Third World Centre for Water Management

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Impacts of Megatrends on the Global Water Landscape

Megatrends can be defined as ‘sequence[s] of events or observed phenomena that have some momentum in a particular direction and some level of durability’ (Rohner, 2018). They are reshaping the future of the world in many known and unknown ways. In the area of water, megatrends that are driving use and management practices and processes include demographic development, economic growth, urbanization, sustainability-related issues, infrastructure, technology, commercialization, social and perceptional changes, climate variability and change, and, most importantly, water-related thinking (Biswas, Tortajada, & Rohner, 2018).

The relevance of these megatrends is dependent on the economic, social, political and environmental implications they have for the society as a whole, both currently and in the future. An important consideration is how society can be better prepared for, learn about and take advantage of the opportunities that megatrends offer. How can the water profession and policy makers build resilience sustainably over the long term and not simply react to these changes in an ad hoc manner? How can plans best be formulated so that water-related institutions are able to provide appropriate, timely and cost-effective responses?

Cecilia Tortajada and Asit K. Biswas, 2018, International Journal of Water Resources Development, Volume 34, Number 2, pages 147–149

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