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Access to good quality water in sufficient quantity is essential for people’s everyday life and for most businesses and economic sectors. However, water scarcity and drought are emerging as some of the most important global risks to society with both short-term and long-term effects on people, ecosystem services, biodiversity and the economic activities that depend on a reliable water supply. This is a global problem, and Sweden is not spared. The low precipitation and high summer temperatures that hit Sweden for three consecutive years between 2016 and 2018, caused a vastly reduced access to water and led to major consequences for the Swedish society.
In most Swedish regions, however, there is usually more than enough water to meet the growing needs of society and at the same time maintain a good environmental status even during drought. But to ensure a long-term sustainable water supply, all parties, i.e. households, water-dependent businesses and authorities, need to take measures. Drought and water scarcity are challenges that do not only affect, or can be solved by, the municipal drinking water supply. Each and everyone who uses and is dependent on water, regardless of whether the water is supplied through public or private systems, is part of the problem and should therefore also be part of the solutions.
This report provides information and material to help companies contribute to a better water situation in areas with low water availability. The report describes the water usage and water availability in Sweden today and how they are expected to change in the future. Incentives and driving forces for water savings are described as well as methods for identifying inefficient water usage and improvement measures. A review of studies from various countries provides information on challenges as well as good examples of water scarcity mitigation measures in various economic sectors. Examples of decision support methods that can be used to evaluate and prioritize between alternative measures are also described. Finally, potential implementation barriers are discussed and examples of policy instruments which can facilitate implementation of beneficial measures are given.
water demand management