Oxford University conference Water Security, Risk and Society responds to society’s most pressing water security challenges

Water security is a major challenge for society today. A recent study in Nature concluded that 80% of the world’s population is threatened by water insecurity. The World Economic Forum recently predicted water security to be among the world’s greatest threats.

In developing countries, limited access to an acceptable quality and quantity of water defines the lives of millions of poor people. In the UK, ongoing drought and predictions of future water shortages due to climate change remind us of the relevance of the issue to developed countries also.

The Water Security, Risk and Society conference aims to map research priorities and lay the foundations of a shared agenda for science, policy and enterprise communities to respond to water-related risk.

Conference highlights include plenary talks from the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Sir John Beddington, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development Stephen O’Brien, the business perspective provided by Greg Koch (The Coca-Cola Company) and Gerry O’Hagan (Diageo), and a number of leading academic thinkers from across the globe.

“The risk of water insecurity has never been greater but global capacity to respond does not match up to the scale of the threat” says Oxford University’s Professor David Grey. “From the current UK drought to the recent floods in Thailand, the world is already facing multi-billion dollar impacts with an increasingly uncertain and challenging future. A failure to link science, policy and the private sector is limiting local and global progress on society’s most pressing challenges. This event will form a coalition, unified by a risk perspective, to define future policy priorities and action for the UK and the world.”

Researchers at Oxford University’s will be taking forward the partnerships forged at the conference, providing the rigorous scientific base to inform decision making and respond to current and future water challenges.

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