Water crisis: the third greatest global risk

Water crisis is among the top ten most likely worldwide threats and the third highest in terms of impact according to the World Economic Forum in its annual Global Risks Report.

Water crisis was the ninth most likely global risk its position threat in holding the third greatest impact worldwide placed it higher than cyber and terrorist attack. The second greatest threat as seen by the 750 members of the World Economic Forum’s global stakeholder community who were surveyed for the report was weapons of mass destruction with the highest impact risk being failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

However one of the recognised naturally as one of the outcomes of failed climate change policies was water crisis which WEF defined as: “A significant decline in the available quality and quantity of fresh water resulting in harmful effects on human health and/or economic activity.”

The report included the warning: “Unless current water management practices change significantly, many parts of the world will therefore face growing competition for water between agriculture, energy, industry, and cities. Tensions are likely to grow within countries, especially between rural and urban areas and between poorer and richer areas, and also potentially between jurisdictions. More than 60% of the world’s transboundary water basins lack any type of cooperative management framework. Even where such frameworks do exist, they often do not cover all states that use the basin.”

WEF noted too that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that four billion people could be living in water- scarce areas by 2050.