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Water academics collaborate with global water policy experts on world-first initiative

Water academics collaborate with global water policy experts on world-first initiative

Friday, July 09, 2021


PLuS Alliance Fellow Greg Leslie (UNSW) and academics Olcay Unver (ASU) and Susanne Schmeidl (UNSW) have been working with the Water Policy Group on a landmark survey of national water policy leaders from all regions of the world, designed to identify the key social, political, financial and structural barriers inhibiting better progress on pressing water issues. The survey will collect the opinions, while preserving anonymity, of water ministers and heads of national water departments and agencies as well as other persons with national water leadership roles.    

The survey asks for the opinions and perspectives of national water leaders on many topics within their responsibilities, including risks to maintaining or achieving good water management in their country, how COVID-19 has affected national water outcomes and the relative importance in their country of the five accelerators in the United Nations SDG6 Global Acceleration Framework. The survey also contains questions specific to groundwater challenges, aligning with the theme of the next United Nations World Water Development Report. Sixty seven national leaders have completed the survey so far.


Olcay Unver, a member of the Water Policy Group and Professor of Practice, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU, said, “Apart from being a unique compilation of the opinions of national water leaders on the challenges they face in securing safe water and sanitation for their people, the survey is very timely when the governments, the United Nations, business leaders, resource partners, and the finance sector are re-assessing their priorities to identify the best pathways to achieving the sustainable development goals.” 

Professor Greg Leslie, Director of the UNSW Global Water Institute, said, “This is a great opportunity for researchers to partner with water policy experts across all the UN geographical regions and collect data at the highest government level from low to high income countries”.   

Information and insight from the survey will be released in the World Water Policy Report which will be launched later this year. 

Details on the survey and the report can be found here.  

The project is being led by the Water Policy Group with support from the University of New South Wales Global Water Institute. The Survey will close in August 2021. 

Questions about eligibility and survey access can be directed to