Dr. Glen Daigger, International Water Association President and CH2M HILL Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, shares his experiences from the Budapest Water Summit and challenges water professionals to ask themselves the tough questions.

By Dr. Glen Daigger, International Water Association President and CH2M HILL Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

The months of September and October are turning into one of the most intense international travel periods I have ever experienced (which is saying a lot!). While a bit tiring, this is also an invigorating period for me because of what it means—the world is increasingly recognizing that water is not only of strategic importance but that it is becoming increasingly scarce. Consequently, increased attention needs to be paid to water, with supporting actions. Those of us in the water profession have known this for some time but have not been able to fully act as needed because others did not have the same sense of urgency.

At one level, governments are increasingly engaged, especially with establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which will take effect when the Millennium Development Goals (MGD’s) are concluded in 2015. I recently attended the Budapest Water Summit, which brought together a broad range of government representatives and other stakeholders, as part of an on-going process to develop proposals for SDG water goals and targets and to garner increased governmental support for those goals and targets through the UN-managed process to establish the SDG’s. But, it is not just government that is coming to understand the need for increased action on water; business is also becoming more engaged.

This is all good for us in the water profession; the increased focus means additional resources being allocated for us to do our jobs providing water services for people while protecting the planet, which can’t happen without this support.  Nevertheless, one can ask whether water professionals are taking proper advantage of this increased interest.

  • Are we participating in the intensifying debate, providing the technical insights that can lead to good policy and effective actions?
  • Are we preparing ourselves to play an increasing role in meeting the needs of people and the planet?
  • Are we willing to change and adapt to the new ways of working that will come of all this?

These are all good questions – ones which I ask myself regularly. An increased focus on water provides us with opportunities, but then it’s up to us to act on them!

Don’t miss any of Dr. Daigger’s travelogues.