Water, its availability and quality attain increasing attention and importance in times of global and environmental change. In fact, water assumes center stage when it comes to coping with the impacts of these changes in many parts of the world.
Thus, it is not surprising that the Water Futures Program of Future Earth carried out a conference on the theme "Towards a Sustainable Water Future" in Bengaluru, India on September 24-27, 2019 (https://www.waterfutureconference.org/). About 700 participants gathered in Bengaluru to discuss the issue of water with a focus on the Indian Sub-Continent. The rapidly melting and disappearance of mountain glaciers as valuable source of water during the dry season, on the one hand, and flooding events linked to torrential rains during the Monsson season, on the other, were but two major topics considered ruing the conference.
Prof. Manfred Lange, the Director of the Future Earth MENA Regional Center (FEMRC) had been invited by the conference organizers to provide insights on possible similarities and differences between water issues in South-Asia and the MENA Region as well as on potential synergies between adaptation strategies to cope with water scarcity that have been developed in both regions. To that end, he gave an invited presentation at the conference on Addressing Global Change and Water Challenges in the MENA Region- A Future Earth Approach, which was received with great interest and spurred a lively discussion between the participants. Prof. Lange also organized a special roundtable session on Challenges and opportunities of water availability and water management in the MENA Region during the event.
Despite the significant differences in geographic, environmental and societal settings of South Asia and the MENA Region, it turned out that they do share a number of common challenges related to water scarcity and water management under global climate change conditions. The pioneering work at the Cyprus Institute on utilizing concentrated solar power to co-generate electricity and drinking water was seen as a high-potential approach to addressing water- and energy security in South Asia in a sustainable manner.
Manfred Lange leading a discussion at the Conference
Bengaluru, a megacity of about 8.4 Million inhabitants faces severe challenges in securing water availability and adequate water quality
Drinking water is frequently distributed through designated stations as shown here