World Water Day 2013 - Cooperation as an Imperative in Order to Improve Water Resources Management

Mar 22, 2013

The United Nations General Assembly in 1993 declared March 22 as the World Water Day. This year World Water Day 2013 will be celebrated under the theme Water Cooperation, within the framework of the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013, coordinated by UNESCO on behalf of UN Water.

The UN and its member nations devote this day to implementing UN recommendations and promoting concrete activities within their countries regarding the world's water resources. Access to clean water is necessary condition for healthy and sustainable communities.

As rapid urbanization, climate change, and growing food needs put ever-increasing pressure on freshwater resources, it is necessary to draw attention to the benefits of cooperation in water management.

A general perception is that Bosnia and Herzegovina is water rich country, however, past few years showed how endangered this resource is. Droughts that occurred directly endangered the provision of services to a large number of households that experienced reduction in water supply, produce huge problems to the agriculture sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, it is to be expected that such weather conditions will become more frequent as a result of climate change. Additionally, it is estimated that in some water networks in the country water losses are higher than 70% which creates not only a problem for the environment, but also for sustainability of water services for citizens.

The UN country office in Bosnia and Herzegovina through its agencies (UNDP, UNICEF, and UNESCO) works directly on establishing cooperation between different sectors, including social protection, water management, culture and education, in order to address water and environment related issues.

UN agencies through joint initiatives have implemented various activities since 2010, and as the result more than 15.000 households (50.000 citizens) have received improved water supply services, including water access and the quality.

For example, in the Bihać Municipality 200 returnee families now have access to clean water. In partnership with local communities that include 13 municipalities across BiH, UN agencies invested more than 2 million BAM (1 million EUR) in water infrastructure. Rehabilitation of the water supply system resulted in the savings of almost 1 million BAM (500,000 EUR) per year.