The world is facing an escalating water crisis, fueled by population growth, increased demand, and global warming. Especially for emerging economies, this signifies mounting social, financial, and environmental risks. By improving water governance, countries can reduce poverty and become more resilient. Here are eight ways that water will shape our future.

1. Water is crucial for development

2. Water scarcity is worsening

3. The climate crisis is a water crisis

4. Water is fundamental for food security

5. Water pollution is a growing risk

6. Ecosystems are under threat

7. Water can be a catalyst for peace

8. Water governance is the key to development and resilience

To address these challenges, we need to improve how we use and manage water so that both humans and nature receive equal shares. Water governance must be efficient and transparent. It should also be inclusive, with both women and men making decisions. Currently, women are much more often the water providers and carers, but too often have limited opportunities to influence decision-making.

As the global population looks set to reach 10 billion by 2050, pressure on the world’s freshwater will only continue to grow. How we value and manage water is one of our most decisive questions.