Beyond increasing water value through economic means, there is a need to scale up use of technology and capacity development to improve efforts towards achieving SDG 6 targets. When considering available water provision, treatment or water-saving technologies used in water management practice, there are a wealth of innovators and private sector actors already providing water solutions. There is also abundant evidence to support implementation of nature-based solutions for water retention and treatment. However, in practice there is often a lack of financial resources to support implementation of new infrastructures or the growth of private solutions, due to limited understanding, or a lack of supporting governance structures in the public sector to implement these opportunities.
To address gaps in understanding, Rori Mpete, TKC Platform, suggests that there is a need to increase capacity development through education, experiential learning and training, particularly with youth, our future leaders. This could be bottom-up, through upskilling community champions to advocate and share the value of water in their communities. Jean-Marie Kileshye Onema, WaterNet, adds that this must be accompanied by top-down efforts to support platforms for continuous learning and knowledge sharing between stakeholders as well as to retain local knowledge and experience, and ensure effective succession planning in water management institutions.
Following the above reflections, as well as other offerings around the recent 2021 World Water Day celebration, it is clear that valuing water does not mean the same thing to everyone, and is not an intuitive call to action. Rather, it must acknowledge wide variety of understanding and approaches in the water sector and the need for various actions towards collectively achieving SDG6. Valuing water should encourage each of us to reflect about our experience with water and to do our part, by honouring what water means to us.