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Friday, March 6, 2009

Water crisis: world heads for ‘water bankruptcy’ warns World Economic Forum report

Reminder - World Water Day- March 22

In 2009, the focus of World Water Day on March 22 will be on transboundary waters: sharing water, sharing opportunities.

Water crisis: world heads for ‘water bankruptcy’ warns World Economic Forum report

Many places in the world are on the verge of "water bankruptcy" following a series of regional water "bubbles" over the past 50 years that fuelled economic growth, according to a new report [1] by the World Economic Forum (WEF). This leads to a structural problem in the way water is managed across the global economy.
Some of the highlights of the forecast include:
The majority of the glaciers of the Himalayas and Tibet, which are a source of water for more than 2 billion people, will disappear by 2100 under current trends.
70 major rivers around the world are close to being totally drained in order to supply water for irrigation systems and reservoirs.

Within two decades, water will become a mainstream theme for investors; for many, water is already a better "pick" than oil. With good regulation, this will enable much more financing to be mobilized to invest in water infrastructure and technology.

The report was presented at the WEF Annual Meeting held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, from 28 January to 1 February 2009. At the meeting, Margaret Catley-Carlson chaired a special session on "The Politics of Water". “By far the most controversial issue was the need to recognize water as a scarce commodity. All participants agreed that pricing is as economically necessary as it is politically risky”, the session summary report [2] stated.

[1] WEF Water Initiative (2009). The bubble is close to bursting : a forecast of the main economic and geopolitical water issues likely to arise in the world during the next two decades. Draft. Geneva, Switzerland, World Economic Forum. 68 p. PDF file.
[2] Read the full session summary here and view the webcast here.
Web site: WEF Water Initiative.

Related news:
Climate change: millions fear death as water resources are depleted, Tearfund report, Source Weekly, 30 Jan 2009
World Economic Forum: water as critical as climate change, Source Weekly, 25 Feb 2008
Contact: WEF Water Initiative, Switzerland,

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