By 2040, a far-sighted approach to water resource management in mature economies coupled with investment for the long-term has relieved public fears about water scarcity resulting from growing populations and climate change. Drinking water supplies are stable, even in water-stressed areas, while availability of water ensures farmers enjoy plentiful harvests. People everywhere enjoy a better environment. In cities, rivers are healthier with more biodiversity, supporting mental and physical wellbeing, and boosting water-based leisure and tourism.
Sectors are working together to clean up aquifers, rivers, lakes and seas. Contaminants previously thought too difficult to control, such as plastics and pharmaceuticals, are being removed. This is slowing antimicrobial resistance, buying time to develop new medicines that prevent common illnesses from becoming major health risks.
Monitoring wastewater for pollution enables new diseases to be detected quickly, working as part of an early warning system against pandemics. Having achieved its goal of cutting carbon emissions to net-zero a decade ago, the water industry is now a net contributor to the energy grid. New jobs, cleaner air, reduced risk of flooding, and lower bills for both electricity and water are some of the benefits.
This is how.