Water resources are, and have always been, a multidimensional resource that crosses all social and economic sectors. Globally, growing population and urbanisation have increased the pressure to meet the water, energy, and food demands of larger populations with higher expectations. As a result, both developed and developing countries seem to be racing against the clock to respond to the needs of societies in which inequalities continue to grow. Water resources are scarcer and more polluted; their management, governance, and development increasingly depend on decisions that are made in other sectors, many times without sufficient coordination; and their availability is more than ever threatened by issues, such as climate variability and change, that impose nothing but uncertainty. These factors have led to water resources being seen through the lenses of risk and security. The security of water resources necessitates a departure from the status quo, to an innovative system that is able to understand and appreciate how different natural, policy, and political variables interact and affect each other. This system requires a wholesome perspective that is able to propose alternatives that consider complexity and that are adaptive to an uncertain future. A departure is necessary because the status quo has proven unable to respond to the present needs and expectations, much less to future ones.
By Cecilia Tortajada and Victor Fernandez, Chapter of the book: Global Water Security, edited by World Water Council, 2018, Springer, Singapore, pages 1-19. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-10-7913-9_1