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World Bank Report Highlights Global Water Crisis

Context:

The World Bank’s new report, “Water for Shared Prosperity,” unveiled at the 10th World Water Forum in Bali, Indonesia, underscores the severe global water crisis and its significant impact on human and economic development worldwide.

Relevance:

GS I: Water Resources

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the Report on Water and Sanitation
  2. World Water Forum 2024

Key Highlights of the Report on Water and Sanitation

Global Access to Water and Sanitation
  • Significant Gaps: As of 2022, 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services, and 3.5 billion lack access to safely managed sanitation.
  • Rural Disparities: Eight out of ten people without basic drinking water and sanitation services live in rural areas.
Regional Disparities in Access to Water

Freshwater Distribution:

  • China and India: Represent 36% of the global population but only hold 11% of the world’s freshwater.
  • North America: Represents 5% of the global population but possesses 52% of freshwater.

Africa and Asia:

  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo has over half of Africa’s water resources.
  • Regions such as the Sahel, Southeastern Africa, and South and Central Asia remain water-stressed.

Low-Income Countries:

  • These areas have experienced a decline in access to safe drinking water, with an additional 197 million people lacking access since 2000.

Marginalised Groups:

  • Disparities also affect marginalized groups based on gender, location, ethnicity, race, and other social identities.
Impact of Climate Change
  • Increased Risks: Climate change exacerbates water-related risks, with developing countries facing more severe and prolonged droughts and floods.
  • High Risk: Over 800 million people are at high risk of drought, and twice as many live in flood-prone areas.
Future Projections:
  • By 2100, meteorological drought is expected to impact 15% more of the global land area, potentially increasing to nearly 50% with temperature effects.
  • Areas most affected will include Central Europe, Asia, the Horn of Africa, India, North America, Amazonia, and central Australia.
    • Vulnerable Populations: Poor populations are more exposed to water-related risks and have limited capacity to adapt, perpetuating a cycle of poverty.
Importance of Water and Sanitation Services
  • Human Capital Development: Access to these services is essential for educational attainment and overall human capital development.
Economic Impact:
  • In low-income countries, 56% of jobs are in water-intensive sectors that are highly sensitive to water availability.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, 62% of employment is in water-dependent jobs, with low rainfall significantly impacting GDP growth.
Water Management and Social Impact
  • Community Trust: Effective and equitable water management fosters community trust and cooperation.
  • Conflict Prevention: Mismanagement can exacerbate conflicts, whereas proper water resource management promotes peace, social cohesion, inclusivity, and reduces tensions.
Recommended Interventions for Sustainable Water Management
  • Strengthening Resilience: Enhance resilience to hydro-climatic risks for the poorest populations.
  • Resource Development: Improve development, management, and allocation of water resources.
  • Equitable Delivery: Promote equitable and inclusive delivery of water services to reduce poverty and increase shared prosperity.

World Water Forum 2024

  • Event: The 2024 World Water Forum (10th WWF)
  • Theme: “Water for Shared Prosperity”
  • Organizers: Jointly organized by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the World Water Council.
World Water Council
  • Establishment: Founded in 1996
  • Location: Marseille
  • Membership: Comprises 260 member organizations from 52 countries, including India.
  • Mission: To unite the international community to advocate for water as a critical political priority for sustainable and equitable global development.
Significance of the Forum
  • Scale: The World Water Forum is the world’s largest event of its kind, held every three years since 1997 with a different host country each time.
  • Platform: Provides a unique venue for the water community and key decision-makers to collaborate and make long-term commitments to address global water challenges.
  • Goal: To ensure clean and equitable access to water for all, fostering sustainable development and cooperation among nations.

-Source: Down To Earth


June 2024
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