Valuing Water on World Water Day

World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness for the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The day is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. Valuing Water is this year's theme. IHE Delft asked our partners and students how they value water and participates actively in online events to talk about the value of water.

Valuing water

Economic development and a growing global population means agriculture and industry are getting thirstier and water-intensive energy generation is rising to meet demand. Climate change is making water more erratic and contributing to pollution. As societies balance the demands on water resources, many people’s interests are not being taken into account. How we value water determines how water is managed and shared.

Five perspectives

The value of water is about much more than its price – water has enormous and complex value for our households, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource. Valuing water can be approached through different perspectives:

  1. Valuing water sources – natural water resources and ecosystems.
  2. Valuing water infrastructure – storage, treatment and supply.
  3. Valuing water services – drinking water, sanitation and health services.
  4. Valuing water as an input to production and socio-economic activity – food and agriculture, energy and industry, business and employment.
  5. Valuing socio-cultural aspects of water – recreational, cultural and spiritual attributes. 

Our perspectives on Valuing Water

IHE Delft colleagues Graham Jewitt, Professor of Hydrology, Hermen Smit, Senior Lecturer in Water Governance, Irene Leonardelli, Junior Researcher in the Feminist Political Ecology of Water and Yong Jiang, Senior Lecturer in Water Resources Economics discuss the term valuing water from their professional perspectives.


For me, water is the most precious resource on earth. Water is the resource that without it everything with human activity would stop immediately. Agriculture, energy production, food, clothing, motor industry could stop immediately without it. We can replace gold, we can replace silver, we can replace the most precious materials on earth, but we cannot replace water.
Mario Alberto Fuentes Monjaraz
IHE Delft student from Mexico

Word Water Development Report

The 2021 World Water Development Report on “Valuing Water” assesses the current status of and challenges to the valuation of water across differing sectors and perspectives and identifies ways in which valuation can be promoted as a tool help achieve sustainability. IHE Delft is one of the Chapter Lead Agencies. Yong Jiang led Chapter 11 on knowledge, research and capacity development, with contributions from other IHE Delft staff members Marloes Mul and Graham Jewitt.

For me, water is always gonna be a need, a problem, and a solution. I value it by taking care of it, avoid waste, studying it but also making others aware of its use and re-use.
Monica Jiménez Baldivieso
IHE Delft student from Bolivia

What Valuing Water means to our students

Interesting links on Valuing Water


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