OECD warning over rising water security risks
- Business & Industry ,
- Water ,
- Mitigation ,
- Central government
Governments that fail to manage water risks will jeopardise growing populations and cities, economic growth and food or energy security, claims new research from the OECD
The Paris-based organisation says that by 2050 more than 40% of the world’s population will live under severe water stress and almost 20% could be exposed to floods.
It calculates that the economic value of assets at risk from floods will reach $45 trillion by the middle of the century. Moreover, there is increasing risk of water pollution, which is adding to uncertainty about future availability.
Nearly all of the 34 OECD member countries forecast rising water risks due to climate change, with extreme events – floods and/or droughts – cited as a primary concern by 32 states. About half the countries surveyed noted that climate change impacts on water supply and sanitation are a key concern, with a similar number highlighting concerns about the impacts on water quality.
“We have been forewarned – there is no doubt these risks are increasing. Instead of just reacting to water crises, governments must assess, target and manage water risks proactively,” said OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, meanwhile, has published new guidance on building the business case for improving water management.
Water valuation: building the business case aims to demonstrate the financial benefits for companies in engaging with water valuation and is supported by a review of 21 studies that illustrate how and why different firms have carried out water valuation.
Among the examples is the questionnaire used by Yorkshire Water to determine how much people are willing to pay for improved water provision.
The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted Southern Water for thousands of illegal raw sewage discharges that polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, resulting in a record £90m fine.
In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
Global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 4% over the next 10 years, despite the carbon intensity of production declining. That is according to a new report from the UN food agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which forecasts that 80% of the increase will come from livestock.
Half of consumers worldwide now consider the sustainability of food and drink itself, not just its packaging, when buying, a survey of 14,000 shoppers across 18 countries has discovered. This suggests that their understanding of sustainability is evolving to include wellbeing and nutrition, with sustainable packaging now considered standard.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.
New jobs that help drive the UK towards net-zero emissions are set to offer salaries that are almost one-third higher than those in carbon-intensive industries, research suggests.