A dire warning on water

Countries across the world will have to dramatically increase investment in dams, pipes and other water infrastructure to avoid widespread flooding, drought and disease even before climate change accelerates these problems, experts have warned.

Investment needs to be at least doubled from the current level of US$80 billion a year, an international congress was told in early September, and one leading authority said spending needed to rise to 1.5% of gross domestic product just “to be able to cope with the current climate” — one thousand times the current level.

The warnings follow months of dramatic events, from hurricane flooding in the Caribbean and the United States to desperate measures in drought-stricken Mediterranean countries, including importing water by ship.

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