** This post is part of AlertNet’s special report on water: The Battle for Water

We can think creatively about water management, but unknown large global threats could cause a fundamental reorganisation of life on Earth, according to a water expert with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).

“A doomsday scenario would be that if the Greenland ice sheet melts, and then there’s six metres of sea-level rise — all bets are off,” said David Purkey,  a senior scientist who heads SEI’s Northern California office. “I think we’ve got bigger problems than water scarcity at that moment.”

“What happens when L.A. has to evacuate, when New York has to evacuate? At that point, I wonder whether rational conversations about water management will be what we’re having.”

In a separate interview, Arno Rosemarin, senior research fellow at SEI’s EcoSanRes (ecological sanitation research) programme, told AlertNet that water security problems will be compounded by global population growth, expected to hit 9 billion by 2050.