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At the 27th meeting of the UN-Water Members and Partners held in Stockholm, Sweden on 25-26 August, the Senior Program Managers approved the establishment of a new UN-Water Task Force on Unconventional Water Resources for a two-year mandate (2018-2019). The Task Force will be led by UNU-INWEH and include the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Dr. Vladimir Smakhtin, Director UNU-INWEH, presented the proposal to increase cooperation between the partners on unconventional water sources. These include: desalination of seawater and highly brackish groundwater; groundwater confined in deep geological formations or in off-shore aquifers; physical transportation of water through tankers and icebergs; micro-scale capture of rainwater where otherwise it evaporates; atmospheric moisture harvesting such as cloud seeding, fog water collection; collection and treatment of wastewater, greywater, and stormwater; and collection and use of agricultural drainage water. He called on Task Force to consider how current knowledge on these water resources can be used to address pressing global and regional water scarcity challenges.

The UN-Water Task Force on Unconventional Water Resources will be closely linked to the UNU-INWEH’s project and global initiative on Unconventional Water Resources. It addresses alleviating global water scarcity through unconventional water resources and technologies and informing future policy and investment decisions on innovative water resources management through specific activities and outputs.