The increasing global energy demand will strain the world’s fresh water resources in the coming decade, especially in developing and emerging economies, said the 2014 World Water Development Report launched in Tokyo on Friday.
This UN-Water flagship report, produced and coordinated by the World Water Assessment Program of UNESCO, was released during an official UN ceremony of 2014 World Water Day held at Tokyo’s United Nations University. “The 2014 World Water Development Report shines light on the interdependence between the management of water and energy,”said Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, adding that the interdependence calls for vastly improved cooperation between related sectors.
The report shows that 15 percent of water withdrawal was used for energy production at present, which will rise by 20 percent by 2035 due to the population growth, urbanization and changing consumption patterns.
Demand for electricity is expected to rise by 70 percent by 2035, with more than half of this growth come from development in China and India, according to the report.
It says, however, many parts of the world are suffering with declining water resources as 20 percent of all aquifers are believed to be over-exploited. About 2.3 billion people will be living in regions subjected to severe water stress, notably in North America, Central and South Africa.
Michel Jarraud, chair of UN-Water, added that people who lack of access to water and sanitation were often the ones who are short of energy. UN predicts that by 2030, the global population will need 35 percent more food, 40 percent more water and 50 percent more energy.
To fight against the challenge, the report highlights the need to coordinate water and energy management policies, including revising pricing practices to ensure the reasonable price that reflect their real cost and environmental impact.
The report also suggests the establishment of systems allowing for the combined production of water and electricity, particularly adapted to the arid regions.
It calls for creating an environment that enables private investment in infrastructure along with the public sector to promote sustainable service delivery, reduce investment inefficiencies and help close the infrastructure financing gap.
The UN World Water Development Report is a collaborative effort of the 31 UN entities and 36 international partners that make up UN-Water. The triennial report from 2003 to 2012 becomes an annual edition this year, responding to the need of international community for a concise, evidence-based and yearly publication with a specific thematic focus and recommendations.