Water awareness for a sustainable future

SINGAPORE BUSINESS NEWS | August-September, 2012

Do you think we have enough water in the world to meet the needs of nine billion people by 2050?

The world is not running out of water. We have enough water to meet our current and foreseeable needs. However, what we have at present are somewhat mediocre water management practices in nearly all the countries of the world. Equally, we are not managing other sectors like food or energy properly, which need tremendous amounts of water. In my view, in many countries that are becoming important economic powerhouses, water management practices continue to be seriously substandard.

We have had the necessary knowledge, technology and funds to improve water management practices for years, but we have spectacularly failed to do so for three very important reasons. First, the absence of political will. Second, people in most countries have become so used to poor-quality water management that they do not think better management is possible. And third, the water profession and the media have implicitly accepted this poor status quo.

Assuming we do manage to improve our water management practices, there is no reason why there should not be adequate water to meet all human needs up to 2050 and beyond. Fortunately, I see some progress. A city like Phnom Penh in Cambodia can now provide clean and safe drinking water to all of its citizens 24 hours a day. I am cautiously optimistic about the world’s water future.

Full interview online