There is much at stake. The World Economic Forum ranked water crises as number one in its 2015 assessment of global risks, with potential to cause damaging economic and social impacts across entire countries and sectors. Living with climate change will mean coping with the impacts on water, whether too much or too little, and taking the necessary steps to reduce the vulnerabilities of communities and economies.
Climate change impacts will have direct consequences for water security. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) alerted the global community to the great vulnerability of freshwater resources as a result of climate change. A recent study by the International Food Policy Research Institute found that 4.8 billion people – more than half the world’s population – and approximately half of global grain production will be at risk due to water stress by 2050 if business-as-usual persists.
Water management helps to drive transboundary cooperation, including on climate resilience. Water cooperation helps to reduce the risk of conflict within communities and among countries.