Markets-Based Approach Can Help Solve Global Water Scarcity
As cities grow and farms expand, many rivers and lakes are being dried up by water diversions.The Nature Conservancy is now working with environmentally-minded investors to buy back some water for nature. That story is told in a new report released today titled “Water Share: Using water markets and impact investing to drive sustainability.” The report explores the use of creative impact investing solutions to alleviate water scarcity, restore ecosystems, support farmers and drive sustainable water management, especially in areas where water trading exists and water use is dominated by irrigated agriculture.
Today, nearly half the world’s population is impacted by water shortages. More than 50 percent of the world’s cities and 75 percent of all irrigated farms experience water shortages on a regular basis. Water sources around the world are being over-exploited with over 30 percent near exhaustion. Traditional methods for securing additional water supplies, such as building more reservoirs or aqueducts, are often beyond affordable reach for people living in water-scarce regions.
Nature is the silent and often unseen victim of water scarcity. A recent report noted that since 1970, 76 percent of recorded freshwater species populations have declined with water depletion being a lead cause of their decline. Climate change is expected to place even more challenging conditions on nature in the future.