Speakers at a water forum at Davos 2023 advocated for dynamic water pricing and bolder government action in the face of global water scarcity.
- Day 4 of the Annual World Economic Forum meeting Davos 2023 has been brought to a close.
- A notable highlight of the day was the “Water: the Bloodstream Of Our Earth System” panel, which discussed the economics of water and how the upcoming UN Water Conference in March can address shortages of clean drinking water around the world.
- The panel called for a change in the way water is priced, and invested in, and called for greater awareness to the issues of water shortages, as the UN notes the amount of freshwater per capita has decreased 20% in the last two decades, The National notes.
- The panel called for “concrete actions” to address water disparities, working with farmers to reduce overwatering and dynamic water pricing that charges higher prices for higher usage.
- That would require the collaboration and cooperation of world governments and companies to invest in water and change the way water is distributed.
Why It’s Important
Water is a universal necessity for human life, but only some have access to clean drinking water. Many poorer regions of the globe need better water security and rely on bottled water or filtration systems to avoid consuming contaminated water. About 26% of the world doesn’t have access to clean water.
In the future, access to water may diminish over time in more deeply affected areas of the world and necessitate more unpopular solutions to save populations.
“I will argue that the global water cycle needs to be managed as a global common good safeguarding through effective multilateralism, and it will propose shifts in governments and the use of policy instruments that will open up new opportunities for innovation as well as investment in more efficient, fair and sustainable use of water from a local to global scale,” says Dutch Foreign Minister Liesje Schreinemacher.
“Water doesn’t get priced very dynamically. It always seems like water is the same price worldwide until the government may say we’re in a bad situation and say only use 40 or 60 liters per day. That didn’t mean you got a big price hit but just that you were told not to use so much. It can be controversial when you value water, but because it is so existential, we don’t play with prices, but then the people don’t realize it isn’t there until it is not there and gets mad,” says Tencent Executive VP David Wallerstein.