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Water management focuses on long-term sustainable management of water resources, primarily as it relates to municipal, agricultural, and industrial/corporate use.

Size/Magnitude of Problem

Water resource management impacts almost all aspects of the economy, in particular, health, food production and security, domestic water supply and sanitation, energy, industry, and environmental sustainability . Without proper water management, the demand for usable freshwater will greatly exceed the supply and cause a strain on agriculture, health, and food production. As the resource becomes increasingly precious as a result of population growth and dwindling supply, tension and eventually conflict around water access becomes a greater risk.

  • Only 3% of the Earth’s water resources is freshwater, and 70 percent of that is locked in ice caps and glaciers.ii
  • While the supply of usable freshwater on Earth is generally fixed at 4,200 cubic kilometers, the demand is projected to increase to 6,900 cubic kilometers per year by 2030iii and 8,515 cubic kilometers per year by 2050.iv
  • By 2030, 47% of world population will be living in areas of high water stress.v
Desired Equilibrium

Water resources are responsibly and equitably managed to ensure supply for future generations, particularly for those where the need is greatest. Water security occurs when the right amount of fresh water is in the right place and is managed effectively.

Ways Skoll social entrepreneurs are addressing the issue:
  • Working with municipalities to design efficient water management systems (EcoPeace, Foundation for Ecological Security, Global Footprint Network)
  • Developing irrigation technology that enables more responsible water use (International Development Enterprises-India, Proximity Designs)
  • Promoting transparency and accountability measures in corporate activities (B Lab, Ceres, Global Footprint Network, Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs)
  • Supporting local communities to protect watershed ecosystems (EcoPeace, Foundation for Ecological Security, Forest Trends)

i World Water Assessment Programme (link)
ii United Nations Environment Programme (link)
iii McKinsey (link)
iv World Water Development Report (link)
v World Water Development Report

Critical Geographies
Renewable Internal Freshwater Resources per Capita

As defined by the World Bank (< 100 cubic meters)
Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Qatar, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Israel, Jordan