Wim van Vierssen, CEO
Creating solutions in collaboration
The water sector faces undiminished challenges worldwide. We now know that these are far from concerning water alone. Water after all has also become an important connecting element in the relations between agriculture, industry and urban development.
Important sustainability concepts which increasingly define our behaviour today have their historical roots in ecology and urban sociology. It was the American, Eugene Odum, who in the middle of the last century portrayed the Earth as a large interdependent ecosystem. And it was Jane Jacobs, around the same time, who, within this ecosystem, advocated a city whose organisation and layout would be governed primarily by a sensitivity to human scale. All this, as components of the Earth System, which we at that time, for the first time, realised was threatened by the unbridled growth and increasing prosperity of the planet’s population.
The problems confronting us today have certainly not diminished. Fortunately, however, since that time our insight into the Earth’s vigour and into the city’s role as a functional environmental node has increased enormously.
In Triumph of the City, Edward Glaeser demonstrates the positive role that the city plays in making our world more prosperous and sustainable. And Johan Rockström and his colleagues, with their concept of a Safe Operating Space for Humanity, offer us compelling insight into the nature and extent of the boundaries to our current growth. Both are powerful and contemporary concepts in helping us come to grips with a more uncertain and complex future.
In the gossamer web of functional relationships with which cities have come to cover the planet, the water cycle forms a intricate, functional and physical network, which closely connects citizens with each other and with their natural environment. A network that is vital for a healthy world population and a sustainable Earth. The water sector bears an important responsibility and has an essential role to play.
We are happy in this annual report to show you how we, as a knowledge enterprise, together with our Dutch and international stakeholders, contribute to this effort.
© 2017 KWR Watercycle Research Institute
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Wim van Vierssen