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UN World Water Development Report 2024


Why is it in the news?

  • UN World Water Development Report 2024 focused on ‘Water for Prosperity and Peace’ was released.

 Key Highlights of the Report

Recognition of Water’s Role in Peace and Prosperity:

  • The report emphasizes the critical role of water in ensuring both peace and prosperity globally.
  • While it acknowledges water’s significance in peace and prosperity, it doesn’t conclusively predict that future wars will be fought over water resources.

Current Status of Water Resources:

  • Agriculture constitutes 70% of freshwater withdrawals, highlighting its heavy reliance on water.
  • Lake Chad has significantly diminished in size by 90% over the past 60 years, indicating the severity of water resource depletion.
  • Cooperation over shared surface water is increasing, but groundwater resources remain largely neglected.

Challenges in Attaining SDG 6 (Water for All by 2030):

  • Approximately 50% of the global population faces severe water scarcity at least part of the year, underscoring the urgency of addressing this issue.
  • Regions such as Northwest India and North China are identified as top hotspots for water-related risks to food production.

Prevalence of Water-Prosperity Paradox:

  • Developed water resource infrastructure can stimulate growth and prosperity, but only wealthy nations can afford such investments.
  • The report highlights the paradox where access to water infrastructure is crucial for prosperity, yet it remains out of reach for many due to financial constraints.

Key Recommendations for Sustainable Water Management

  • Emphasizes the importance of transboundary agreements for effective water management.
  • Calls for increased private investment, estimating an annual investment requirement of approximately US $114 billion until 2030 to achieve universal access to water.
  • Advocates for decoupling water usage from production in industries, citing examples like Tata Chemicals’ significant reduction in groundwater usage through recycling and better water management practices.
Linkage of Water with Peace and Prosperity

·       Water scarcity can escalate local disputes, as evident in regions like the Sahel, potentially leading to increased migration and tensions in settlement areas.

·       Water is essential for maintaining environmental integrity and plays a significant role in job creation, particularly in low and lower-middle-income countries where a substantial portion of jobs relies on water.

·       Water scarcity disproportionately affects girls and women, undermining their education, economic participation, and safety, highlighting the need for inclusive water management strategies.

 

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