As climate-related crises go, the issues of water stress and scarcity is undeniably one that needs to be addressed with a particular sense of urgency.
Figures show that approximately two billion people currently lack access to safe drinking water, while around 1.7 billion lack access to basic sanitation services, all of which lead to hundreds of thousands preventable deaths every year.
Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water is, in fact, the sixth United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), an urgent call to action for all countries to come together in a global partnership to bring about serious change by 2030. However, the UN itself recently admitted that the world is “alarmingly off track” to achieve SDG #6.
A recent UN consultation found that, in order to get back on track where this particular climate goal is concerned, open research, improved access to knowledge and compiling data and evidence will be essential… and, to this end, a new Nature Water journal has been launched by the Nature Portfolio collection.
Its aim is to provide all researchers (including those in engineering and natural and social sciences) with a space to contribute their knowledge, insights and results collectively to help the world gain a more equitable and sustainable footing where water is concerned.
As a publication dedicated to covering thematic research, two essential aspects will be endorsed by this new journal from the outset. The first is that social sciences will need to be an integral part of research, on par with natural sciences and engineering, when considering the interaction between people and water.
It is important that behaviours, perceptions, laws and regulations and how they can lead to fairer, more sustainable and less expensive access and use of resources are taken into account to improve our understanding of natural resources and to improve the development of new and efficient technologies.
Secondly, water research results should be open to one and all, with this new journal serving as a transformative resource, meaning that research authors will have the option to ensure open-access publication.
“The launch of Nature Water originates from the desire to create a venue where all researchers working towards a more equitable and sustainable relationship between water and society can find the most significant contributions from natural sciences, social sciences and engineering.
“Our aim to report significant contributions from all water-related research is clearly expressed in the Viewpoint published in this first issue, which showcases the contribution of nine experts covering some of the challenges and prospects in a range of areas of water research,” it was observed.
A variety of topics will be addressed in Nature Water, including hydrology, the water-energy nexus, the governance of groundwater resources, water and wastewater treatment and water-related economic inequalities in different communities around the world.