!cid_2_3751169669@web126106_mail_ne1_yahooDecreasing water supply is among the top five risks to humanity and planetary resilience in the next ten years. On World Day to Combat Desertification, CIWEM calls attention to the importance of sustaining healthy soils to lessen the risks of drought and water scarcity.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is pleased to join the international community in recognition of World Day to Combat Desertification on 17th June, calling attention to the risks of drought and water scarcity, and the importance of sustaining healthy soils to current and future generations of people.

It is predicted that the effects of desertification, land degradation and drought may expose almost two‐thirds of the world’s population to increased water stress by 2025. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2013, decreasing water supply is among the top five risks that humanity will face over the next ten years.

Freshwater is renewable, but is dependent on the sustained, healthy functioning of ecosystems. Nearly 70 per cent of globally available freshwater is held in the soil, and only 11 per cent is accessible as stream flow and groundwater. Unsustainable land use, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, pollutes fresh water sources and leads to degradation of soils, worsening the effects of drought on affected populations and ecosystems.

“Securing water supplies into the future necessitates sustainable stewardship of our diverse landscapes and a grown-up debate about population growth and consumption. We are all responsible for water and land conservation, the sustainable use of natural resources, and for building resilience. It’s time to reverse land degradation by putting the environment at the heart of economic development,” said CIWEM’s Executive Director, Nick Reeves OBE.

“Water is the essence of life, and a critical factor in the development of our societies, communities and economies throughout time. Now, during the International Year of Water Cooperation, we must deliver innovative planning and management of water resources as we move forward to safeguard our future and to meet our sustainable development goals,” said Reeves.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, CIWEM, is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world.

In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2013, is available online at

CIWEM’s position statements on water efficiency and conservation, water reuse, and other related topics are freely available online at

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