One of the Stockholm Water Week’s unique features is the various awards it presents for outstanding performance. Tonight the Stockholm Water Prize will go to Stephen Carpenter at the beautiful Town Hall. I hope it will not rain and that we will enjoy the superb setting of this historical place.
The Junior Water Prize stimulates innovation by young people in the field of water. The 2011 winner is a young American who developed a low cost, potable method to test water quality, using mobile phones. Great stuff.
Bjorn von Euler from ITT has been a driving force behind the junior water prize from the beginning. It has grown over the years from 5 to 28 national competitions. Bjorn is now retiring from ITT and we will miss him as a friend and stimulator. He left us with the challenge to double the number of participating countries, a target worth going for….
The Industrial Water Prize was awarded this year to Nestlé. We honored the award with a seminar on water, food and energy security in the urban context, the role of business. Two excellent scene setting presentations form Peter Brabeck-Lemathe (Nestlé) and Jeremy Bentham (Shell) and a lively panel discussion later, in which Kala Vairavamoorthy, presented the audience with his reflections on the discussions. He promised me that he would write out his notes as he did an excellent job and provided us with directions on how to move this forward. Some of the key points made:
Do we really grasp the complexity of the challenge? We need a global picture of the nexus;
- "We have entered an era of volatile transitions", Shell;
- Look at wastewater as a resource. It can contain more energy than is required to treat it!
- Limit waste in the food supply chain (from field to fork), as well as in the distribution of energy and water (from source to service);
- We have poor water information to take water related decisions;
- Integrate ecosystem services in the infrastructure portfolio;
- "If you compare the value of the total Spanish agricultural production to the total cost of water subsidies in this sector, you will get a negative output", Nestlé;
- Need to establish credible institutions that have influence and are seen as impartial to drive next-generation collaboration;
- Commit to action - are we talking slogans or implementable concepts?
- A complex system change needs to happen: collaborate among disciplines and across institutions;
- Education is critical - we need urban leaders with the necessary skills to deliver on the integrated vision we have today.