From severe droughts today, to a multiplying risk of flood disasters is coming years, the world is adapting to a more volatile and uncertain water future.

One thing of which I am certain, is that our water security is decreasing.

People are using more water for everything from potato chips to microchips. To counter this, communities, companies and countries will have to change how they value and use water.

 

1. Don’t send dirty water back into nature.

 

Only some 20% of the global domestic sewage is currently treated. New technologies, such as the ones invented by the 2018 Stockholm Water Prize Laureates, show that wastewater is in fact a resource, a liquid asset stream. Our effluent/waste contains 5–10 times the energy required to treat it. It is why the busses in Stockholm run on biogas from our treatment plants.

Sewage is also full of plant nutrients that, for example, make the Israeli desert (where 90% of their wastewater is reused) bloom - instead of destroying our lakes and seas with eutrophication and algal blooms.

 

2. Don’t use more than you need.

 

Industry seldom pay the full cost for their water. For example, food, energy and manufacturing companies need better incentives to invest in using less water. We need to produce goods, services and crops using less water.

 

3. Look at the world through a water lens!

 

Greater awareness and discussion is needed on how to invest our water resources wisely in our economies. We also need to invest in the institutions and infrastructure that manage our waters. Our current governance systems are mainly built for abundance.

Increasing water demand (over 55% globally), together with climate change, means there are very rough waters ahead. We need flexible but firm governance that can help us to surf the waves, towards the future we want.