Full report ENGLISH
The world is entering a period of growing water scarcity: by 2030, global demand for fresh water could outstrip supply by over 40% if no changes are made with the way water is used. Fortunately, many of the water problems are, as opposed to bio-physical, economic, social and political in nature and could be addressed within our power through intelligent and effective governance to optimize water use between different sectors and ecosystems and balance our current and future needs, warns this report by UNEP's International Resource Panel.
According to the report, the growing demands placed on our supply of water are not only the result of population growth, but also the way in which our economies develop. Since 1900, humanity's water consumption has grown at twice the rate of population growth, jumping from 600 billion cubic meters in 1900 to 4,500 billion cubic meters in 2010.
Humanity's key challenge over the coming decades will be to meet the water, energy, land and material needs of up to 9 billion people, while keeping climate change, biodiversity loss and health threats within planetary boundaries. Countries at different developmental stages are already facing different challenges, requiring a range of solutions specific to each circumstance. A key factor in determining which solution is most appropriate will be the availability of data and information – how much water is available and how it is being used and the frameworks for assessing the distributional needs of each society.