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Water Challenge - a blog by Peter Brabeck-Letmathe

CNBC interview: risks from surging demand

An interview I gave to CNBC at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos is now available to watch here.

I talked to presenter Hadley Gamble about the future for water sustainability, and the risks posed by the rising global demand for energy and food.

Seawater desalination – a solution to reduce water shortage?

Desalination has become an important tool for effective water management. It can be seen as one solution to overcome rapid shortage in municipal water supply. But as I’ve stressed before, there is no single silver bullet to address the water issue overall. Desalination actually requires large amounts of energy and can be expensive.

In this blog post, I want to provide some insight and ideas on whether desalination can become a significant lever to combat water scarcity. It will not offer a complete answer but I do hope that the discussion generated here will provide a more comprehensive picture on this highly topical subject.

Securing future water for the Colorado River requires action now

Both Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs are less than 50% full | © Wikipedia was kind enough to allow us to re-post this text from Matt Niemerski, originally published on their site last month. It shows the need to look at river basins when trying to solve global water issues, and that action is needed now.

A recent piece in the New York Times “Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States” (January 6) paints a dire picture of water scarcity in the Colorado basin, a crisis of supply and demand on an almost continental scale. Last year, the federal government released a report concluding that the region is using more water from the Colorado than the river can sustainably supply; much of it exported out of the river basin. The study estimated that there is a looming gap of 3.4 million acre-feet between what the region needs and what the Colorado River can provide. That’s a shortfall of over 1 trillion gallons.

Matt Damon from Davos 2014: Water without doubt one of the greatest priorities of our time

Matt Damon at Davos

This is my last post from Davos 2014, it is about another highly encouraging part of the water discussion there this year. My post is looking back to the main exchange on water set up for the 2030 Water Resources Group. The purpose of this meeting was to exchange ideas and experiences with other people active in the water area; Matt Damon joined in his capacity as founder of

Last week I reported on how Matt received the WEF Crystal Award for his great commitment and work on water. He did not leave after receiving this highly deserved recognition at the first day of the 2014 Annual Meeting, but stayed for other sessions, listened and explained.

From Davos: need for focus and empowerment for action on water

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo

Last Friday in Davos I attended another early morning session, starting at 7.15am. Walking over from the place I was staying to the coffee shop booked for the discussion, there was some snow falling, gently, slowly, turning semi-urban Davos into more of a mountain resort than it looked before.

I had been invited to this exchange by Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo and one of the strongest supporters of the 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG), and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Together on the panel with me was Gary White, co-founder of