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Introduction to Week 4

Watch Professor Isabelle Durance introduce what we will cover in Week 4 of The Challenge of Global Water Security.
Welcome to the final week of the short course exploring global water security for people and ecosystems. And congratulations on getting to this point. Last week, we looked at the threats to water security that we expect to emerge more fully in the coming years and decades. We heard how a major water company is preparing for future issues. We examined the accelerating degradation of freshwater ecosystems. And we saw how new kinds of contaminants and pollutants are a potentially serious problem.
We also introduced two major global trends that will complicate many of the other growing problems– the risk to global water security from climate change, and the pressures of a burgeoning and more urbanised human population with an increasing gap in wealth between the rich and the poor. In this last week, we wanted to debate some of the possible solutions to the water security challenges faced by people and ecosystems around the world. These revolve around contrasting options of demand management, supply management, and improved large scale management of water attachments. First, taking the example of Cape Town in South Africa, which came perilously close to running out of water early in 2018, we ask what actions can help to reduce water demand.
We then look to the option of increasing water supply and water exploitation in order to strengthen water security. We’ll explore the major question of whether new supply can be grown quickly enough to meet the growing populations in some of the most water-stressed regions. These approaches are not mutually exclusive, and alongside them there is also the opportunity to place far more emphasis on water in the way that land is managed as part of an integrated catchment strategy. We’ll show you how this requires downstream effects to be considered far more fully in land management decisions.
Finally, we recognise that whilst behavioural, technological, and environmental innovations can all play a role in enhancing global water security for people and ecosystems, the way that people manage and govern water resources could be a key to ensuring water security and ecosystem protection. Now, it’s over to you for this last week’s work.

In this video, Professor Steve Ormerod introduces the topics for this week.

For the final week of the course, we’ll explore some of the solutions to the current and future challenges threatening water security around the world.

Over to you

  • Before we start, what solutions to water security challenges would you suggest?
  • What are the most threatening problems in your opinion?

Let us know in the comments.

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The Challenge of Global Water Security

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