Winrock’s Eric Viala recently sat down with USAID’s Global Waters Radio podcast to discuss how sustainable water resource management can bolster resilience and economic growth in water-stressed communities. Viala, the former head of the Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP), spoke about best practices and lessons learned from his experiences with fragile areas from Cambodia to Africa, and the role SWP will play in enhancing water security.
“[SWP] is the first program that looks at the big picture of water security,” Viala said. “USAID, in the past 15 years or so has allocated most of its water funding to WASH, which is a very obvious and immediate need in terms of water. But as we all know, water has other uses, especially in terms of food production. Food production is by far the largest user of water, and this is something that is sometimes forgotten by lots of managers.”
As a concept, Viala said, water security is about having enough water for all needs: public health, livelihoods and ecosystems. For places without adequate water security, SWP has created a water security improvement (WSI) process, which is a compilation of best practices on how to improve water security. SWP has published these best practices in six toolkits on our website.
“It’s the idea that you need to have a participatory process, you need to be thinking in terms of systems, you need to of course, to make decisions based on science and facts,” Viala said. “You need to think in terms of sustainability and how to balance the different goals of economic efficiency, environmental soundness, social equity. You need also to think in terms of uncertainties.”
Click here to listen to Viala’s full interview with Global Waters Radio.