1.9 Billion People Live In Water-Scarce Areas!

It may well be hard to imagine given the wonderful British climate, but water stress and scarcity really is an issue that affects us all – even in the UK, where we do enjoy quite a lot of rainfall each year.


Just look at this summer as an example of how easily our fortunes can change… as lovely as the heatwave was, the Environment Agency issued some stark warnings that England could face water supply shortages by the year 2050 unless something is done – and quickly – to slash water use and wastage.


The report noted that enough water to meet the needs of 20 million of us is shockingly lost through leakage each and every day, and a burgeoning population and the impact of climate change are likely to add even further pressure to our supply.


So as you can see, while you might well think that water scarcity is something that happens in a far off land with an incredibly dry climate, it really is a global issue – and one that we all need to tackle together for the good of the planet as a whole.


A new Arup report – Cities Alive: Water for People – has in fact just revealed that there are 1.9 billion people who live in places around the world where water is already scarce. And one in four large cities are already under water stress, with demand for water only projected to increase, rising by 50 per cent by 2050.


The study identified five common themes for reconnecting members of the general public with the water cycle. The first of these was putting people first, right at the heart of city planning and design, so that more reliable supplies, effective flood protection, water quality improvements and a reduction in drought conditions can be achieved.


It was also advised that we now need to recognise that the interactions of ecology, sediment, nutrients and water are benefits if embraced but threats if left misunderstood. This recognition will aid in the design of cities that are focused on sustainability, wise water use and resilience.


A more integrated and broader strategy for urban infrastructure design is another necessary step, incorporating the likes of rainwater harvesting, flood risk management and more, with existing infrastructure able to be retrofitted in order to become multifunctional.


“Transitioning to water-wise cities relies on people taking responsibility in their respective roles, taking action towards basin-connected cities, water-sensitive urban design, and regenerative water services.


“This Cities Alive report Water for People will inspire urban leaders to build water-wise communities, redefining the problems that must be addressed and solved based on the needs of the people and what they can contribute,” Corinne Trommsdorff of the International Water Association commented.


If you’d like to find out how you can do your bit to help reduce water stress in the future, get in touch with us here at H2O Building Services today.