According to the UN, global demand for water is increasing by almost 1% per year and 80% of wastewater is discharged untreated into the natural environment. These threats are reinforced by the effects of climate disruption (see oxygen depletion, risks related to extreme events, etc.).
The challenge facing water is two-fold. Firstly, it is about relieving pressure on the resource, which involves saving water (sustainable use), water efficiency (fault and leak detection, supply network renovation, etc.), diversification of sources (rainwater, desalination, airborne water), recycling, reusing treated wastewater and so on.
Secondly, it’s a case of improving treatment processes, both in the production of drinking water and in reusing wastewater and returning it to the natural environment. This calls for better management of so-called emerging pollutants. To achieve SDG 6 ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’, investment of USD 114 billion per year would be needed, three times the amount being spent today.