Green recovery

World Water Day 2023

22/03/2023 PNG

The ongoing UN 2023 Water Conference bringing together world leaders in New York is a reminder of the importance of water for the well-being of societies, economies and ecosystems.

Climate change is inherently linked to the water cycle. Warmer temperatures are changing evaporation rates and rainfall patterns, increasing the frequency of droughts and floods. Drier land also affects the capacity of soils and plants to store carbon.

Pressures on freshwater resources are mounting: the OECD projects that by 2050, global water demand will rise by 55%, and 40% of the world’s population will likely be living in severely water-stressed river basins.

Among other things, freshwater availability is affected by water abstractions (taking water from lakes, rivers and underground sources), with over-abstraction leading to low river flows, depleted groundwater, and desertification.

Well-designed allocation regimes are needed across sectors to ensure water is allocated where it can create the most value economically, socially and environmentally.

Discover the OECD’s work on water