This section provides a brief overview of the critical challenges that hamper human development. The challenges are grouped into five areas; of course there are other possible categorization and approaches to the critical challenges. The section also provides some background on the scale and nature of each critical challenge and considers why more attention needs to be paid for effective interventions. It further draws some of the key knowledge resources needed to better understand and to provide the solutions for tackling and addressing these challenges.The Critical Challenges and Cross Cutting Issues are complementary sections to IWRM ToolBox Tools.


Water and Climate Change

Climate change has long-since ceased to be a scientific curiosity, and is no longer just one of the many environmental and regulatory concerns. It is the major, overriding environmental challenge of this time facing decision makers, planners and regulators. 

Water and Food Security

At the core of food security is access to healthy food and optimal nutrition. Food access is closely linked to food supply, so food security is dependent on a healthy and sustainable food system. The food system includes the production, processing, distribution, marketing, affordability, and consumption of food. 

Water and Urbanisation

Today water stress is a major concern in many urban areas. The core aspect of urbanisation is the rapid urban population growth together with inadequate planning, pollution, poverty, competing demands on the resource, all contribute to water stress: and consequently the urban water consumption is likely to double by 2025. Climate change is expected to cause significant changes as well in precipitation patterns which will affect the availability of water and induce water related disasters. 

Water and Energy Security

Both water and energy are essential to every aspect of life; social equity, human health, ecosystem integrity and economic sustainability. The longstanding division between energy and water considerations is particularly evident in the case of energy and water management. These resources are fundamentally intertwined; energy is used to secure, deliver, treat and distribute water, while water is used to develop, process and deliver energy.  

Water and Ecosystems

The well-being of people all over the world depends on the various goods and services provided by ecosystems, including food, fuel, construction materials, clean water and air, and protection from natural hazards. Ecosystems, however, are under increasing pressure from unsustainable use of resources and other threats including outright conversion of lands, pollution, expansion of infrastructure and urbanisation.