World Economic Forum identifies water crises as a top global risk

World Economic Forum identifies water crises as a top global risk

With the global population increasing and environmental conditions changing, water supplies are a constant concern for many communities and world leaders. 

In its Global Risks 2014 report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) placed water crises third in a list of top ten worldwide challenges. This ranking held water issues above food crises, extreme weather events, profound social and political instability and other concerns. 

Because of how vital water is, even local water crises can amount to global issues. This is all the more true as the global economy becomes more interconnected and nations continue to develop, the WEF observed.

For instance, the WEF expects the next 15-20 years to see shortages in cereal production of up to 30 per cent due to local water crises. In addition, water shortages interfere with economic development because of the heightened demand for freshwater within energy sectors. 

Therefore, stronger, more strategic approaches to water management are of utmost importance – a critical consideration even for countries that don't have substantial water deficits. Current approaches are costly, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimating that the annual cost of replacing and maintaining water infrastructure to be around US$1.3 trillion for developed and emerging economies.

For nations like Australia – one of the world's driest populated countries – this matter has an immediate significance. Half of Australia's water consumption goes to the agricultural sector, which is a key competitive industry for the nation.

Australia's urban centres, too, have significant vulnerabilities when it comes to water supplies. A study by Arup explained that Sydney is extremely dependent on its reservoir capacity and faces challenges as the population continues to swell.

Hydrosmart can't solve all of these issues, which require expert analysis and infrastructure adjustments. However, water treatment in Australia and elsewhere helps to maximise the available water supply. Our technology turns previously hard, inefficient water into a nutrient-rich, usable supply. This is one step that can help address growing concerns over water – a pressing matter around the world.