The economics of water as global fresh water demand will outstrip supply by 40 percent by 2030


The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40% by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit. Governments must urgently stop subsidising the extraction and overuse of water through misdirected agricultural subsidies, and industries such as mining & manufacturing must be made to overhaul their wasteful practices. I wrote about these practices and how they have affected New Zealand in an earlier article.

4k UHD piece fron the series 'Empirical research & evidence' dated 2022
recording temperature changes in the forests of Siberia over the course of 10 years

Nations must start to manage water as a global common good, because most countries are highly dependent on their neighbours for water supplies, and overuse, pollution and the climate crisis threaten water supplies globally

Globally, 771 million people lack access to clean water, which is 1 in 10 people on the planet. Women and girls spend an estimated 200 million hours carrying water every day. The average woman in rural Africa walks 6 kilometers (about 3.7 miles) every day to haul 20 litres of water. 

In the United States, water bills are becoming unaffordable for many Americans across 12 cities, which poses a threat to health, housing, and families.

By 2030, humanity's annual global water requirements will exceed current sustainable water supplies by 40%. This is according to the U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment of Global Water Security. The global middle class will surge from 1.8 to 4.9 billion by 2030, which will result in a significant increase in freshwater consumption.

These figures show that the water crisis is a significant issue affecting both developed and developing countries. It is important to address this crisis through sustainable water management practices and by ensuring access to clean water for all.

My artist manifesto back in the late 80's stated that humanity we will soon go to war over access to clean water, I have written texts on the ethics of recycling & filtering your own water,  and how going circular is important to design waste out at the product design stage. I also have a project linked to the 'Makers Place' plastic & aluminium recycling studio I setup in 2021 for a personal water bottle titled 'Life-Can' where discarded aluminium drinks cans are recycled into aluminium bottles and then pressed into a water bottle linked to on the ground water refill stations using advanced filter technology to restore the confidence in the public water system.

'Life Can'  designed to be made from recycled materials as a personal water bottle.

Johan Rockstrom, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and co-chair of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water, is the lead author of a new report, suggests the world’s neglect of water resources was leading to disaster. “The scientific evidence is that we have a water crisis. We are misusing water, polluting water, and changing the whole global hydrological cycle, through what we are doing to the climate. It’s a triple crisis.”

In 2021 More than $700bn of subsidies globally go to agriculture & water each year fuelling excessive water consumption. Water leakage from existing infrastructure is a huge problem aslo, the report found, and restoring freshwater systems such as wetlands should be another priority.

Water is fundamental to the climate crisis and the global food crisis. We cannot have an agricultural revolution unless we address the water issue, and we never talk about water.

It is quite remarkable that we use safe, fresh water to carry excreta, urine, nitrogen, phosphorus – and then have inefficient wastewater treatment plants that leak 30% of all the nutrients into downstream aquatic ecosystems and destroy them and cause dead zones. Massive innovations required.
The UN water summit, led by the governments of the Netherlands and Tajikistan, will take place in New York on 22 March. It will mark the first time in more than four decades the UN has met to discuss water, with previous attempts stymied by governments reluctant to countenance any form of international governance of the resource.

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If we are to have a hope of solving our climate crisis, reduce biodiversity impact and challenges on food, energy and health, we need to radically change our approach in how we value and manage water. We have to put water at the centre of global action to ensure people, crops and the environment continue to have the water they need.
The report suggests 7 points of action on water: they are...
. Manage the global water cycle as a global common good, to be protected collectively and in our shared interests.

. Ensure safe and adequate water for every vulnerable group, and work with industry to scale up investment in water.

. Stop underpricing water. Proper pricing and targeted support for the poor will enable water to be used more efficiently, more equitably, and more sustainably

. Reduce the more than $700bn of subsidies in agriculture and water each year, which often fuel excessive water consumption, and reduce leakage in water systems.

. Establish “just water partnerships” which can mobilise finance for low- and middle-income countries.

. Take urgent action this decade on issues such as restoring wetlands and depleted groundwater resources;, recycling the water used in industry; moving to precision agriculture that uses water more efficiently; and having companies report on their “water footprint”.

. Reform the governance of water at an international level, and including water in trade agreements. Governance must also take into account women, farmers, indigenous people and others in the frontline of water conservation.


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