IbN # 5 - Richard Damania

Show Notes

"Everything needs water to survive.

Plants, animals, humans. So water is not just a human right - it's an ecological right."

Despite what many people might think, the effects of climate change will not only be seen through an excess of water, melting poles, heavy downpours etc. but might very likely be experienced through the opposite effect; water scarcity.

This episode features Richard Damania, who is the Global Lead Economist of the World Bank’s Water Practice. In 2016, Richard led a team who investigated how the impact of climate change will cascade through the water cycle, via the water resources used in such areas as our food systems, energy sectors and prospering livelihoods. These are all areas that will be heavily affected by a future where growing populations, expanding cities and an increased demand for water is a reality.

The investigation produced a report called 'High and Dry - Climate Change, Water and the Economy'.

The report paints a picture of how even though almost one quarter of the people in the World already live in places with limited access to water, climate change will only aggravate the state of water accessibility. It shows how developing countries are most heavily hit and how it may expand to areas that are currently not experiencing water scarcity. It also explains how this scarcity will consequently affect the economy if no changes are made to the current water management procedures.

Richard explains how our water situation will only get worse if we continue on this current path. He explains how this will have a self-perpetuating effect where water becomes scarce and more energy will be needed to extract and transport water resources. This in turn takes its toll on the economy and the environment which will make it increasingly difficult to supply the demand from water.

The report is not all doom and gloom though, as it highlights certain solutions and initiatives that can enable a better utility of water resources in water scarce areas and in the many places with drastically increasing urbanisation. Although there may not be a 'one-size-fits-all solution', Richard speaks of how fundamental changes in country policies and making sure that water resources are channeled to high-value users can have a profound effect on water management.

So listen in, as Richard takes us through one of the largest global issues we are facing as a result of climate change, whilst giving us some food for thought as to how developing countries need to deal with the risks of water scarcity.

This interview was based on the report 'High and Dry - Climate Change, Water and the Economy', executed by a team from the World Bank led by Richard Damania. You can read the full report here which goes into details about many of the subjects that are being discussed in the interview.  I can only recommend this report as it gives some interesting insights into how the impact of climate changes is targeting the water-cycle of which we are all very much dependent on.

Based on the report, The World Bank has produced this short information video which highlights the main points of the report. 

The impact of water scarcity on GDP by 2050, relative to a baseline scenario with no scarcity. From: http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/water/publication/high-and-dry-climate-change-water-and-the-economy

If you want to read more about the World's freshwater crisis then here are some informative sites to visit.

United Nations

National Geographic

World Wildlife Foundation


You can read more about The World Bank from their webpage.



World Bank Water Practise

Richard Damania, Global Lead Economist at the World Bank, explains how the biggest effect of climate change is seen through the availability of water. The effect is particularly apparent in developing countries, which could have huge consequences for their economies. Global efforts and a change in policies are just some of the initiatives needed to change this in the future.

E  P  I  S  O  D  E   5

Listen. Learn. Explore.

  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon