Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.4 aims at substantially increasing water-use efficiency across all sectors, ensuring sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reducing the number of people suffering from water scarcity by 2030. Global water demand is increasing due to population growth, economic development and urbanization trends. In some regions, the impact of these developments will be compounded by climate change, increasing relative water scarcity.
As the potential for developing new sources of water, as recognized by the international community, diminishes, the efficient use of water is necessary to meet future demand. In the business as usual scenario, agricultural water consumption, mainly represented by highly inefficient surface irrigation (FAO 2014), is expected to increase globally by about 20% by 2050 (UN, 2014). Inefficiencies also persist in municipal water supply: estimated losses from urban water networks range from 20 to 50 percent. The session aims to highlight technical and policy solutions to increase water-use efficiency in various sectors.