Securing water for all - a 2050 plan

23 September 2010 | News story

Having the right institutions and processes in place to cope with increasing demands on water resources, under threat from climate change, is key to ensuring a clean and plentiful supply of water for the world’s growing population.

During the International Water Association's World Water Congress in Montreal, Canada, IUCN says that good governance and capacity to cope with the challenges facing water resources in a changing climate is needed. Some 3,000 water experts from around the world are gathering for the Congress, which takes place 19 to 24 September.

“Global change will create many challenges in the next 40 years,” says Mark Smith, Head of IUCN’s Water Programme. “Expanding population, economic growth and accelerating urbanisation will place new demands on water systems. Climate change is projected to intensify water stress and hazards, putting pressure on food, water and energy security. River basins will change, and water systems and water resources management will have to provide solutions.”

During the Congress, IUCN will be looking at the problems facing river basins of the future, which will not only have to meet an increased demand for water but will also have to provide for the natural environment. If managed properly, that demand will be met, but with bad management, the water crisis can quickly degenerate. IUCN says that strategies have to be put in place to form a vision for water in 2050, around which workable plans can be made for transformation of water systems. Water professionals, local government, policy makers and investors are all critical in making such plans work. Short-term, targeted actions can help the world get back on track but long term commitments to action are needed for today’s water problems to turn into water solutions.

“Both man-made and natural infrastructures are needed to meet the multiple and complex goals of water resource management. Investment needs to be made to secure the resources we currently have and, as part of this, decision makers need to recognize the vital services that a healthy natural environment provides, particularly as communities adapt to the effects of climate change,” adds Mark Smith. “Well-managed floodplains reduce the vulnerability of cities downstream, intact mangroves buffer coasts against storms, and healthy forests and wetlands reduce disaster risks.”

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Nicki Chadwick, IUCN Media Relations Officer, t +4122 999 0229, m +41 79 528 3486, e nicki.chadwick@iucn.org