The 2030 Water Resources Group unveils new assessment of water scarcity projects worldwide

Posted: Thursday 19th September 2013

New publication provides decision makers with the assessment tools to help address water challenges across the globe.

By 2030, experts estimate global demand for water to be 40 percent higher than it is today, and water scarcity presents serious challenges for decision makers, impacting everything from food production through to broader economic and societal development. The growing gap between safe freshwater supply and water demand is forcing the world to tackle the issue from a new and more collaborative perspective; like the cooperation between the government to provide appropriate policies and regulations, the private sector to provide innovation and technology, and civil society to provide inputs from the users.

A new publication Managing Water Use in Scarce Environments, prepared by Arup for the 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG), analyses over 40 projects where work has been done to tackle water scarcity. It introduces a framework to compare and evaluate such initiatives, allowing decision makers to quickly grasp the associated costs and potential impact that can be delivered.

Released during World Water Week, and in light of 2030 WRG’s prediction that there will be a 40% gap between supply and demand for freshwater by 2030, the goal of the report is to stimulate debate and action. It aims to encourage financial and political support at all levels of society and provide insights into options for tackling water scarcity.

Anders Berntell, Executive Director, 2030 Water Resources Group, explains “This report provides a foundation for informed, collaborative decision making between the public and private sector; between government and finance and between local communities and city, regional and national authorities. Other crucial recommendations include giving prioritisation to projects which focus on reducing consumptive use of water; developing mechanisms and incentives which help reduce consumptive use and prioritisation of interventions that deliver the greatest basin level benefit at the lowest unit cost.”

“Water affects every aspect of our lives – from personal health and well-being; through to the food we eat; products we buy; the shape of our towns and cities and economic and international development,” says Mark Tindale, Arup Associate, Water, and lead author of the report. “The challenge in preparing the publication has been establishing a simple mechanism to evaluate and compare the impact of a wide range of initiatives on river basin level water scarcity and communicate this in a manner that enables business leaders and policy makers to bring about meaningful change.”

Managing Water Use in Scarce Environments describes a number of considerations to support the identification and uptake of relevant and effective water initiatives. These include the need for improved collaboration between the public and private sectors; standardised data collection, monitoring and reporting; and a means of ensuring action is relevant at river basin level.

Stuart Orr, Head of the Water Stewardship at WWF International, states, "Through water stewardship, more players are getting involved to help improve water management. But those new players should be aware of the kind of work that is already underway. This catalogue can help avoid costly delays or missteps by identifying proven interventions that could be replicated in other river basins."

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