In recent years, the issue of the long-range adequacy of freshwater resources has moved to center stage in international discussions of sustainable development. The call for the adoption of sustainable water strategies has become urgent as conflicts over the allocation of increasingly scarce water resources loom.Sustainable water management requires a systemic perspective that links water resources to requirements for irrigation, industry, human needs and ecosystems.
SEI-US has actively sought to heighten awareness of freshwater problems and to develop appropriate strategies for living within water budgets in a sustainable manner. The SEI-US Water Resources team advances integrated approaches to freshwater assessment and policy. The team works throughout the U.S., Central and South America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. We work in five main areas:
- Methods for Integrated Water Analysis: SEI’s WEAP (Water Evaluation And Planning) system provides a unique framework for water assessment and planning. WEAP is used to represent current water conditions in a given area and to explore a wide range of demand and supply options for balancing environment and development. WEAP is a transparent and user-friendly decision-support tool for engaging stakeholders in an open process. For more information and WEAP related resources, please visit www.weap21.org.
- Capacity Building: WEAP is widely disseminated to water analysts throughout the world in both governmental and NGO settings. SEI-US conducts training workshops in integrated water planning relying on WEAP as a conceptual framework and practical approach for organizing information and supporting decision-making.
- Modeling Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources: SEI-US uses WEAP to quantify climate-change driven impacts to water resource allocation. Scenario-based impact assessments have been conducted in places like the Sacramento River Basin in Northern California , the Andes Glaciers of Bolivia, and the Lake Victoria in East Africa. Recent work includes developing scenarios for adaptation in WEAP.
- River Basin Assessments: Working with local counterparts, SEI-US provides comprehensive assessments of water and environment in watersheds around the globe. These include: (1) a profile of supply and demand patterns, resources, and environmental issues, (2) demand trends and potential problems with respect to water adequacy, environmental pressure, in-stream flow levels, and so on, and (3) alternative scenarios and policy options for mitigating water stress.
- Global Water Futures: SEI-US has been at the forefront of analyzing global freshwater conditions, preparing alternative water scenarios including developing and modeling agricultural adaptation strategies to climate change, and setting priorities for action. This has included contributions to SEI/UN Comprehensive Freshwater Assessment and the World Water Vision.
David Purkey heads the Water Resources team.
Other members of the team include: