Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

Water and Jobs

At the global level, three of every four jobs are related to water in some way. The 2016 World Water Development Report examines the links between water and jobs, employment and economic development. The key findings of the report are summarised below.

Without water, there are no jobs

The most water-intensive sectors are agriculture, fishing and forestry, and they alone provide employment for 1 billion people. Water scarcity and increasingly difficult access to water resources eliminate water-intensive professions and they may hinder economic growth in the coming years. Efforts must be made in order to ensure that the regions impacted are able to adapt to increasing water scarcity, thereby preventing a crisis in local employment and its consequences associated with trade and migration.

Improved water quality means better jobs, a better labour force, and a higher standard of life

Access to suitable drinking water and domestic, school and workplace infrastructure for the separate treatment of human waste result in more efficient employees in the labour market in better health condition, with generally higher qualifications. Non-sustainable water management jeopardises the hard-earned successes in eliminating poverty and creating jobs. Greater emphasis must be placed on understanding that water resources, the water infrastructure and associated services have a comprehensive role in economic growth and job creation, and that sustainable planning must take those aspects into account.

Water scarcity and increasingly difficult access to water resources eliminate water-intensive professions Photo: Shutterstock

Investment in water creates jobs

Investment in water infrastructure can be implemented exceptionally cost-efficiently, while they also have a positive impact on many sectors of the economy. Investment creating jobs in water resource management, water supply and public sanitation services have a high return on investment and an additional significant multiplicative effect on job creation in other sectors. Long-term planning and efficient financing are indispensable in sophisticated water management in order to actually achieve the benefits in job creation, economic growth and other, associated social and economic areas.

The relationship between water and jobs in our changing world

Climate change is exacerbating the problem of access to water, and unavoidably eliminates some jobs. The transition to a greener economy and the development of environment-friendly technologies has a beneficial effect on employment and on the creation of ethical jobs. Innovative learning methods and relevant professional and scientific education are exceptionally important for reinforcing the system of institutions and in developing jobs in all sectors associated with water.

The transition to a greener economy has a beneficial effect on employment Photo: Shutterstock

The World Water Development Report is available on the UNESCO website.

Further information: UNESCO

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