JOHOR BAHRU, 20 February 2018 – People across the globe are facing severe water scarcity whereby more than one-fifth of the world’s population — 1.6 billion people — live in areas that are suffering from water shortages. According to the United Nations (UN), over the last century, the global water consumption has been increasing at twice the rate of the world population growth. It is estimated that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may be facing water shortages. It is important to recognize that the impact of water scarcity does not stop within a country’s borders. In our increasingly connected world, water scarcity that is happening in one place can impose global implications on others. It is not surprising that water crisis is ranked as one of the highest threats to global prosperity.
Recently, Newcastle University has secured a £20 million research grant under the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub awarded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), which is one of the leading research partners, will work alongside other partners from Colombia (Universidad del Valle and Universidad del Cauca), Ethiopia (University of Addis Ababa), India (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and School of Planning and Architecture Delhi), the UK (University of Leeds and University of Oxford) and the International Water Management Institute. The Water Hub project will explore the challenges and barriers to water security from the impact of different social, cultural and environmental values of water through to the consequences of fragmented water governance. It will tackle these barriers by providing a forum which is open to all stakeholders, to jointly question, discuss, and construct new ideas to resolve water security issues.
Under this 5-year mega project which will officially start in March 2019, the Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Water Security (IPASA), UTM has been allocated £1.438 million to work with stakeholders from public and private sectors as well as the community to find solutions to water conservation and governance of water resources to ensure adequate and safe water for all, including for the environment. The key researchers who will be involved in this project are IPASA’s Director, Prof Dr Azmi Aris, the Deputy Director, AP Dr Zainura Zainon Noor and other IPASA’s fellows namely Prof Dr Zulkifli Yusop, Dr Salmiati Yunus and Dr Nor Azimah Mohd Zain.