06/14/2013 01:12 pm ET

Water Security: What Can Business Do?


The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projects that, under "business as usual," water demand will increase by 55% globally by 2050. The increase will mainly come from manufacturing (+400%), electricity (+140%) and domestic use (+130%). With no improvement in the use of freshwater, the world could face a 40% supply gap by 2030.

According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's (WBCSD) latest report, Sharing water: engaging business, the key to water security and quality are healthy watersheds (i.e. areas of land from which all surface runoff flows through a sequence of streams, wetlands, rivers and lakes into the sea at a single river mouth, estuary or delta). A watershed approach takes into consideration upstream and downstream interactions, and direct and indirect impacts. The role of watersheds needs to be recognised – and acted upon – in addressing the widening gap between global water demand and supply by all.

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