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New technologies crucial in safeguarding water security

By Wang Yiqing | | Updated: 2019-09-16 20:40
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More than 200 domestic and overseas experts and scholars in the water resource field gathered in Beijing for the 2019 International Specialty Conference on Water Security. Titled “New Technologies, Strategies, Policies and Institutions”, it was organized to facilitate discussions on the global core issue of water security.

The conference, jointly held by the American Water Resources Association and the Center for Water Resources Research — Chinese Academy of Sciences, opened on Sept 16 in Beijing and will last three days.

During the conference scholars will discuss applications of new technologies such as remote sensing, big data and artificial intelligence in the water security field, develop strategies, policies and institutional reforms, as well as enhanced resilience under changing climate population growth and urbanization.

Water security, which refers to the sustainable availability of water of adequate quantity and quality for a particular use for humans or the environment, is becoming increasingly important for food security, conflict mitigation, environmental conservation and economic development.

"Water is the guarantor of social and economic development," said Li Yuanyuan, vice president and professor of the General Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design at the Ministry of Water Resources of China. "And water security is a global challenge."

Especially in the era of globalization, water security draws worldwide attention and requires international cooperation. 

Xia Jun, an academician at Chinese Academy of Sciences, took China as an example when discussing the relationship between water security and climate change in his keynote speech.

"Our research on detection and attribution (2010-15) shows hydrological change in China is due to natural variation and greenhouse gas emissions", Xia said. "And water management will face more challenges from climate change."
Xia also shared China's experience in urban water management by citing the example of sponge city construction, which is conducive to deal with China's water security problem.

Lisa Beutler, president of American Water Resources Association, shared her experiences and views on communication and negotiation among scientists, engineers, policymakers, decision makers and stakeholders to reach a solution on water security.

She pointed out the significance of public awareness in terms of water security. "Much of the population in the US doesn’t fully understand how much water security risk there is," Beutler said. "Even in California we still have many people who do not have access to safe and clean water."

Both oversea and domestic scholars agreed that global cooperation, especially between China and the US, are crucial to cope with the water security issue.
"International cooperation, particularly between China and the US, is welcomed," Xia said. "We have common issues, and we can learn from each other to get the solutions."

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