Securing Water, Sustaining Growth: Report of the GWP/OECD Task Force on Water Security and Sustainable Growth
University of Oxford
For millennia, humankind has struggled to develop water resources for domestic water supplies, to provide irrigation, and to limit flood losses. This struggle to leverage water-related opportunities and manage water-related risks, while addressing social and environmental demands, is at the heart of water security.
Most of the world’s developing countries remain relatively water insecure. Most developed countries invested heavily in water security, often starting early on their path to growth. These developed nations are now relatively water secure, but must continuously adapt and invest to maintain water security in the face of climate change, deteriorating infrastructure, economic development, demographic change, and rising environmental quality expectations.
Today, the challenge of water security is global, and growing. Achieving and sustaining water security, in both developed and developing countries, is likely to increase in complexity and priority - not only as climate change intensifies, but also as the demands of economic growth increase. The criticality of this challenge is reflected in the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Risks Report, in which water is ranked as the global risk with the single greatest potential impact on economies over the next ten years. Its importance is also signalled by the proposed development of a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal for water.
The objective of this Report is to promote sustainable growth and well-being, by providing empirical evidence to guide investment in water security. It seeks to: analyze the dynamics of water security and growth; quantify water-related risks and opportunities and their trajectories; and assess the experience of past pathways of investment toward water security. The Report focuses on growth: where, how, and how much, water security affects growth. The Report adopts a risk-based approach to identify the hazards and vulnerabilities of a lack of water security