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Pictured left: Rising water level Below left: Dr Ania Grobicki Below: Filling Tanks " If we are to nourish today's 925 million hungry and the additional 2 billion people expected to be born by 2050, investments in agricultural water efficiency are paramount "glaciers are melting, while Arctic sea ice is disappearing. The iconic Mount Kilimanjaro has lost one third of its ice fields in the last two decades and the rest of its ice could disappear by 2015. Where glacier melt provides a major source of irrigation and drinking water during the summer, as in South American and South Asian countries, the shrinking and disappearance of glaciers means that water supply for many people will hit a wall. How can the world prepare for this? Promoting water security and climate resilient development will reinforce the overarching objectives of Rio+20 and the recent outcomes from the UNFCCC COP 17 convention in Durban: building the green economy and sustainable development, achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and strengthening international climate action. Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of "The future we want" - the theme for Rio +20. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. But due to bad economics, poor water infrastructure, and poor water management, every year millions of people, most of them women and children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene. Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities. Drought afflicts some of the world's poorest countries, worsening hunger and malnutrition. By 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water. Yet in many countries, agriculture uses 70 to 90 per cent of the fresh water available. Growing cities are inevitably competing for this water where the resources are scarce.Agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centred development and protecting the environment - but only if there is water security and water resources are safeguarded. If we are to nourish today's 925 million hungry and the additional 2 billion people expected to be born by 2050, investments in agricultural water efficiency are paramount. A profound transformation of the global food and agriculture system is needed, based upon better management of scarce water resources.The hope of many is that a green economy will create green jobs. But there can be no green jobs without water, which, when properly managed, brings benefits across an entire economy. n ACKNOWLEDGEMENTThis article was prepared with the expertise of the Global Water Partnership, an international network of 13 Regional and 80 Country Water Partnerships, and more than 2,500 institutional partners in 158 countries. The GWP network is committed to the sustainable development and management of water resources at all levels.Global Water Partnership (GWP)Drottninggatan 33SE-11151 Stockholm, SwedenTel: +46 (0) 8 522 126www.gwp.orgABOUT THE AUTHORDr Ania Grobicki is the Executive Secretary of the Global Water Partnership. Dr Grobicki has spent most of her working life on water-related issues, holding positions in the private sector as well as with NGOs and the U.N. She has a PhD in Biotechnology from Imperial College, London.Credit: GWPwater 075

Water Scarcity Could Pose a Risk to Global SecurityTimothy A. Hill, Global Communications Director, Dow Water & Process Solutions Climate change is causing water shortages which ultimately could lead to a global risk for both energy and food supplies. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as many as two billion people may be at risk from increasing water stress by the 2050s, and that this number could rise to 3.2 billion by the 2080s. Water is a component of all forms of energy and food supplies. It takes five gallons of water to produce one gallon of gasoline. As much as 70 per cent of all water is used globally for irrigation. In northeast China, one of the country's main grain-producing regions, climate change could increase drought losses by over 50 per cent by 2030. Climate change is likely to create difficulties meeting the growing demand for energy. Over 75 per cent of the global increase in energy use from 2007 to 2030 is expected to be met through fossil fuels, especially coal.In China, industrial water demand in 2030 is projected at 265 billion m3, which accounts for 40 per cent of the additional industrial demand worldwide. Demand for water for domestic use will decrease from 14 per cent today to 12 per cent in 2030.Many parts of the continent have reached the limits of water supplies. India's Ganges river and China's Yellow river no longer flow. India and China have been able to feed their populations because they use water in an unsustainable way. In India the Hindu river, the Ganges, is so depleted that the Sundarban wetlands and mangrove forests of Bangladesh are seriously threatened. As more trees are chopped down, and more buildings erected along its banks, the glaciers supplying the river have been melting, raising fears of shortages and drought downstream. The river has been the subject of a long-running dispute between India and Bangladesh, although recently progress has been made in resolving the conflict.All three rivers feeding China's Northern Plain are severely polluted, damaging health and limiting irrigation. The lower reaches of the Yellow river, which feeds China's most important farming region, ran dry for 226 days in 1997. Northern China is home to two-thirds of the country's cropland but only one-fifth of its water. As competing demands for water are made by cities, industry and agriculture, the land is drying up. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China lost 35 billion cubic meters (9.3 million gallons) of water every year over the past decade. That is as much water lost to China each year as flows through the mouth of the Mississippi River in nine months. Chinese climatologists and hydrologists attribute much of the drop to climate change, which is disrupting patterns of rain and snowfall. China's demand for energy, particularly for coal, is outpacing its freshwater supply. Production of coal has tripled since 2000 to 3.15 billion metric tons a year. Government analysts predict that China's energy companies will need to produce an additional billion metric tons of coal annually by 2020, representing a 30 percent increase. Fresh water needed for mining, processing, and consuming coal accounts for the largest share of industrial water use in China, or roughly 120 billion cubic metres a year, a fifth of all the water consumed nationally.Right: Timothy A. Hill.076 WATER