Saturday is the United Nations-declared World Water Day, a day the international development community will discuss today’s global water- and energy-related challenges to poverty reduction.
The main event of the day will be the much-anticipated World Water Development Report, produced by several UN agencies under UN-Water and governments and international organizations. UN-Water will launch the report, in its fifth edition, during the main celebrations in Tokyo, Japan in the late evening (EST) on Friday.
The first four reports were triennial and released during previous world water forums. The 2014 report is the first annual report and will be shorter and divided into themes focusing on the interdependency of water and energy.
For example, according to the International Energy Agency, global energy demand will increase by one third by 2025 and currently accounts for 15 percent of fresh water draws. Most of water use (70 percent) is used for agriculture, 10 percent is used for municipalities, and 20 percent is used for industry. The challenge laid out in the report is that 75 percent of industry’s use of water is used to meet energy demand. While some renewables do not use much water, thermal energy will continue to dominate the market, and it requires water for cooling.
Here’s a quick overview of the report:
The beginning of the report will focus on the business of energy, estimated globally at $6 trillion, which dwarfs the water services industry. The authors point to the money to explain why energy gets much more political attention, while water in politics remains in a social or environmental frame.
The next section details emerging trends on water availability and the energy required to power water services. It includes new findings on increased stress on ground water.
The last section of the first part describes different types of energy and the demands for energy and their impact on water availability.
Five lead agencies authored part two, which looks at subthemes on water and energy. These include infrastructure and financing, how water and energy relate to food availability, accelerating urbanization, manufacturing and the roles and responsibilities of private sector companies within water and energy use and ecosystems.
Part three breaks down specific water-related issues by region, with authors from those regions to offer their local perspectives.
Part four presents narratives of local governments and businesses carrying out actions prescribed in other sections of the report.
And the final part looks at the role of the UN and the international community in forming energy and water-related goals and roadmaps.