A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation – a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5000 people working in Russia and abroad. In addition, it works in close cooperation with 126 economic partners; industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions; and financial, trade, and business associations from 69 countries worldwide.

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Research
17.03.2020

Water scarcity: Addressing the key challenges

Freshwater scarcity: Gravity of the problem


Water covers 70% of the Earth’s surface. However, usable freshwater accounts for as little as 3% of the entire world’s water. Over two billion people still live in countries experiencing high water stress, while four billion people experience severe water scarcity for at least one month a year. According to Credit Suisse, by 2030 a 40% supply-demand gap can be expected.

Water scarcity, and the societal risks it poses, is one of the primary challenges faced by the world today. Water scarcity is one of the key areas of focus as part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and addressing the consequences of the problem is central to six of these SDGs.

Factors driving water demand


With total water consumption set to see structural growth for decades to come, the report finds three factors driving water demand:
  • Population growth.
Global population is expected to reach ten billion by 2050 with global water usage expected to reach 5.3 trillion m³ by 2050, up from 3.7 trillion m³ currently.
  • Urbanization.
Urbanization raises water consumption by improving access to water and increasing the penetration of water-consuming appliances, and also causes higher water losses due to inadequate infrastructure maintenance.
  • Rise of the emerging middle class.
Rising wealth in emerging economies is likely to lead to higher per-capita food and calorie intake as higher incomes allow greater expenditure on food, as well as increased consumption of water-intensive non-food products.

Need for a global approach to the problem of water scarcity


Water supply, measured using renewable internal freshwater resources, is typically very static as renewable resources are low in many countries. According to Credit Suisse, part of the reason why the issue of water scarcity has not received the necessary attention from the global community to date might be because water scarcity is perceived as a more local issue than climate change. For example, high water stress in areas like North Africa and the Middle Eastern countries doesn’t seem surprising, given their climate and geography, so the problem doesn’t receive due global consideration.

While acknowledging the regional nature of the water-scarcity problem, the authors of the report underline the need for a coordinated global approach to address water stress.

Climate change and water stress: Strong linkages


Water stress and climate change are intrinsically linked — not least because disruption to rainfall patterns is a direct, incontrovertible result of climate change. The implications are two-fold. One is an immediate disruption: increased droughts, floods and temperatures. The other is a more permanent, systemic effect where increases in water vapor in the atmosphere increase heavy downpours and, ultimately, soil erosion.

The authors of the report note that actual water availability is impacted by projected increases in both flooding and drought going forward. Increased flooding puts up to 1.6 billion people at risk by 2050. However, compared to the sporadic impacts of flooding, drought is a chronic, long-term issue, and arguably the most pernicious result of climate change. Meanwhile, the number of droughts globally is up by five times since 1950.


Source: Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT)

Estimated water infrastructure investment requirements


Water infrastructure requires substantial capital investments. On many of these investments the minimum acceptable rates of return are not met due to low water pricing in many regions. Meanwhile, despite the price/value mismatch (especially if environmental costs are incorporated), the current ability to price water is significantly constrained and regulated.

Estimates of the required investment in global water and sanitation infrastructure by 2030 vary considerably from USD 7.5 trillion (McKinsey 2016) to USD 23.1 trillion (New Climate Economy Report, 2014). An OECD technical note reviewing varying forecasts, estimates a USD 13.6 trillion cumulative investment requirement (2015 USD, 2016–2030).

Currently, investment in water infrastructure remains insufficient and very low compared with investments in other types of infrastructure. As an illustration, Credit Suisse provides investment figures for water, ICT, energy, and transport infrastructure in emerging markets.


Source: World Bank, Credit Suisse estimates


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