Managing water resources for all

The challenge
Water is a scarce but essential resource. Providing enough fresh water for a growing population and for increasing industrial production is a critical issue in many countries. At the same time, climate change is affecting global rainfall patterns and water distribution. It is projected that global water demand will outstrip supply in 2030. Consequently, it becomes even more important to protect the natural water resources.

The future
An integrated water resource management approach aims at securing water for all sectors, conserving water in a sustainable way and protecting water resources from pollution. Efficient methods for mapping and managing the available resources are also part of the solution. The volume of groundwater on earth is approximately 100 times larger than fresh surface water and it makes sense to use this source of high quality water.

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The challenge of water scarcity is experienced all over the world. More than two billion people are living in countries with excess water stress. Especially Northern Africa and Western Asia experience water stress levels above 60 percent indicating a strong probability of future water scarcity.

Luckily, the challenge is widely recognised and according to the UN Water report on integrated approaches to water resources management (2012), around half of all countries have made significant progress towards implementing the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management and many others are well underway.

With the global water scarcity and insufficient access to clean drinking water facing the world, it is crucial to use the resource efficiently. Groundwater, which is stored in rocks beneath the earth’s surface, is far more abundant than fresh surface water, less susceptible to contamination and requires less treatment to make it drinkable. However, many groundwater aquifers are threatened by pollution and over extraction.

To strengthen water security against the backdrop of future demand, water scarcity, growing uncertainty and more extreme weather conditions, managing our water resources is critical and requires political will to invest in and protect. In order to secure clean water resources, focus must be on quality and quantity, but also on minimising consumption in general, in households, agriculture and industries.

Connect with us: Tanya Gottlieb Jacobsen, Deputy Director and Head of Water & Climate Change Adaptation, [email protected]

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