Global leaders last week gathered in Stockholm, Sweden to discuss issues related to water usage, one of the great environmental challenges of our times. On the eve of the event, called World Water Week, the organization released the results of a research analyzing the benefits, risks and best practice in large-scale water storage. The document, called Large-scale water storage in the water, energy and food nexus: Perspectives on benefits, risks and best practice, provides an overview of the current status of large scale artificial water storage and explores emerging opportunities for water storage schemes to enhance water, energy and food security in the future.
The authors of the the paper say that rising demand for water, energy and food is likely to result in more construction of large-scale storage in many regions around the world. “Water storage and sustainable hydropower schemes can support economic development, builds water security and buffers against increasing rainfall variability,” said Mr. Andreas Lindström of the Stockholm International Water Institute, which organizes the event. “It will be an important factor in expanding renewable energy production, providing irrigation water to grow more food and maintain secure local drinking water supplies for communities around the world.“
The paper also warns that environmental and social impacts of water storage and hydropower development can outweigh the benefits provided if projects are poorly planned and they do not take adequate action to protect ecosystems and include local communities in the planning process. The paper offers a number of ways to safeguard beneficial outcomes and lower the negative consequences of storage schemes by following best practice frameworks that have been produced over the past two decades.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.