Not a Drop to Drink: The Global Water Crisis

An article that should make us think and act to tackle this pressing and complex challenge: “Not a drop to drink: the global water crisis”, by Stewart M. Patrick

…”The need for reliable sources of fresh water is as old as our species, of course. What is new today is the combustible combination of surging global demand for increasingly scarce fresh water in certain volatile regions of poor governance. Several factors are driving this trend.

Demographic pressure: By 2025, the world’s population will swell from seven to nearly eight billion. The vast majority of this increase will occur in the developing world, particularly Africa. In rapidly expanding urban centers, demand for fresh water will rise for personal consumption, sanitation, industry, and hydroelectric use.

Declining Fresh H2O supplies: According to Global Water Security, “one third of the world’s population will live near water basins where the water deficit will be larger than 50 percent by 2030.” Many regions that are already experiencing water stress will become “extremely more stressed” or even “exceptionally more stressed…

Changing dietary preferences: Meanwhile, the global middle class will surge from 1.8 to 4.9 billion by 2030. Wealthier populations will consume more meat, requiring a shift to more energy and water-intensive agriculture focusing on the raising of livestock and feed grain. Already today, some 93 percent of fresh water consumed is devoted to agriculture (from a combination of riverine, lake, and groundwater sources)…

Poor Water Management: Adapting to a new era of water scarcity will require enormous investments in integrated water management, particularly in the developing world. This would include improving agricultural efficiency through new irrigation systems and drought-resistant crops; renovating infrastructure to reduce urban “water leakage” (which averages 30-50 percent in many cities)…

To read more: http://blogs.cfr.org/patrick/2012/05/08/not-a-drop-to-drink-the-global-water-crisis/

 

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