Unchartered Warters: The Economics of Scarcity and Variability
Water-related risks cascade through food, energy, urban, and environmental systems. Growing populations, rising incomes, and expanding cities will converge upon a world where the demand for water rises exponentially, while supply becomes more erratic and uncertain due to climate change. If climate models prove to be even remotely correct, the scarcity and variability of water supplies will proliferate to regions where it currently does not exist, and will greatly worsen in regions where water shocks are already problematic. This is not a distant challenge. Many currently water stressed regions are already confronting water stress across multiple dimensions.
This session will provide an overview of results from a flagship global study that explores the impacts of water variability and scarcity on farms, firms, cities and people. The study applies cutting edge econometric techniques and brings new global data to these issues. It explores impacts on farm productivity, consequences for the forest frontier and rural households with a particular focus on Africa. It also provides new evidence of how water availability and shocks influence the performance of firms and employment levels in cities. The study then assesses policy priorities and the path to overcoming the myriad barriers to effective water governance.