1 International Conference on WATER SCARCITY, GLOBAL CHANGES, and GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT RESPONSES December 2008, University of California, Irvine, United States Results of the Conference Convened by: UNESCO, the University of California, Irvine, and USGS
2 THE IRVINE ACTION FRAMEWORK Executive Summary Co-organized by UNESCO-IHP and The University of California, Irvine, with the support of the US National Committee for the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP) in coordination with a large number of partners and sponsors, the Conference was attended by more than 300 participants from 53 countries representing different regions of the world. By exploring how to face water scarcity and global changes for an adequate supply of water for all uses, the Conference aimed at providing a contribution to the implementation of the 7 th phase of the UNESCO-IHP programme ( ), and beyond. Water resources are threatened by global changes, both anthropogenic and natural, which have lead to increased water contamination, shortages and scarcity. These threats are made worse by ineffective management, in terms of governance (institutions, laws, policies, administration) and economy, although scientific and technical knowledge and expertise often do exist. The Conference considered that responding to these threats requires a multi-disciplinary approach, where education and communication play a critical role. More particularly, the Conference recognized that groundwater resources if properly managed could provide valuable responses. Also, the large storage capacity of groundwater resources, many of which are transboundary, could play a crucial role in supporting adaptation measures for coping with impacts from climate variability, hydrological extremes and natural disasters. Considering that groundwater makes up 97 percent of the world s accessible freshwater reserves and provides the main source of drinking water and irrigation, the Conference underlined that its role, significance and vulnerability were not always perceived and understood sufficiently by policymakers, water managers and users. We the participants of the Irvine Conference representing academic institutions, governmental and non-governmental agencies, professional associations and users communities, have produced the Irvine Action Framework, building on the Malaga-Marrakech and Alicante Declarations (2006) and the Kampala and Thessaloniki Statements (2008), which calls for a more strategic approach to water management and recognizes that: - The decision-making process must consider scientific (hydrologic and non-hydrologic), socio-economic, political, and cultural components, in a broader view of the water balance, to achieve sustainable water-energy-food management practices, adapted to human and social needs; - The appropriate political level of decision-making, local, regional, national or international must be identified for action at the level of watersheds and aquifer systems, considering the existing and the required institutional and administrative structures. - Governmental, international and non-governmental institutions, and donors must look for a common platform for addressing water resources issues in holistic terms. While the notion of good water governance remains elusive, notions of ethical use, cultural diversity, transparency, equity, accountability, all come into play, to achieve sustainability. - The science of groundwater hydrology and its practical applications can provide a valuable contribution. This would include formulating science-based policies and principles, preparing appropriate regulations to curb over-exploitation, and contamination, developing tools that would SC-2010/WS/17
3 help to monitor groundwater and replenish overdrawn systems. Closer attention should be paid to transboundary aquifers, non-renewable groundwater resources, enhancement of aquifer recharge, and adaptation measures to climate variability, groundwater-dependent ecosystems and urban groundwater management. An Implementation Process, with a strong educational component, is necessary within a limited time frame (not more than ten years) to assist local regions and sub-regions in improving Ground Water Management. The Irvine Action Framework, Principles and Actions In this strategic context, the Irvine Action Framework recognizes eight principles for effective water management and recommends actions to advance these principles, with an emphasis on the role of groundwater management. 1) Principles 1.1 Recognize that groundwater, surface water, atmospheric water and the biosphere are part of an interconnected and interdependent system such that processes, forces and actions affecting any part can affect the other parts. 1.2 Recognize that water management, land use, energy development, and food production strategies must be integrated to reduce the water, energy and carbon footprints associated with human activities and avoid unintended consequences and inefficiencies. 1.3 Take into account that the hydrological cycle does not follow political boundaries, when defining appropriate allocations and sustainable uses. 1.4 Understand that maintaining and restoring water balance at all spatial and temporal scales is a necessary part of water management planning in order to minimize or mitigate water mining and water shortages. 1.5 Recognize that water-monitoring and data storage and processing tools are essential in the development of assessment and predictive methodologies, water-management strategies, and evaluation methods, particularly under changing socio-economic, health, environmental and climatic conditions; 1.6 Recognize that international cooperation is essential for providing all countries access to scientific, engineering and applied technological expertise; 1.7 Recognize that local institutions provide essential information and the cultural context that are needed to achieve efficient and effective integrated sustainable water management; 1.8 Recognize that citizens, young and old, are the key to political and social change and must be encouraged to learn about the role that water plays in their well-being and the importance of its responsible use.
4 2) Recommendations for actions 2.1 Adapting to the impacts of global changes on river basins and aquifer systems - Develop quantitative tools that help evaluate how global change can affect water resources and their uses (e.g. ecosystems support; energy or food production; among others), and water availability; - Develop and coordinate water monitoring and data processing tools for understanding the hydrological cycle and how it may be affected by and adapted to global change; - Propose, design and implement integrated surface- and ground-water monitoring programs that will provide a sound database for local, regional, national and international decision-making, and help monitor trends and adapt to change; - Assess how low permeability aquifers/aquicludes and saline-water aquifers can be used when traditional water supplies are exhausted; - Improve the understanding of water-energy systems interactions 2.2 Strengthening water governance for sustainability - Identify the institutional and legal changes in mission, organization and funding, that are needed to implement integrated water resources management and strengthen partnerships at all levels of decision-making (local, regional, national, and international); - Consider the development of an adequate legal framework, at national level, to define the role, responsibilities and accountabilities of, respectively, the public authority, the private sector and the users in sustainable water management; - Institute and regulate demand management mechanisms, including the user-pays and polluterpays principles, and evaluate the consequences of full cost pricing on demand, water providers and equity of access for consumers; - Improve the coordination between water management (integrating surface and ground waters management programs), land use and sustainable energy management; - Improve and develop the virtual water trade analysis (water footprint including not only water volumes but also economic values) and assess the relevant role that groundwater may play in order to achieve the new paradigm more cash and nature per drop ; - Encourage countries to adhere to the principles enshrined in the United Nations draft Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (1997), and in the UN General Assembly Resolution on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers (11 December 2008), to strengthen governance of transboundary water resources. 2.3 Ecohydrology for sustainability - Develop the carbon footprint of wastewater treatments; - Improve early detection of drinking water contaminants; - Develop tools and programs to assess the integrated scientific and cultural dimensions of ground-water dependent ecosystems.
5 2.4 Water and life support systems - Promote appropriate and cost-effective technologies to support livelihoods and minimize environmental degradation and stresses on human health, through scientific and technological cooperation, identifying and using local existing expertise; - Develop source control, protection strategies, and simple water treatment and disinfection systems for small towns and villages; - Develop simple wastewater treatments for aquifer recharge; - Improve technologies for aquifer storage and recovery; in particular, develop Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and its application in recycling rainwater, storm water and treated wastewater to supply water for appropriate uses dependent on the required quality. 2.5 Communication, education and capacity development - Use conferences and technical meetings more effectively, developing thematic threads linking one event to another with the goal of preventing duplication and overlapping; - Foster place-based conferences linking the needs of communities with the expertise to solve these needs; - Develop communication methods, documented by case studies, for a better integration of governance, management, science and technology; - Provide training to scientists, engineers, and water managers in general, to better address policy-makers and non-specialists, including how to engage the press; - Educate users, especially children, about water and its responsible use, the hydrological cycle and the specificities of groundwater; - Provide training to policy-makers, water managers, lawyers and other water management professionals in transboundary water issues, including their historic and cultural dimensions. - Improve the knowledge (of scientists, policy-makers, managers and the public) of groundwater in all its aspects, including those critical for surface water flows and ground-water dependent ecosystems. The Irvine Action Framework, Call for Implementation The conveners, participants and sponsors of the Conference commit themselves to disseminate the Irvine Action Framework and to seek and mobilize support and funding for its practical implementation. It is proposed that UNESCO-IHP create a coordinating group of experts, who could be chosen among the members of the Irvine Action Framework drafting committee, to: - identify the existing programs and financing sources which could facilitate the implementation of the Irvine Action Framework, - select a small number of pilot cases in typical groundwater regions throughout the world, - identify the relevant part of the Action Framework to be implemented in each pilot case, - study the feasibility of establishing a few (maximum seven) Regional Knowledge Transfer Centers, supporting educational programs that will aim at building capacities for the implementation of the Action Framework in the pilot regions, - prepare two follow-up evaluation meetings for 2011 and 2014.
6 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IRVINE ACTION FRAMEWORK GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT RESPONSES PHASE I & PHASE II Draft 17 FEB 2009 Executive summary of the proposed implementation plan The implementation is comprised of two phases in time, Phase I from 2009 to 2012, and Phase II from 2013 to The key step in Phase 1 is to develop three pilot Regional Knowledge Transfer Centers (KTC). They will focus on the transfer of knowledge of existing, proven, relatively low technology to local users in the developing world, to contribute to the realization of MDG 7 target 3, especially reducing water borne deceases. The KTCs will also be instrumental in building capacities concerning water management and governance at local level. The KTCs will focus on local officials in villages and small towns with a tentative idea of establishing short term (3-4 months) programs after which the participants will return to their home areas and implement their knowledge and/or help operate and maintain very basic systems, which can never-the-less be very important in improving water quality and water management. The concept of KTC is loosely based on Scandinavian "Farmer's Schools (Landbrugsskoler) which provide 4 month basic training for potential farmers. Hopefully, the KTCs will be connected with existing local educational institutions and, where appropriate, with regional UNESCO and permanent local NGO offices. The partnership of UNESCO-IHP, UC Irvine-UWRC, and Orange County Water District, a world leader in implementing ground water management, will develop and conduct two meetings (conferences or workshops) in Orange County, CA in the summers 2010 and 2011 to evaluate the performance of the implementation against its goals. The partnership, together with the International Steering and Advisory committees, will also develop typical educational programs for the KTCs, with the local programs being finalized by the regional centers and the active NGOs in each region. Introduction Resulting from the International Conference on Water Scarcity, Global Changes, and Groundwater Management Responses held by UNESCO and University of California, Irvine in December 2008, the Irvine Action Framework (IAF) is a set of recommendations for action addressed to International Institutions, such as UNESCO and other UN Agencies, National Governments, Professional Associations and NGO s, and individual practitioners. The IAF 1 focuses on the role and significance of groundwater resources and management in providing responses to water scarcity and global changes issues. An Implementation Process, with a strong educational component, is necessary within a limited time frame (not more than ten years). The guidelines of such a process are summarized in the following document. Project rationale UNESCO-IHP and UCI-UWRC are both dedicated to water science and water education, thus a partnership to develop a series of model Regional Knowledge Transfer Centers (RKTC) can be worthwhile, amply justified by the wide experience of the University of California in managing large and international projects. The proposed approach will be based on the following principles: 1 The text of the IAF is available at
7 It will give a great priority to Information, Communication, Education, and Capacity Building, considering that this important area received the least number of abstracts in the UNESCO UC Irvine Conference in DEC 2008, which indicates the need for comprehensive improvement. It will provide a systematic way of bringing together, and make readily available, the experiences of local and international NGOs and public institutions (both national and foreign) to improving clean water supply in a given region and identifying the successful and less successful approaches. The RKTCs will transfer technical, institutional and organizational knowledge related to the best use of aquifers and aquifer systems to improve water resources and sanitation in the developing world; The RKTCs will focus on both basin management and the necessary technology to use and maintain groundwater basins. The RKTC will be an application of water sustainable management principles:. It will largely incorporate the experiences of the local population and authorities and, also, of the NGOs working in a given region, but will not attempt to undertake individual physical projects;. It will, instead, focus on training the local/regional communities to enable them to become self-sufficient in applying and maintaining adequate technologies for GW management and clean water supply. It will use the Southern California unique water setting: water districts (institutional organization, modes of governance, others); governmental regulatory agencies; groundwater recharge system; geoclimatic specificities ( e.g.simultaneous occurrence of desert areas, coastal regions, mountains and rivers), seawater intrusion, GW pollution and clean-up, and transboundary issues. It will develop an evaluation process to measure the performance of the implementation against its goals, marked by the organization of two conferences, already announced in the IAF, in DEC 2011 and Key findings of the UNESCO-UC Irvine Conference, concerning groundwater management responses The International Conference in DEC 2008 recognized that groundwater resources, if properly managed, could provide valuable responses to water scarcity issues. Both total and clean water scarcity must be considered. Groundwater plays an important role in both. Although many local projects are implemented successfully, much of the expertise gained is not readily shared at the regional level and, therefore, cannot be systematized to be of use in other cases. Better sharing can accelerate the progress towards universal safe drinking water. The decision-making process must consider scientific (hydrologic and non-hydrologic), socio-economic, political, and cultural components, in a broader view of the water balance. Governmental, international and non-governmental institutions and donors must look for a common platform for addressing water resources issues and specifically groundwater management in holistic terms. The science of groundwater hydrology and its practical applications can provide a valuable contribution. This would include formulating science-based policies and principles, preparing appropriate regulations to curb over-exploitation, and contamination, developing tools that would help to monitor groundwater and replenish overdrawn systems. Closer attention should be paid to transboundary aquifers, non-renewable groundwater resources, enhancement of aquifer recharge, and adaptation measures to climate variability, groundwater-dependent ecosystems and urban groundwater management. Primary recommendations for action emphasizing groundwater resources management Propose, design and implement integrated surface- and ground-water monitoring programs that will provide a sound database for local, regional, national and international decision-making, and help monitor trends and adapt to change; Assess how low permeability aquifers/aquicludes and saline-water aquifers can be used when traditional water supplies are exhausted; Consider the development of an adequate legal framework, at national level, to define the role, responsibilities and accountabilities of, respectively, the public authority, the private sector and the users in sustainable water management; Institute and regulate demand management mechanisms, including the user-pays and polluter-pays principles, and evaluate the consequences of full cost pricing on demand, water providers and equity of access for consumers;
8 Improve technologies for aquifer storage and recovery; in particular, develop Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and its application in recycling rainwater, storm water and treated wastewater to supply water for appropriate uses dependent on the required quality; Educate users, including young people, about water and its responsible use, the hydrological cycle and the specificities of groundwater management management; Provide training to policy-makers, water managers, lawyers and other water management professionals in transboundary water issues, including their historic and cultural dimensions; and Improve the knowledge (of scientists, policy-makers, managers and the public) of groundwater in all its aspects, including those critical for surface water flows and ground-water dependent ecosystems. Phase I: Project Objectives Establish a partnership between UC Irvine-UWRC and UNESCO-IHP to develop the regional KTCs in cooperation with OCWD and the International Steering and Advisory committees, ensuring strong participation from both the Regional Governments and the relevant NGOs Identify about seven regions with typical groundwater systems, such as Central Africa, Southeast Asia, Island Nations, among others, each with characteristics that are common to several countries in a region. Select two or three of these regions for the establishment of a pilot regional Knowledge Transfer Center (KTC) in each one. Recognizing that most of the needed technology is available, well documented, and has been proven during the last century, the focus of the Centers will be on Knowledge Transfer. Because of the different cultural and political situations in different regions, different approaches will, of course, be necessary. A common overall model is envisioned to be broadly similar to the well known agricultural extension services, which have served the farming communities well in many of the developed countries over the last century. It is envisioned that the KTCs should be affiliated with a local educational institution that is primarily oriented towards vocational training, and backed up by a local university. At least one of the two pilot KTCs should also be related to a local UNESCO Field Office. Each KTC should develop a three-month course for local persons who can initially implement and maintain low technology solutions in its region. It is envisioned that at least two such courses will be held each year, and that some funding for the participants can be made available. The pilot KTCs will present the preliminary results and experiences at a UNESCO UC Irvine conference in December 2011, prior to the 2012 WWF meeting Phase II: Project Objectives Develop five additional KTCs and expand the Phase I KTCs to develop related local KTCs. The seven final KTCs will be located in each of the seven major water-geology regions of the world (as listed below). They should be functioning by 2014, and will each present their preliminary results in a UNESCO report for WWF During each regional KTC will help establish subsidiary local KTCs distributed throughout their region. The seven regional KTCs are envisioned to function as both educational and research centers, while the subsidiary local KTCs are envisioned to function primarily as educational and hands-on institutions to help local governments (villages, groundwater management agencies, etc.) develop and operate water and sanitation systems. For instance the KTCs will organize "place-based" seminars/training. Jean Fried Conference Co-Chair Project Scientist, UC Irvine Senior Consultant, UNESCO Contacts: Jan Scherfig Conference Co-Chair Professor, UC Irvine Associate Director, Urban Water Research Center