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Engineers to probe global water shortage challenges

Growing fears about the security of water supplies around the world have prompted engineering bodies including the ICE to launch an inquiry into the matter.

Engineering the Future, an alliance of engineering institutions, wants consultants, utility companies, academics, government agencies and non-governmental organisations to submit evidence.

Water shortages are a growing threat in many parts of the world. The International Water Management Institute estimates that water demand will have risen by 30% by 2030.

The huge increase in the demand for water is a consequence of rising living standards and global population growth. The world’s population is expected to exceed 8bn by 2030.

“It is important that the strategic issues surrounding global water security are highlighted. Only then can the solutions be better explored.”

Professor Peter Guthrie, Cambridge University

ICE, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, have come together to undertake the inquiry at the request of government chief scientific advisor professor John Beddington.

A range of water related issues will be addressed during the inquiry including, drought, domestic supply, irrigation for agriculture, treatment of drinking water, flooding and waste management. A report will be published in April next year and it is hoped it will highlight to government, industry and the public the global challenges and the possible approaches to them.

A steering group chaired by professor Peter Guthrie from Cambridge University has been established to run the inquiry. Atkins director Mike Woolgar, Halcrow managing director Michael Norton, Mott MacDonald director Mike Haigh and professor Roger Falconer of Cardiff University are also members.

“It is important that the strategic issues surrounding global water security are highlighted. Only then can the solutions be better explored,” said Guthrie.

“To bring a broad scope to the inquiry and ensure our report is well informed, we are issuing a call for evidence to a broad range of experts and stakeholders.”

  • Evidence sessions will take place on 25 January, for further information contact gwsevidence@

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