A water crisis is looming in some parts of the world, threatening billions of people. As needs rise and resources become more precious, here are some sobering facts about the world’s water crisis.
Earth’s population is projected to reach 8 billion by 2025 and about 10 billion by 2050. The population growth will be matched by an increased need for clean water. Problem is, in many places there won’t be enough water to go around, according to statistics from the United Nations and The World Bank.
There’s also climate change – while it might actually have a positive effect on the renewal of water resources in some areas, seasonal changes and more extreme events could just as likely exacerbate current water crises, according to a frequently cited article in Science magazine.
Paradoxically, even as global warming makes ocean levels rise, the world’s water crisis is expected to get worse. Making freshwater from ocean water is not yet a viable option, except for very wealthy countries.
The lack of water is projected to create instability in some areas and may lead to conflicts, experts say. Already, some terror groups have been using water as a weapon by taking control of scare water resources. In addition, some claim that water scarcity is already contributing to mass migrations and instability in large geographic areas.
The World Bank estimates that the demand for water will increase dramatically as the world’s population swells. Demand for water is driven not only by the human consumption, but also by the world’s growing appetite for protein, hydro power, crops and new products.
The regions that will be affected most include Africa, The Middle East and Asia, where population growth is expected to surge as the regions struggle with insufficient water management and investment.
Image citations: cards with the number 1 on them are statistics from the United Nations, No 2 cards are The World Bank, No 3 comes from The Guardian.