Leaders at the World Water Forum need to act now to find a solution to the water challenges facing the world, says IUCN.
A global water crisis is on the way, with two-thirds of the world's population predicted to face water shortages by 2025. Pressure on water resources is increasing rapidly as population grows, ecosystems decline and consumption patterns change.
“In many regions, water scarcity and pollution are increasingly putting human well-being at risk,” says Mark Smith, Head of IUCN’s Water Programme. “We have to organise ourselves to use water more sustainably. We need systems for governing water based on a balance of policy and good water law.”
Governments must ensure there is enough water to meet many needs, including households, agriculture, industry, power generation and the environment.
“This means we have to find a way to allocate water to different users while staying in the limits of what’s available,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. “Helping such negotiations is a key part of IUCN’s work.”
Policy-makers need to do more to protect the natural environment and make better use of the services nature offers. Rivers and wetlands deliver vital services for people, such as clean drinking water, energy and healthy and sustainable livelihoods.
Intact and well-functioning river basins and coasts can also help people cope with the impacts of climate change.
“Climate change will be felt first and foremost through water, whether it be drought, floods, storms, ice melting or sea-level rise,” says Mark Smith, Head of IUCN’s Water Programme. “River basins and coasts provide water storage, flood control and coastal defences. Investment in nature should be integral to policies aimed at adapting to climate change.”
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