Water use has been increasing worldwide by about 1% per year since the 1980s. Growing populations, more water-intensive patterns of growth, increasing rainfall variability, and pollution are combining in many places to put even more pressure on water availability and quality, threatening sustainable development, ecosystems and biodiversity worldwide.
Global water demand is expected to continue increasing at a similar rate until 2050, accounting for an increase of 20 to 30% above the current level of water use, mainly due to rising demand in the industrial and domestic sectors, according to the World Water Development Report 2019.
Over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress, and about 4 billion people experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year.
Global hydrological conditions of floods and droughts as well as potential conflicts in water use represent some of the greatest challenges and threats facing the world’s population.
And yet, the capacity to monitor and manage this vital resource is fragmented and inadequate. The need for careful water management has never been greater. Strengthening operational hydrological services and improving monitoring and forecasting are key to tackling issues of too much, too little or too polluted water and support operational management, planning and decision support.
Increased water stress and meeting future demands will require increasingly tough decisions about how to allocate water resources between competing water uses.
In many countries, meteorological and weather services are separate from hydrological and water services. Cooperation between these services, and with users, is key to providing integrated and complete information needed to support water-smart decision-making.
WMO is committed to eight long-term ambitions related to water:
· No one is surprised by a flood
· Everyone is prepared for drought
· Hydro-climate and meteorological data support the food security agenda
· High-quality data supports science
· Science provides a sound basis for operational hydrology
· We have a thorough knowledge of the water resources of our world
· Sustainable development is supported by information covering the full hydrological cycle
· Water quality is known
Only 0.5% of the Earth’s water is readily available for human consumption1.
40% of the world’s people are affected by water scarcity1.
High Level Panel on Water
World Water Development Report 2019
WMO Bulletin: Special Issue on Water (2018)