Water is one of the most basic human needs. With impacts on agriculture, education, energy, health, gender equity, and livelihood, water management underlies the most basic development challenges. Water is under unprecedented pressures as growing populations and economies demand more of it. Practically every development challenge of the 21st century – food security, managing rapid urbanization, energy security, environmental protection, adapting to climate change – requires urgent attention to water resources management.
Yet already, groundwater is being depleted faster than it is being replenished and worsening water quality degrades the environment and adds to costs. The pressures on water resources are expected to worsen because of climate change. There is ample evidence that climate change will increase hydrologic variability, resulting in extreme weather events such as droughts floods, and major storms. It will continue to have a profound impact on economies, health, lives, and livelihoods. The poorest people will suffer most.
The World Bank places Water Resources Management at the center of its efforts to help countries adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. It also seeks to ensure that Water issues are effectively addressed in related sectors, such as agriculture, disaster risk management, energy, and health.