The water crisis is a management crisis

The sustainable development goal #6 aims to secure clean drinking water and proper sanitation for every person on the planet. But we are far from reaching this goal, with two billion people still lacking access to safe drinking water, and 3 billion without access to proper sanitation. 04-05-2023

To confront our inefficiency toward this goal, a Global Water Conference was kicked off at the UN headquarters in New York City on World Water Day 2023, March 22nd.

+6,500 delegates took part in the conference, which was stretched over three days and included side events both inside and outside the facilities. The first dedicated Water Conference in 50 years.

Though the headquarters cover an extensive area, they were certainly not expecting the massive participation. Leading up to the conference, there were more than 2,000 submitted requests to host an event, from where 200 were picked to present within the walls of the UN headquarters.

Danish Water Forum, where AVK is a member, teamed up with the World Bank for a combined side event with the headline: ”The Hidden Wealth of Nations: Groundwater in Times of Climate Change”. A well-visited event, which was held on the first day of the conference.

On the website, you can see the full side event as it is being presented at the UN headquarters.

The side-event sets the stage by presenting, for the first time, the results of the global World Bank flagship on the economics of groundwater (The Hidden Wealth of Nations).

Watch the video here on

Seeing the Invisible: A Strategic Report on Groundwater Quality

The World Bank has recently published a Report which focuses on the value of ground water. The report highlights that in some places of the world, the groundwater resources are so severely over-exploited that cities are sinking, while in other places, the resources are left unexploited. As an example, lack of food and water supply is currently severe at the Horn of Africa – but far down in the underground, there is enough groundwater to supply the entire region with drinking water and irrigation for food production. It is “just” a matter of having the water transported up from its location, approx. 800m below the surface.

As the report presents, about 97% of our freshwater reserves are situated below the ground, and as current, we are not exploiting this resource as efficient as we could.

Find and read the full report here.

The Report also reflects on the fact that we are too slow and unprepared in our response: “Globally, groundwater resources are under increasing pressure due to overexploitation, pollution, and climate change. Our response to this pressure is often not adequate as we still lack sufficient knowledge about these invisible resources. Because of the prominent role groundwater plays in supporting climate change adaptation strategies, its depletion has drawn global attention in recent years”.

“Groundwater is our water bank – and we are robbing that bank right now” - heard at a side event at the conference


Facts from the Report:

Groundwater is nature’s insurance, and works as a buffer in potential future crises 

200 million hours are spent every day to fetch water – primarily by women and children

30 million USD are spent to move water every day, using trucks

The key is collaboration

Another important theme in the Report, and on the conference as well, is collaboration. To reach our goal #6, we need to team up work across disciplines, companies, sectors, ministries, and borders.

Based on the contacts we have obtained at the conference, we at AVK are eager to initiate more development projects and lighthouse collaborations.


Water in the World - local and global challenges (PDF)

We need to help spread the word about the critical global water situation, and demand action.