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Water scarcity already affects every continent. Around 1.2 billion people — or almost one-fifth of the world’s population — live in arid areas with water shortages. Another 1.6 billion people — one-quarter of our global population — face water shortages as a result of climate change.

Water scarcity drives water efficiency * Tony Arnel, Global Head of Sustainability, Norman Disney & Young

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n Australia, water conservation appears to have fallen off the radar. A decade ago, as drought ravaged the country, our attention was firmly fo-

cused on how to shore up our precious water resources. But times have changed. Dams are full, desalination plants have stalled and policymakers are more concerned with energy efficiency as they tackle climate change. But we cannot afford to be lulled into a false sense of water security. According to the Climate Council, water inflows to key Sydney dams could decrease by as much as 25% by 2070 if greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current trajectory. Annual water demand will outstrip supply in Perth and surrounding regions by as much as 85 billion litres by 2030 — and that’s enough water to fill 34,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Average annual stream flows to Melbourne’s four major water harvesting storages could decrease by around a fifth by 2050. As the driest inhabited continent, Australia must invest in technology and projects that drought-proof our cities and our economy. So how do we guarantee the water security of our cities? When your densely populated nation has no independent source of fresh water, like Singapore, scarcity drives self-sufficiency. In less than 15 years, Singapore has invested in the infrastructure required to become a world leader in water management. The foresight of Singapore’s utility agency means more than half of its water supply is met by a ‘four tap’ strategy. Rainfall,

8 Sustainability Matters - Apr/May 2017

www.SustainabilityMatters.net.au

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Sustainability Matters Apr/May 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Apr/May 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...