Water Papers

183 items available

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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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The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Economics of Groundwater in Times of Climate Change

2023-06-23, Rodella, Aude-Sophie, editors, Bertone, François, Zaveri, Esha

Groundwater is our most important freshwater resource, but the lack of systematic analysis of its economic importance has evaded attention from policymakers and the general public–threatening the resource. "The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Economics of Groundwater in Times of Climate Change" report offers new data and evidence that advances understanding of the value of groundwater, the costs of mismanagement, and the opportunities to leverage its potential.

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What the Future Has in Store: A New Paradigm for Water Storage

2023, World Bank

Storing 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.

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Seeing the Invisible: A Strategic Report on Groundwater Quality

2022-03-23, Ravenscroft, Peter, Lytton, Lucy

This report describes why, and how, groundwater quality is vital to human health, agriculture, industry and the environment. In turn, this explains why it is so important to World Bank staff and clients, as well as diverse managers and administrators in countries and economies at all stages of development.

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Clear Waters and Lush Mountains: The Value of Water in the Construction of China’s Ecological Civilization - A Synthesis Report

2022, World Bank, Development Research Center

This 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.

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From a Humanitarian to Development Approach: Uganda’s Ground-Breaking Journey to Achieve Sustainable Provision of Water Services to Refugees and Host Communities

2023-06-20, Huang, Ai-Ju, Njoroge, David Githiri, Otiego, Lilian, Danilenko, Alexander

The number of refugees in Africa reached 6.9 million in 2021, nearly tripling over the past 15 years. Uganda alone hosts 1.5 million refugees, making it the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa and third in the world. Uganda has progressive refugee management policies that have welcomed refugees into the country for more than 70 years, with the average length of stay being seven to eight years. The pressure on water resources and infrastructure arising from the massive inflow and protracted stay of refugees is high and cannot be sustained solely through humanitarian interventions. The provision of water services in the refugee settlements under the humanitarian context is fragmented, and the actors supporting the refugee response can no longer provide effective and quality services because of financial and capacity constraints. This paper outlines Uganda’s pioneering shift from a traditional humanitarian water service model, designed for short-term emergencies, to a holistic approach that integrates refugees and host communities in long-term national development planning. It illustrates how Ugandan policy makers, the World Bank, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have come together to collectively design interventions at the national and local levels that have advanced this transition. The critical analytics, tools, and road maps generated through those interventions anchored the policy dialogues, reforms, and financing mechanisms that supported the transfer of water systems and provision services from humanitarian partners to national utilities. As a result, US$57 million of donor funds were mobilized and 50 water systems have already been transferred to national water providers, serving approximately 12 percent of the refugees and their host communities. Sharing the lessons learned from Uganda’s experience with World Bank project teams, partners, and other countries managing forced displacement may be beneficial as they strive to improve provision of water services to refugees and hosting communities.

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Peru - Strategic Actions Toward Water Security

2022-07-21, World Bank

Water security—the availability of an acceptable quantity and quality of water for health, livelihoods, ecosystems, and production, coupled with an acceptable level of water-related risks to people, environments, and economies is crucial to Peru’s path to shared prosperity while addressing climate risks. Access to this precious resource, however, is increasingly threatened by climate change, pollution, and uncontrolled and inefficient use of existing water resources and infrastructure. Taking strategic action now is critical to ensuring that Peru can sustain its water resource base, continue to deliver water to people and productive sectors of the economy, and build resilience to climatic and non-climatic events.

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Practical Manual on Groundwater Quality Monitoring

2022-03-20, Ravenscroft, Peter, Lytton, Lucy

This is a companion volume to “Seeing the Invisible: A Strategic Report on Groundwater Quality,” which explains why groundwater quality is so important to managers of development programs in the World Bank and elsewhere. Its purpose is to provide managers and their teams with practical guidance on how to set up and manage a groundwater quality monitoring program. It provides a logical, step-by-step approach that can be tailored to, and grow with, the capacity to implement such a program. The guiding principle is that monitoring is the fundamental activity that shapes our identification of issues, the framing of problems, the design of solutions, and the measurement of the effectiveness of those solutions. Monitoring is often seen as simple and undervalued, but monitoring of groundwater quality, and its interpretation, is technically demanding. On the other hand, it is also extremely rewarding.

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Unblocking Sector Financing for Universal Access to Water Supply and Sanitation in Kenya: Sector Note, February 2023

2023-03-14, World Bank

This note summarizes the findings of the water supply and sanitation subsector review conducted through the lens of a public expenditure and institutional review. The review seeks to support the government in addressing the challenges impeding the sector’s performance by highlighting the reforms needed to expand the financing for achieving universal water supply and sanitation coverage

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Wastewater Treatment and Reuse: A Guide to Help Small Towns Select Appropriate Options

2022-03-31, Brault, Jean-Martin, Buchauer, Konrad, Gambrill, Martin

Small towns in low- and middle-income countries are growing rapidly and struggling to meet the increased demands of wastewater collection and treatment. To avert public health crises and continued environmental degradation, small towns are actively seeking safely managed sanitation solutions, appropriate for their scale, institutional capacity, financial resources, and overarching needs. This document is designed to provide a guide of small-town wastewater treatment processes in order to assist engineers, managers and other stakeholders responsible for wastewater service provision in identifying and selecting appropriate wastewater treatment processes for small towns. This guide is part of a World Bank suite of tools and other material to support World Bank teams and their government counterparts in the planning, design, and implementation of sanitation projects in urbanizing areas. Addressing the specific context of small towns, the format of this guide begins with an introduction of key concepts for a decision maker to understand and then applies a suggested five-step approach to exploring appropriate wastewater treatment technologies, culminating with case studies from three regions applying this approach. It delves into the unique considerations for small-town wastewater treatment and the exploration of corresponding technologies. Before demonstrating the application of the approach, the guide also navigates: (a) factors external to the technologies that define the characteristics and environment of a given small town and that will affect technology choice; and (b) technology-specific information that will ultimately influence decision making. Before embarking on the formal planning and design process, the user is highly encouraged to become familiar with the guide methodology in its entirety while drawing on the principles of the Citywide Inclusive Sanitation approach.

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Groundwater Quality: A Strategic Approach

2022-03-17, World Bank

This policy brief highlights the key messages for policy makers from the World Bank report “Seeing the Invisible: A Strategic Report on Groundwater Quality” (Ravenscroft and Lytton 2022a). This report and “A Practical Manual on Groundwater Quality Monitoring” (Ravenscroft and Lytton 2022b) describe the types of contaminants in groundwater, tools and resources for their measurement and long-term monitoring, and techniques to protect the resource from being contaminated in the first place.