The water challenge

Managing the world’s water resources is foundational to development. If you want to feed the world—and contribute to poverty reduction, human health, and economic prosperity—pay attention to water.

The challenge is daunting: how can we feed a burgeoning population? Agriculture already uses some 70% of the world’s water. So if food production has to increase to feed today’s population (not to mention tomorrow’s), the stress on water resources will only get worse. How will we meet our energy needs? Again, it’s about water. How will we eliminate many diseases? Water again.

Water is a finite resource. It’s not just about water supply–how much there is and how clean it is. Water resources management is about a host of issues such as government policy, financing, allocation, transboundary conflict, and the ecosystem. So… let’s talk water.

GWP’s global strategy 2009-2013 argues that sustainable development will not be achieved without a water secure world. A water secure world integrates a concern for the intrinsic value of water with a concern for its use for human survival and well-being.

A water secure world harnesses water’s productive power and minimises its destructive force. It is a world where every person has enough safe, affordable water to lead a clean, healthy and productive life. It is a world where communities are protected from floods, droughts, landslides, erosion and water-borne diseases. Water security also means addressing environmental protection and the negative effects of poor management.

A water secure world means ending fragmented responsibility for water and integrating water resources management across all sectors – finance, planning, agriculture, energy, tourism, industry, education and health. This integration is at the heart of GWP’s strategy.

A water secure world reduces poverty, advances education, and increases living standards. It is a world where there is an improved quality of life for all, especially for the most vulnerable—usually women and children—who benefit most from good water governance.

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