The world is facing water-related challenges
As the world celebrates World Water Day, the United States of America today pledged its deep commitment to create a more water-secure world.
In her remarks in Washington DC, Undersecretary Catherine A.
Novelli said the world will be facing a water-energy-food nexus as the population increases in the coming decades.
Ms. Novelli said that by 2050, the OECD predicts that there will be nine and a half billion people on Earth, and that we will need 80 percent more energy, 55 percent more water, and 60 percent more food to meet demand.
In addition, as business continues as usual, water demand could outstrip supply by 40 percent.
“This has the potential to put $3 trillion of the global domestic product, or 22 percent of the world’s economy, at risk.” – Ms. Novelli
Demand For Water Increases Over The Next Decade
According to Ms. Novelli, to produce energy, the world needs water because people equate water and energy production with dams.
“The methods we have of producing energy require some water or can have an impact on our water resources.” – Ms. Novelli
To cite an example, in the United States, some 50 percent of its freshwater withdrawals go towards creating thermoelectric power. In addition, getting people the water they need where they need it requires energy.
She explained further that if communities are going to be serious about reducing their energy needs and about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, then there is a need to be smarter and more efficient about how the international community moves, treats, and uses its water resources.
“And we need to do all of this, conscious of the impacts water can have not only on people but also on our environment.” – Ms. Novelli
Shortage Of Water Creates Tension Among Communities
Ms. Novelli pointed out that the forests, wetlands, oceans, and all of the biodiversity these systems support depends on water.
She cited that what happened in the shrinking of Lake Chad had resulted in conflicts between farmers, fishers, herders, and wildlife.
In addition, the US is concerned at the rapid and potentially unsustainable development of some of the world’s most important rivers, like the Mekong in South East Asia, a system on which more than 70 million people depend.
She said that as competition for these increasingly scarce freshwater resources increases, tensions will likely rise as well.
In addition, climate change will exacerbate these challenges and tensions.
US Addresses Water-Related Challenges
The United States is creating a water-secure world by innovating and coordinating with other countries to sustainably manage shared water resources.
At a Water World Day event in Washington DC, Ms. Novelli acknowledged the presence of scientists, entrepreneurs, businesses, NGOs, even a few diplomats, all with the same goal: to excite the world about American-developed innovative technologies for solving some of the world’s most pressing water challenges.
The event was attended by USTDA, Ex-Im Bank, OPIC, SBA, EPA, and the State Department to discuss how they can support efforts to market new technologies at home and abroad.
The event was spearheaded by the U.S. Water Partnership and its 87 members. The Partnership is entering its third year and now has 87 members from across the U.S. Government, business community, and civil society.
The international community created World Water Day in 1993 as a constant reminder of the fundamental and integrated nature of water.
The UN General Assembly declared March 22 “World Day for Water.”