World Water Day, acknowledged on 22 March every year since 1993, celebrates water and raises awareness of the two billion people living without access to safe water across the globe. This year, World Water Day kicked off the United Nations (UN) Water Conference in New York, where Dr Alex Held, CSIRO Mission Lead for AquaWatch Australia (AquaWatch), represented the mission as part of the Australian Government delegation for the conference. Together with AquaWatch Foundation Partner SmartSat, CSIRO is working to develop an integrated ground-to-space water quality monitoring system – a ‘weather service’ for water quality.
Whilst at the UN Water Conference, Dr Held connected with several key international stakeholders representing the space, non-government organisation, industry and government sectors. His attendance at the conference raised the profile of AquaWatch internationally following its national launch by Federal Ministers, CSIRO and SmartSat in Canberra on the same day.
A key outcome of the conference was further development of the Water Action Agenda, including commitments from various countries in attendance. This helps in drawing connections from AquaWatch to Australia’s approach towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 6 for clean water and sanitation.
In addition, it has highlighted the strategic focus of countries globally in tackling water sustainability issues, giving crucial insight into where AquaWatch may be able to support current and potential international partners in their sustainable development objectives. As the international activities under AquaWatch expand, we hope to continue to strengthen ties and further understand how our world-leading water quality monitoring system can support the UN agencies driving progress against the Sustainable Development Goals.
Words courtesy of CSIRO