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Innovation - Water security, including the role of the private sector

The concept of ‘water security’ is increasingly being used to capture a range of issues at the intersection of hydrology, ecology and society. At a political level its meaning is debated, influenced by related concepts of national and human security. Yet the operational meaning of water security remains unclear and without tools to measure it in simple, reliable terms, it is unlikely to become a meaningful objective in practice and policy.

This project examines the state of the debate on water scarcity and security, with a view to establishing the role of economic and social, as well as biophysical, factors. It will identify the particular challenges and potential options for measuring water security, analysing recent debates and existing indicators, and highlighting potential definitions and suitable metrics to inform key policy debates, funding priorities and effectiveness monitoring.

There will be additional focus on private sector engagement in water security and water resource management. This will include analysis of the following areas:

  • the potential for ‘partnerships’ to secure co-benefits of water resource development for both communities and corporations
  • the opportunities and pitfalls that arise as the private sector seeks to contribute to bridging key gaps in water security, notably investment, information, and institutions.


Nathaniel Mason, Peter Newborne

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