This op-ed is by Mark R. Tercek, the president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy and author of Nature’s Fortune. You can follow Mark on Twitter @MarkTercek.

Around the world, water shortages are affecting communities, businesses and ecosystems.

More than half of the world’s cities and three-fourths of irrigated farms are experiencing water shortages on a recurring basis. Freshwater species are disappearing as their habitats are dried up by water extraction. Looking ahead, more frequent and severe droughts linked to climate change will only exacerbate these problems.