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Ensuring Clean Water Is the Only ‘Water Issue’ That Can Be Currently Solved

According to participants in the recent BRICS Water Forum, out of all of the global challenges in regards to water resource management through the use of technological breakthroughs, only keeping water clean can be guaranteed at the moment.

The International Scientific and Practical Conference ‘BRICS Water Forum’, which took place at National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) at the initiative of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, brought together 380 Russian and around 90 foreign experts from 17 countries.

One of the key issues discussed at the forum concerned the global challenges facing the BRICS countries, which must decide what to do with their water systems in the mid- and long-term. HSE’s Foresight Centre Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK) presented the results of its research of recent global technological trends in water resource management, based on a text-mining analysis (a smart analysis of large volumes of unstructured text data).

According to HSE experts, the results of this Big Data analysis indicate that, out of all of the global challenges related to water resource management through technological breakthroughs, the most important criterion is solutions for ensuring clean water. ‘Unfortunately, the proper technological base is still not in place to solve such problems as the negative impact of climate change on water resources, rising water stress and groundwater depletion,’ said Ilya Kuzminov, Leading Expert at ISSEK.

As a result of the text mining analysis, another conclusion was reached. In short, the disparity in water prosperity between developed and developing countries has continued to widen. Global research and technological development now underway is primarily aimed at rectifying water resource issues in developed countries and largely do not concern overcoming these immediate problems in developing problems, which are in dire need of assistance.

This situation could be improved through expanding systems of technological transfer amongst BRICS countries, as well as developing R&D partnership on the part of scientists and specialists in these countries in regards to water resource management. For instance, starting in 2017, funds from the BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Framework Programme will be tapped to finance joint R&D projects in priority areas carried out by research organizations and universities in BRICS countries. The first tender for such projects was announced by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation in May 2016. ‘70 applications have been submitted in Russia. Out of the applications approved for the competition, around 10% cover water issues. The results of the competition will be tallied at a meeting of representatives of organizations in BRICS countries engaged in financing scientific, technological and innovation. This will take place in February 2017,’ said Sergei Salikhov, Director of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science’s Department of Science and Technology.

You can learn more about the forum on its website. There you can also find information about the draft of the forum resolution along with its ongoing commentary, which shall be accepted until October 10, 2017.

 

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