UN warns of imminent global water crisis
The UN agency said the world faces a “global water crisis’’ due to population growth, socioeconomic development and changing consumption patterns.
It also said that another 3.6 billion lacked access to safely managed sanitation.
“There is an urgent need to establish strong international mechanisms to prevent the global water crisis from spiralling out of control,’’ said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “Water is our common future, and it is essential to act together to share it equitably and manage it sustainably.’’
The global urban population facing water scarcity is projected to double from 930 million in 2016 to between 1.7 and 2.4 billion people in 2050.
The report said that the rising incidence of extreme and prolonged droughts also stresses ecosystems, with dire consequences for both plant and animal species.
The report’s editor-in-chief, Richard Connor, said building partnerships and cooperation were crucial for realising human rights to water and overcoming existing challenges.
“If we don’t address it, there definitely will be a global crisis,’’ he said.
The UN Water Conference, co-hosted by the Netherlands and Tajikistan, would occur over three days in New York.
It was the first UN event focusing entirely on water policy in nearly 50 years.