11.2. The Importance of the Economy to the Water Sector
Water, as a naturel source a fundamental component of human life. Clean drinking water and adequate sanitation are fundamental to the well-being of individuals and society as a whole. Water’s special character of being essential to health as well as a key component in social and economic activities, has resulted in a special cultural status and consequently a special position in public policy. Freshwater resources have traditionally been regarded as something to which all members of the human community have rights to access However, water is a basic human need and access to minimum quantities of safe water (20 liters per person per day) should be everyone’s right. Access to clean water –and sanitation - is considered by many current international agendas and platforms as a basic human right, indispensable for leading a healthy and dignified human life (URL 1). In fact, in the past, applications of water resource management for access to clean water and sanitation were considered to be related more so to the technical and engineering fields. Today, this approach is considered as one which is more directed to demand and there has been a shift to a more integrated approach. Water is the main factor, which established the network of relationships between energy, food safety and the environment. A holistic approach must be taken for defining of the problem and the also the solution process in this complex structure. Thus, it has become even more important to efficiently and effectively manage water sources, which are increasingly becoming more polluted and depleted. Today, access the clean water is highly capital – intensive, and capital is also scarce (Green, 2003). Water supply and sanitation require a huge amount of capital investment in infrastructure such as pipe networks, pumping stations and water treatment works. It is estimated that OECD nations need to invest at least USD 200 billion per year to replace aging water infrastructure to guarantee supply, reduce leakage rates and protect water quality (URL 2). The process of to clean water (capturing the water as runoff or in the form of groundwater, storing the water -surface or groundwater- conveying it to the point of use) provides a scientific approach, playing a critical role in establishing multi-dimensional relationships between water sources and economy. The financial and economic dimensions affecting the use of water resources be it water extraction, pollution or allocation, across different economic sectors like agriculture, energy, industry and urban water supply as well as between local, regional and transboundary river basins. Water Resources and Economicsaims to contribute to the development of advanced integrated hydro-economic modeling at river basin, national and international scale, water resources valuation, the design and evaluation of water policy instruments, including water markets, and the economics of public water supply, sanitation and waste water treatment in developed and developing regions (Brouwer 2015). ) Further, water plays an important role for national economies, as water is the main input for many sectors. A country's overall development strategy and use of macro-economic policies -including fiscal, monetary and trade policies - directly and indirectly affect demand and investment in water-related activities (Sanctuary, 2005).
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