Water Resource Management through the Lens of Planetary Health Approach

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For eternity, water resources have proven to be the key to inclusive social development and human well-being. However, the spatio-temporal variation of this finite resource over various landscapes makes it prone to misuse and mismanagement. Rapid global changes such as urbanization, population growth, socio-economic change, change in lifestyle, evolving energy needs, and climate change have put unprecedented pressure on this finite freshwater resource. Keeping this in mind, it is argued that achieving water security throughout the world is the key to achieving sustainable development in a comprehensive manner. However, scientific studies with a holistic point of view considering persistently changing dimensions are still in their embryonic stage. Broadly, water security evolves from ensuring reliable access to enough safe water for every person (at an affordable price where market mechanisms are involved) to lead a healthy and productive life, including
future generations. Moreover, there is a need to transition from water scarcity towards water security for a water-secure present and future. This transition requires a look at this complex issue and interdependencies between water, environment, human health, and governance/institutions regulating it to be more inclusive. Despite recent progress in developing new strategies, practices, and technologies for water resource management, their dissemination and implementation have been limited. The nexus approach encompasses these interdependencies, and, to promote this idea, different global frameworks are there to address global health in holistic and comprehensive ways, like one earth, one health, eco-health, and planetary health. Planetary health is the most recent one advocated by the scientific communities as well as policymakers; however, very little has been conducted to present empirical scientific evidence from the ground. Considering the above-mentioned information gap, this special issue aimed to capture the persistently changing dimensions and new paradigms of water security, providing a holistic view, including a wide range of sustainable solutions to address water security. It discussed gaps, opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned from past experiences for* achieving water security in any particular landscape. It also highlighted how recent scientific innovations in the research methodologies had made progress in realizing a planetary
health framework to address the water-food-energy-health-biodiversity nexus, urban-rural nexus, regional-circular-ecological-sphere approach, etc., and address the complex issue of water security. Finally, what are the ways forward for a better science-policy interface through the inclusion of every relevant stakeholder to co-design and codelivery of various adaptation and mitigation strategies needed to achieve global goals, e.g., SDGs at a local level in a timely manner?