Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Water: Tough trade-offs and a call for economic management

The management of water resources is an economic problem. The Water Resources Group 2030, consisting of the International Finance Corportion, McKinsey & Co and an extended business consortium has, in a new report, drawn attention to water scarcity and the need for economic management and further investment in this valuable resource.

A key argument is that current supply will be inadequate, but that meeting increasing demands is possible at a reasonable cost:

After careful quantitative analysis of the problem, this report provides some answers on the

path to water resource security. It first quantifies the situation and shows that in many regions, current supply will be inadequate to meet the water requirements. However, as a central thesis, it also shows that meeting all competing demands for water is in fact possible at reasonable cost. This outcome will not emerge naturally from existing market dynamics, but will require a concerted effort by all stakeholders, the willingness to adopt a total resource view where water is seen as a key, cross-sectoral input for development and growth, a mix of technical approaches, and the courage to undertake and fund water sector reforms.

South Africa was one of the case studies . The report indicates that South Africa will have to resolve tough trade-offs between agriculture, key industrial activities such as mining and power generation, and large and growing urban centers.

1 comment:

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