4th World Water Forum, Mexico, 2006

Application of Science, Technology and Knowledge

Reference point for discussion from the beacons

There is nothing more fundamental for life than water. Through time the use of water has evolved with society in the framework of different conceptions about the purpose and progress models.
Current development problems are linked simultaneously to environmental objectives and the aspiration of eradicating poverty situations which are present in many countries. This is how the concept of sustainable development is presented, which is associated to the management of national resources and the orientation of technological and institutional change, including the adaptation of law frameworks, in such a way that it ensures the on-going satisfaction of human needs with due environment care.

To move forward to a sustainable development, decision makers at any government level will need to make informed selections among options which are frequently in conflict and uncertain. These decisions can be made in the best way possible if science, technology and knowledge benefits are profited from. Another big difference is that while in developing countries science and technology are highly dependant from the State, which contributes with more than 60% of financing, in developed countries, the origin of the funds and more than two thirds of the execution of technological and scientific activities are in the hands of private companies. Companies transform scientific and technological knowledge into goods and services, but the State plays an essential role in promoting science and technology application.

To create capacity in science, technology and knowledge, it is necessary to broaden the access to higher education. Unfortunately, in several countries there is clear evidence of a decreasing interest of young people in math and natural sciences, as well as a decrease in the number of graduates in science and engineering. This has led to worries of an imminent or future lack of scientists and engineers.

Key messages from the Voices of the Forum

  • It is critical that local stakeholders in the field increase their knowledge of the groundwater resource and understand the issues related to its management
  • Integrated ecology and hydrology approaches need to become part of education programs
  • Technologies can be useful if their transfer is sustainable and respectful
  • Optimising greenwater use to enhance food security
  • Adapted infrastructures: integrating climate variability and ecosystem approaches

Sessions synthesis

Please click on any underlined session number to accede to the corresponding session synthesis. 


The global potential for major water system reoptimization to restore downstream ecosysytems and human livelihoods

Shared vision models

Strategies and technologies for Arsenic and Fluoride mitigation from drinking water

Ecosystem and Ecohydrology approaches to IWRM

Knowledge generation and innovative technologies for the sustainable management of water resources in Europe and worldwide

Desalinisation of seawater and saline groundwater

Ecological sanitation : Closed-loop sanitation approaches to attain healthy and sustainable cities and the MDGs

Transfer of know-how between Northern and Southern countries
FT4.02Innovations in Biosaline agriculture technology

Water for food, livelihoods and environment : bridging the gap through partnerships in research


Improving agricultural water productivity in dry areas

Water accounting and information platforms

Recycling realities : Linking the sanitation challenge with agricultural benefits

Multiple uses water services

People-centered early warning systems for water-related disasters

Development and implementation of water information systems

Space-based water observations – Alliances for providing information essential for managing the world’s water resources

Environmental vulnerability: the importance of an integrated and multidisciplinary approach

Integrated risk management in mediterranean towns: experience sharing

Flood management

Extreme hydrometeorological events

Water resources information systems

The global climate change and urban flood mitigation