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Water Papers are produced by the Water Global Practice, taking up the work of the predecessor Water Unit, Transport, Water and ICT Department, Sustainable Development Vice Presidency.
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What the Future Has in Store: A New Paradigm for Water Storage(Washington, DC, 2023) World BankStoring water is a critical part of water security, and the societal response to hydrological variability. Water storage increases the amount of water available for human, environmental, and economic use, reduces the impact of floods, and provides a variety of ancillary services such as hydropower and navigation by regulating water flows. Today, our societies, economies, and the environment depend on a web of natural and built water storage. However, as global demand for freshwater use increases and climate change is bringing profound changes to the water cycle, thus increasing our need for storage, the amount of net storage available is decreasing. The natural water storage systems that people have historically relied upon—glaciers, wetlands, soil moisture—are in decline or being disrupted. At the same time, investments in built storage have not kept pace with population growth, and though society is adding new reservoirs and other types of water retention structures, per capita reservoir storage is in decline due to sedimentation and lack of maintenance. These trends add up to a growing water storage gap that must be tackled to enable a water-secure world for all. This report unpacks the importance of storage, recent trends in the availability of storage, and sets forth a new integrated planning framework to guide water managers through a problem-driven and systems-oriented process to understand the options available to them to meet their water security goals and how the different forms of water storage can be part of the solution. This new approach fits within broader Integrated Water Resources Management with a focus on concurrent joint planning. Finally, the report lays out the conceptual shifts that are required to meet this mounting challenge and provides case studies from different countries where integrated approaches to planning and operating water storage investments have been tried with success.
Clear Waters and Lush Mountains: The Value of Water in the Construction of China’s Ecological Civilization - A Synthesis Report(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022) World Bank ; Development Research CenterThis report aims to identify opportunities for improving water policy through the identification, evaluation, and realization of water’s diverse and multiple values in China. The report recognizes China’s significant achievements in water management and identifies remaining and emerging challenges. It presents conceptual and practical approaches to eliciting a wide range of economic, social, cultural, and environmental values of water. Drawing on examples from China and internationally, the report puts forward recommendations for protecting and realizing these values in the context of China’s construction of an ecological civilization. The report is directed toward both Chinese policy makers, and international readers interested in understanding water policy and the way that measurement of values can inform water policy. The challenges assessed in this report suggest that a new generation of smarter water policies will be needed in priority areas. This report is a synthesis of research carried out by the World Bank and the Development Research Center of China’s State Council under the research collaboration, “Evaluating and Realizing the Value of Water in the Construction of an Ecological Civilization for China.” It draws on background papers, inputs, and consultations with a range of experts within the World Bank, officials from the government of the People’s Republic of China, along with universities and nongovernmental organizations working on water-resources-related research in China.
Advancing Knowledge of the Water-Energy Nexus in the GCC Countries(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022) Jägerskog, Anders ; Barghouti, ShawkiClimate change and increasing population pressure make it increasingly urgent to find ways to improve the management of the water-energy nexus. The desalination, pumping, distribution, and treatment of water use significant energy resources. The extraction and production of energy consume substantial amounts of water resources. In addition, negative effects on the environment are often the consequences of the management of the water and energy sectors. The report highlights the prospects for addressing these and other challenges at the water-energy nexus. It does this by drawing, in part, on some of the most important breakthroughs in the nexus that have come from the region.