Water and energy scarcity connected

01:42, May 11 2012

Scientists from 15 countries are calling for a better political response to the provision of water and energy to meet the challenge of feeding a world of nine billion people within 30 years.

The joint statement by some of the world's leading science academies was issued on Thursday ahead of the G8 summit in the United States.

It is part of the annual lobbying effort aimed at focusing the attention of world leaders on issues the scientific community regards as crucial.

For the first time, the scientists argue that looming shortages in water and energy supplies should be treated as a single issue.

"Major stresses on availability of energy and water are already being felt in many countries and regions and more are foreseeable," the joint statement said.

Fossil fuel, nuclear and hydropower are still providing the bulk of the world's energy and they all rely heavily on the supply of water for cooling, running steam turbines or direct power generation.

Conversely, large amounts of energy are used in pumping, purifying and desalinating water around the globe.

"Without considering water and energy together, inefficiencies will occur, increasing shortages of both," the statement warns.

It asks politicians to pursue policies that integrate the two and emphasize the need for conservation, efficiency and cooperation across national borders.