5 ways the Fourth Industrial Revolution could end water insecurity

Repost from World Economic Forum

The global water and sanitation crisis is not a new story. Each World Water Day we review the sobering statistics with which we are becoming all too familiar: the expected 40% gap in global water supply and demand by 2050. The billions of additional dollars still needed to finance water infrastructure. The 4.5 billion people who lack access to safely managed sanitation services. The fact that water crises have ranked among the top global risks in terms of potential impact seven years in a row.

What these sorts of statistics remind us is that status quo approaches are not going to be enough to solve the world’s water and sanitation problems. Innovating in this domain is no longer an option but a necessity. Harnessing the rapid advancements in technology and information represented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) holds great promise for improving the way we manage global commons challenges, including water. But how do we turn this promise into reality?

The World Economic Forum’s Global Water Initiative, in collaboration with the World Bank Water Global Practice and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, has embarked on a journey over the past year to explore this very question. By convening water policy experts, entrepreneurs and technology innovators in a series of workshops and meetings, we gained valuable insight into several areas that are ripe for disruption in the water sector. Encouragingly, we also discovered many of the solutions we need are already at our fingertips. Here are five examples how the 4IR could help make water insecurity a thing of the past:

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