Water It’s Not A Privilege: World Water Day with the World Science Festival, 2017 Brisbane Australia

World Water Day – the 22nd of March, is designed as an action-day, to learn and recognise that not everyone has access to clean, safe water. In fact, over 600 million of us do not!  In helping us to understand this and potentially reduce this global crisis, one of the most celebrated annual science festivals, the World Science Festival,  was celebrated in Brisbane, Australia this year and ran for five days – commencing on World Water Day and finishing on Sunday 26 March.

Water Future, together with Griffith University, partnered with the Queensland Museum to participate at this event, with members of the Water Future Planning Committee, namely András Szöllösi-Nagy, Charles Vörösmarty and Stuart Bunn, holding panel discussions. These panel sessions were designed to further the inherent message of World Water Day by sharing knowledge of the 2014 UN targets for access to safe and affordable drinking water and to potentially achieve greater understanding by expressing to others the many complex challenges that we face as a global society, if we are to achieve these crucial targets.

Designed to capture as many attendees as possible across the five days, there were two main areas of conversation. The first, was two sessions (one on the Wednesday and on on the Thursday) of panel discussions known as  “Water: Its Not a Privilege.” These discussions were  based around the 2014 UN target for access to safe and affordable drinking water; identifying the complex challenges faced in meeting this target with the complex interplay of profit, politics and pollution, alongside climate change, population growth and agricultural expansion. The second, was a series of daily talks, known as “Water Talks”  moderated by science journalist Peter Spinks, and joined by special guests. These talks further explored the United Nation’s Global Sustainability Goal #6 for clean, accessible and sustainably managed water for all by 2030 and examined some of the successes and also current impediments to achieving this goal.  There were four major topics, which included:  The Dirt on Water and Disease, Engineering the Solutions, Other Wordly Water and The Inconvenient Truth of Bottled Water.

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