Rising prosperity in South Africa was likely to increase water consumption and also result in a more unequal distribution of water resources, Global Water Partnership patron Maggie Catley-Carlson cautioned at the South African Water and Energy Forum in Sandton on Tuesday.
Government would, therefore, need to grapple with the water, energy, food and climate ‘mega nexus’ in an integrated way to find equitable and environmentally acceptable solutions.
Elaborating on the interconnectedness of this mega nexus, she explained that it took a litre of water to produce each calorie consumed by human beings. A scarcity of water would, therefore, seriously undermine rising food security.
“Food demand is expected to double over the next 50 years, owing to the changing diet and growing population.”
US Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources Dr Jerome Delli Priscoli added that water security would also affect future social stability.
“There needs to be a balance between how to allocate and reallocate water, because when citizens get rich they use water differently,” he said, noting that about 1.4-billion people already lacked access to safe drinking water.