resources and management, FAO’s director of Land and Water Division Li Lifeng told CNA. 



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