The world has enough clean water for all, yet 2,1 billion people are still forced to drink unsafe water every day. According to the UN’s World Water Development Report, if we do not manage the world’s most important resource more effectively, five billion people will be living in areas with insufficient access to safe water in 2050.
Like every crisis, the water crisis hits the poor hardest. Poverty, conflict, corruption and climate change increase the vulnerability of countries, local communities and families. We live in uncertainty as to when the world’s first major urban water crisis will be a fact. In this report, you can read about the people of Cape Town, who are living with strict regulations and limitations on water use, just managing to avoid the socalled “Day Zero” a situation where the city physically runs out of water. Alarmingly the situation in Cape Town is not unique but is also reflected in megacities like Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Karachi, as well as in different rural parts of the world. In the private sector water is often essential to production and many companies have already begun to report significant financial risks associated with water issues.
This report also focuses on solutions, on how people are coping with the water challenges they are facing. Rainwater harvesting in the rural areas of Brazil and reduction in water usage on the production lines of Cape Town are just two effective solutions that manage water in a better way. These solutions are extremely important, as the way we handle the coming water crisis will greatly influence the livelihoods for millions of people and future value creation.
This report aims to increase knowledge on the topic and to mobilise companies to ensure good water stewardship and concrete action towards SDG 6 Access to Clean Water and Sanitation. Despite our different perspectives as a humanitarian actor and an institutional investor, we stand on common ground: The world needs concrete actions if we are to have any chance of making real progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. How we prepare for and adapt to changing environmental realities will be one of the defining challenges of our time.