The Geography of Future Water Challenges

PBL Netherlands - Environmental Assessment Agency
Knowledge hub

The combination of a growing global population, increasing wealth-driven demand, the related increase in pressure  on the ecological environment that is also exacerbated by climate change, is rapidly changing the world of water. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency provides a global overview of development scenarios and pathways forward, within the context of the water-related challenges up to 2050. Captured in a series of informative infographics and background documents, this results in an inspiring storyboard. This storyboard shows how, under a Business-as-usual scenario, towards 2050, rapid population growth in combination with climate change will increase water-related risks in many regions across the globe. For dryland areas, food production and people’s livelihoods are projected to come under increasing pressure. The growing concentration of people in cities and in vulnerable areas, such as coastal zones and deltas, will increase flood risks and long-term vulnerability for those communities  and local economies. In addition, the planned construction of thousands of new hydropower dams will add pressure to transboundary collaboration in river basin areas, which are already vulnerable to climate-related weather extremes and economic developments.

'We hope that the research presented here in this imaginative storyboard will help increase awareness of the urgent need to tackle the challenges ahead. In the coming decades, there will only be a small window of opportunity for realising the necessary transformation towards a world that is sustainable, inclusive and climate-proof'