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Unless more sustainable water resource management practices are adopted by companies and individuals, almost half of the global economy - and more than half of the world's population - will be exposed to severe water scarcity by 2050.
These are the results of an analysis conducted by Veolia Water and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), an international agricultural research center studying sustainable solutions to ending hunger and poverty.
The key findings of the analysis show that current water management practices will put at risk approximately $63 trillion of the 2050 projected global GDP, and that approximately 4.8 billion people (52 percent of the world population) will live in water-stressed areas by 2050. But if sustainable behaviors and practices are adopted, more than 1 billion people and approximately $17 trillion of GDP could escape exposure to risks and challenges coming from severe water scarcity.
To assess the impact of water on economic growth, IFPRI and Veolia Water analyzed what economic growth levels can be sustained at today's water management efficiency and to what extent gains in efficiency and water productivity can sustain higher levels of growth. Four scenarios were developed representing four different levels of water management efficiency, and were assessed against three levels of economic growth to examine in each case the impact of growth on water scarcity and food scarcity.
It's hoped that the results of this analysis will help point to a sustainable path for our society.