The UN 2012 annual report: Water management in a world of risks and uncertainties

© Lionel Goujon - Les Voyageurs de l'Eau

Intensified climate change and a tremendous increase in world water demand exacerbate the pressure on freshwater, slightly aggravating the economic disparities between countries. This is the discovery made by the United Nations in its last annual report presented today in Marseille.

“Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk”, the 4th edition of the world report on the valorisation of water resources published by the United Nations, will be presented today at 3:00 PM at the Parc Chanot by Irina Bokova, General Director of UNESCO and Michel Jarraud, UN-Water President and General Secretary of the World Meteorological Organisation. The conclusions of this important UN report will be presented by Olcay Ünver, Coordinator of the WWAP.
Highly expected by the international community, this report indicates two phenomena which contribute to the increase water demand. On one hand, the demand for water will continue to increase. Whether it is for human consumption, or agricultural, industrial and power production, the demand will reach a historical peak. By 2050, food needs should increase by 70 %, with an increasing demand for animal foodstuffs inducing a 19 % increase in water use for the agricultural sector. This sector is by far the biggest consumer of water, representing up to 70 % of the global water consumption.

By 2035, Water intended for production processes should also increase by about 50%, taking population growth and development of economic activities into consideration. The report also notes that one billion people still do not have access to improved potable water and there are more people without access to running water in town than there were in the 90s.
By 2050, the world urban population should reach 6.3 billion individuals, compared to 3.4 in 2009.
Droughts, floods and other consequences of climate change will affect water demand. The 2°C rise in temperature will have a huge financial impact. By 2030, some regions of the world, such as South Asia and Africa, are projected to be most affected by climate change.
The conclusions are clear”, assures Irina Bokova, in the Foreword of the report. “(…) Considering the needs and demand, freshwater is not used in a sustainable way. The information remains disparate and water management fragmented. In this context the future is more and more uncertain and the risks likely to increase“.
(*) World Water Assessment Programme.

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