The Price of Water: Decoding its value to our future
Water bodies are reservoirs of our most precious resource as well as the lifeblood of our communities. They enable the mobility and wellbeing that we need to thrive. Water covers 70 percent of our planet, yet only 3 percent is fresh water, and less than 1 percent is available to humankind as liquid fresh water. About half of the earth’s surface is covered by over 250 lakes and river basins shared between countries and over 300 aquifers cross national borders. Today over 2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. By 2030, demand for water is expected to exceed available supply by 40 percent due to population growth, rapid urbanisation, and climate change. At the same time, agriculture, and manufacturing account for over 90% of freshwater usage. Ensuring access to water for everyone is one of the hardest tasks ahead of us and could benefit from a greater understanding of the true economic and social costs of water. The aim of this World Majlis is to sharpen our understanding of these complex issues and explore different responses through technological innovation, business models and new forms of international cooperation. What are the technological innovations we can rely upon to make more water available to more people? How should we value water to balance economic value and the public good? Can water be a driver for better economic and political collaboration?