Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsWithout the means of storing and distributing water, around 80% of people would suffer from water scarcity across the globe. This is why the capacity to store and manage water supplies and their distribution is so important. This can be a role for national and local governments who are responsible for water regulation, or for water utility companies who may develop fiscal incentives to encourage the better use of available water resources. There is also a role for communities, for households, and for individuals in managing their own use of water. Not all water is piped to people's houses. Many rely on the water they can collect themselves, or that can be delivered to them by tankers or cars.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 secondsWhere water governance itself fails, then we can witness water shortages, water stoppages, and poor quality of water supplies. The challenge of establishing water security is then as much a governance challenge as it is an environmental or a technical one. As water has to be shared between different users, managing the amount available and its quality is critical for the well-being of both people and the ecosystems. As our demand for water increases, so the importance of arbitrating between competing uses rises. Whilst this would normally be managed within one country, trans-boundary management issues-- whereby water supplies that lies in one country are in demand in another-- are becoming more prominent. And this is a particular challenge for water governance.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 secondsManagement of flood risk is also an important feature of water security. Floods are where too much water disrupts environmental, social, and economic activities with negative effects on ecosystems, livelihoods, or well-being. Water security does not always affect all users equally. Some can secure access to safe water even where their near neighbours struggle with scarcity and quality. This is often related to the affordability of different water resources and the impact of differences in incomes.

Managing water supplies

In this video, Dr Adrian Healy explains the concept of managing quality and quantity of water supplies for people and ecosystems.

View the UN’s poster on water security

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The Challenge of Global Water Security

Cardiff University

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