WWF’s Report: The High Cost of Cheap Water

WWF’s Report: The High Cost of Cheap Water

News: The recently released WWF’s report warns of a growing global water crisis that poses a threat to $58 trillion in economic value, food security, and sustainability.

Background:
• The report was released on World Food Day (16th Oct). Most importantly it presents the first-ever annual estimate of the economic value of water and freshwater ecosystems.

Key Findings:
• Economic Value of Water: The annual economic value of water and freshwater ecosystems is estimated to be USD 58 trillion, equivalent to 60% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
• Direct Economic Benefits: Direct economic benefits, such as water consumption for households, irrigated agriculture, and industries, amount to a minimum of USD 7.5 trillion annually.
• Unseen Benefits: The unseen benefits, which include purifying water, enhancing soil health, storing carbon, and protecting communities from extreme floods and droughts, are seven times higher at around USD 50 trillion annually.
• Degradation of Freshwater Ecosystems: The world’s freshwater ecosystems are in a downward spiral, posing an ever-growing risk to these economic values. Since 1970, the world has lost one-third of its remaining wetlands, while freshwater wildlife populations have dropped by 83%.
• Threats to Food Security: This disastrous trend has contributed to growing numbers of people facing water shortages and food insecurity. Unsustainable agricultural practices are among the primary threats to rivers and floodplains.

Key Recommendations:
• Protect and restore rivers and floodplains to ensure food security
• Encourage Diets Reducing Demand for Products Straining Freshwater Resources
• Adopt Sustainable Land Use Practices
• Financial institutions should Invest in Nature-based Solutions for climate adaptation
• End Harmful Subsidies in agriculture and energy

About World Food Day
• World Food Day 2023 is observed on Monday, 16 October.
• The theme for World Food Day 2023 is: Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind. This international day is spearheaded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and is dedicated to raising awareness about food security, hunger, and agricultural concerns on a global scale.

About WWF:
• The World Wide Fund for Nature is a Swiss-based (HQ: Gland) international non-governmental organization founded in 1961.
• It’s the world’s largest conservation organization focuses on preserving the environment and aims to halt its degradation. WWF runs campaigns like Earth Hour.  

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