Home > Uncategorized > CHARTING OUR WATER FUTURE (download)




His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange, Chairman of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation When I chaired the Second World Water Forum in The Hague in 2000, I set out a simple mission: to make water everyone’s business. I am therefore gratified that the 2030 Water Resources Group—a consortium of mostly private companies from several important sectors of the world economy—has made it their business to put together this report. And indeed, the report’s central message is that any strategy to achieve water resource security must be a joint effort—integrated with broader economic decision-making—by governments, investors, NGOs, and water users in agriculture, industry and cities. The picture shown by the report is certainly sobering: The ever-expanding water demand of the world’s growing population and economy, combined with the impacts of climate change, are already making water scarcity a reality in many parts of the world—and with it we are witnessing severe damage to livelihoods, human health, and ecosystems. In just 20 years, this report shows, demand for water will be 40 percent higher than it is today, and more than 50 percent higher in the most rapidly developing countries. Historic rates of supply expansion and efficiency improvement will close only a fraction of this gap. Unless local, national and global communities come together and dramatically improve the way we envision and manage water, there will be many more hungry villages and degraded environments—and economic development itself will be put at risk in many countries. Encouragingly, though, the report also finds that the future “water gap” can be closed. Even in rapidly developing, water-scarce countries, there is a set of measures—to boost efficiency, augment supply, or lessen the water-intensity of the economy—that in principle could meet human and environmental water needs at affordable cost. The report shows how “crop per drop” can be increased dramatically in agriculture, which today consumes 70 percent of the world’s water. This has also been the message the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation has kept on conveying to decision-makers: that water requires more political attention and strategic thinking. What this report provides, however, is a toolkit that stakeholders can use to compare the impact, cost and achievability of a range of different measures and technologies, so providing the fact base needed to underpin solutions. Foreword iv v Economic frameworks to inform decision-making If water is to be everyone’s business, then stakeholders will need to come together in water-scarce countries to make some difficult trade-offs on the road to water resource security. Some solutions may require potentially unpopular policy changes and the adoption of water-saving techniques and technologies by millions of farmers. The conversation needed amongst stakeholders, then, is about a country’s economic and social priorities, what water will be needed to meet those priorities, and which difficult challenges are worth tackling to deliver or free up that water. This report’s contribution is to create a common economic language which all stakeholders can use in participating in that conversation. Of course, this report will have failed if it sparks no more than conversation. The fact base, frameworks and insights presented here must galvanize action. I therefore urge stakeholders in every country to apply the tools in this report to their own water challenges, bringing policymakers together with the private and social sectors to identify and implement solutions to use our most precious resource much more wisely and effectively. v HRH The Prince of Orange Willem-Alexander Chairman of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation


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