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Global Innovation Outlook concepts

Water

ocean wave

Simply put, water is essential to all forms of known life. We drink it, bath in it, fish in it, grow our crops with it, and generate power from it. It covers two-thirds of the surface of the earth and comprises 75 percent of the human body.

And yet, the future of the world's most basic resource is changing in unprecedented ways. Immigration, population growth, and climate change are affecting the way we all think about our relationship with the world's water supply. And by 2050, when the world's population is expected to peak at about 9.4 billion people, it is conceivable that water could become one of the scarcest and most valuable commodities in the world.

Despite this, there is already enough water on the planet to

serve humanity's needs. In fact, there are 2 trillion liters of fresh water for every man, woman and child on Earth. And each of us only needs less than three liters a day. Therefore, what we have is not a shortage of fresh water. What we have is a management problem, one that requires us all to get smarter about how water is used; individuals, governments, and industry.

Over the course of 2008, the GIO explored this critical topic with some of the world's leading experts. We learned that there is a dearth of high quality data to inform better decisions on water management; that accurate pricing and business models are needed to encourage efficiency; and that food, energy, and water share a complex and delicate balance. More details on these findings and the ways to address them can be found in the Water report, the accompanying videos, and the GIO blog.