The global water crisis: Science, politics and potential for conflict

november, 2018

27nov8:00 pm11:00 pmThe global water crisis: Science, politics and potential for conflict8:00 pm - 11:00 pm The Orbit, 81 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, 2001 Johannesburg, Gauteng Event Organized By: Science and Cocktails Johannesburg


Event Details

Why do we have a global water crisis, and how serious is it really? Is it about to get worse? Which regions will be affected the most? Does our planet have enough fresh water for the life it sustains?

Will we see an increase in water-related conflicts in the coming years, and can anything be done to avert them?

Drinking water is a rare commodity with increasing potential for conflicts on many scales. In times of climate change and global warming, precipitation patterns are expected to shift and the availability of sufficient fresh water for communities is predicted to become a problem of rapidly growing severity. The series of long-lasting droughts that has already occurred on several continents in recent decades might be indicative of what is to come.

In tonight’s session of Science & Cocktails Johannesburg, Stephan Borrmann, from the Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, will first present us a quantitative view from the scientific perspective of the most important components of the hydrological cycle. This will include a brief look at the available water resources residing in the ground water aquifers and the river systems in order to assess the planet’s fresh reservoirs. He will also discuss some of the meteorological background which generally explains the location of the world’s arid regions and deserts.

However, as Prof. Borrmann will briefly demonstrate, the current state of the art and numerical models for simulating the impact of climate change on precipitation still have serious deficiencies, and predicting the availability of water resources in the future is by no means straightforward.

In the second part of the talk, Prof. Borrmann will provide insight on the consumption of fresh water on a per capita basis as well as on the global scale. Here the concept of “virtual water” is introduced, which describes the exchange of water between countries within the globalized economy.

Finally, several examples of conflicts about water availability will outlined. They originate from Central Africa, Asia, South and North America, the Middle East, and Europe. By means of this selection different generic types of conflicts can be exemplified. Conclusions for politics and decision making will be drawn, which here, however, reflect the opinion and possibly controversial view of the speaker.

After the presentation, a discussion of the current water crisis in parts of South Africa (and the underlying mechanisms) with the audience is anticipated and welcome.

Afterwards, refreshing cocktails will counterbalance the water crisis while Godfrey and the Accidentals treat us to an evening of beautiful music including jazz standards, jazz covers as well as a few of the band’s originals.

Entrance to the event costs R20. Doors open at 18:30, no admittance after 20:00. No registration is necessary but guests are strongly encouraged to arrive early. Dinner is served from 18:00. Guests wishing to have dinner before the event should book in advance with The Orbit and arrive by 18:30. (Last orders for dinner at 19:15 to make it to the event).

More information on our website:
Directions to the venue:

Contact – Directions

Image credit: Arian Zwegers/flickr


(Tuesday) 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm


The Orbit

81 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, 2001 Johannesburg, Gauteng


Science and Cocktails

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *