Prime Minister sets scene for Australia’s role in international water moves – October 2016

Filed under: Environment and Indigenous Affairs, Climate Change, Politics, Foreign Affairs, Trade and industry,

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told a high-level UN panel on water that there are vitally important agricultural regions of the world, which, if practices don’t change, will be without water before too long.

He told the UN’s High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) that the inability to manage water resources effectively puts billions of people at risk—and even more lacked access to clean water.

“This is a very, very big agenda,” Mr Turnbull said. “Water is the source of life; it’s central to human development.

“This panel’s action plan sets out a comprehensive, integrated and transformational approach which is essential to develop real change at a time when global water-related challenges are growing at already daunting scales.

“We know that around 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water that is used, is used for agriculture. In cities there is increasing demand for water for health and sanitation and around the world, the extraction of water in an unsustainable way puts the environment at risk.

“The role of efficient water management is to grow more crops with less water and if we do so efficiently we can absolutely do it.

“We also have to recognise the reality that gigantic engineering solutions are rarely going to be the cost effective answer; water has a very low value to volume and to weight, so moving it enormous distances is very expensive.

“I want to announce that we will be providing an addition A$100 million to provide water and sanitation through a new Water for Women initiative.

“We will launch a water challenge to spark innovative approaches to provide clean and affordable water to remote communities and we will initiate a range of programs to share Australian expertise and data over the coming years.

“We are looking forward to hosting the World Water Congress in Brisbane next month. That will be an opportunity to continue supporting the actions needed to meet the needs of all.

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