Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

Building the Water Agenda

Policy responses to water scarcity and shock
9-10 July 2012

There is an increasing awareness of the need to act on the world’s impending water challenge.  Growing global resource use highlights the complex interdependencies between water and energy, agriculture, industry, urban growth and ecosystems. The challenge is compounded by climate change, which will lead to both water scarcity and unpredictable water-related shocks.

Governments and business need to prepare for long term water scarcity and for short-term shocks. They also need to consider the disruptive impacts of, and consequent political repercussions from, major water stress or shock on the world’s interconnected production, trade, and economic systems. Key issues that will be addressed include:

  • The challenges to addressing water issues at policy level nationally and internationally
  • What would effective global governance on water look like?
  • The interlinkages between energy, food and water security 
  • Prospects for widespread systemic disruption caused by water stress or shock
  • Flashpoints for transboundary water conflicts
  • The role of the private sector in achieving water security