Water is the ultimate systems challenge. It is a unique resource that underpins all drivers of growth – be it agricultural production, energy generation, industry or manufacturing. It also connects these sectors into a broader economic system that must balance social development and environmental interests. A decision to allocate more water to any one sector implies that less water will be available for other economic uses, public water supply and other social services, or environmental protection.
Despite its fundamental role across the economy, water is all too often managed in a fragmented manner, leaving national and regional growth strategies disconnected from insights into available and planned water resources. This results in competition across users, mismanaged trade-offs, disruptions to operations, and under-investment for critical infrastructure.
The Global Water Initiative, as one of the core projects of the System Initiative on Environment and Natural Resource Security, seeks to embed water at the center of economic growth planning. Building on its experience growing large-scale public-private coalitions in the water agenda, the Global Water Initiative is now working with key champions to identify and scale up a new generation of 4IR enabled solutions that can help accelerate implementation of SDG 6, the dedicated goal on water and sanitation. In doing so, it will optimize allocative decision making and enable a more equitable and water-secure environment for users—one that is more conducive in attracting investment and job creation, supporting social stability and preserving the environment.