On November 12th, President of ISET and ISET-PI, Eric Livny moderated a panel discussion on “Competing Water Needs” organized by the USAID policy-advocacy project Governing for Growth in Georgia (G4G). Representatives of all water-using sectors were invited to participate. The discussion included the viewpoints of stakeholders in the agriculture, environment, and energy sectors. The aim of the panel was to advocate for better and more sustainable water management in Georgia. While having a large amount of both underground and surface resources, water is unevenly distributed around the country. Western Georgia has a majority of the country’s water resources, while eastern Georgia suffers from regular droughts. The country has an old and deteriorated water infrastructure for agriculture and for the drinking supply and it is in need of renovation and better management.
On the other hand, one of the most popular sectors for investment is hydropower. There are many synergies between all three sectors that, with proper management, will ensure sustainable and efficient usage of water, while maximizing economic results. With this broad subject, it was critical to involve a variety of stakeholders and perspectives on the panel, both in resource management and environmental protection, all of whom benefit from a better-managed system of infrastructure.
The Deputy Ministers of Energy, Agriculture, and Environment attended the panel discussion, as well as representatives of environmental NGOs, local government, state-owned water companies, agricultural and hydropower business community.