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Water Challenge - a blog by Peter Brabeck-Letmathe

Davos WEF Annual Meeting 2014: Crystal Award for Matt Damon and his

Matt Damon accepts the WEF Crystal Award

It was my first day in Davos at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum. And it started with a well-deserved award for the actor Matt Damon, not a film Oscar, but the WEF Crystal Award for his work on water.

When you live in Europe or the US, particularly when you're staying up here in the Swiss mountains of Davos, it is not easy to understand what real thirst is. I am not talking about a situation when you look forward to a cold beer after a long-distance ski tour, but real, life-threatening thirst.

Report finds a growing awareness of the global water crisis; people with longer-term perspective see water shortage as highest global risk

The ninth edition of the Global Risk Report, published this morning, Thursday 16 January 2014, by the World Economic Forum (WEF) identified water as one of the highest global risks. The report also found that women, together with people under 30 years of age, are most likely to recognise this.

The report is produced every year by a highly qualified, interdisciplinary group of professionals, who evaluate globally relevant economic, geopolitical, environmental, societal and technological risks.

Once again, as in the two preceding years, the risk of a water crises came out among the top three in this comprehensive analysis.

Fighting against corruption in municipal water supply

Ek Sonn Chan receives the Stockholm Industry Water Prize

In one of my first posts, more than a year ago, I wrote about Ek Sonn Chan of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority. Municipal water supply in Cambodia is owned by the state, as in most other developing economies (i.e. for 95-98% of people with access to tap water in these countries).

I first came across Ek Sonn Chan’s name in 2011, when Nestlé received the Stockholm Industry Water Prize. He had been awarded the prize the year before (pictured). Knowing little at that stage about the story of Phnom Penh, I was curious and wanted to find out more. One of the points I read about was corruption in municipal water supply and how he eradicated it.

Water: the top five stories of 2013

The Guardian's top five water stories in 2013

I was very pleased to find an interview by Jo Confino in the number one position of the just published Guardian Professional list of the top five water stories of 2013. When talking with a really good interviewer you learn as interviewee at least as much from the exchange as the person asking the questions. Among other things, Jo’s article looks into the issue of how a sense of unrestricted entitlement causes irresponsible use of water and concludes: “Our attitude towards water needs to change”.