The newly published 2024 Sustainability Outlook: Water, global operational challenges is part of S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Big Picture 2024 Outlook Report series.
S&P Global Market Intelligence’s geopolitical risk analysts found that water stress will continue to impact governments and businesses in the years ahead. The prevalence of severe difficulties in predicting weather patterns is likely to continue across the globe affecting populations, countries’ economic performances, and key industries that rely on water as an essential resource.
The El Niño climate pattern is forecast to significantly impact the world in 2024. Water-related stress, however, will be an issue for many years to come in many parts of the world, with Australia being particularly pronounced as noted in the report.
According to Veronica Retamales Burford, senior research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, physical risks will play a key factor in business investment decisions, including the effects that water stress will have on manufacturing and on many countries’ plans to diversify their economies. “As the world adapts, companies will need to prepare for heightened water use scrutiny, not just by regulators but also by local communities,” she added.
Access to sufficient supplies of water will be an essential facet of longer-term economic diversification plans. Governments and businesses will be faced with heightened risks due to water stress, including restricted electricity generation, agricultural losses, and supply chain disruption, among other economic effects.
Regional and national governments will need to make policy interventions and support businesses navigating water stress.
Efforts like the use of desalination infrastructure will become more common as government and public pressure will ramp up on companies and sectors with high water usage, requiring them to donate or forego water supplies to increase availability for domestic use.