The World Economic Forum issued the 12th edition of the Global Risk Report (link*) on 11 January 2017. The report ranks “water crises” at number 3 in the list of the top 10 global risks in terms of impact. The report classifies “water crises” as a societal risk and places them between two closely related environmental risks (extreme weather events, number 2, and natural disasters, number 4).
The report notes the close association of water risks with other risk categories noting that “water crises can trigger or exacerbate geopolitical and societal risks” and states that water scarcity could put at risk 6% of GDP by 2050.
The report stresses the importance of physical infrastructure networks including water and wastewater networks. It notes the challenge to public authorities in treading “the delicate line between setting affordable tariffs and ensuring that capital can be found to invest in maintaining and renewing networks.” It notes the potential for new materials and new technologies to impact the way networks are conceived and operated.