Water Shortage Across the World is Now Imminent
The United Nations has released the World Water Development Report 2023, which reveals a concerning outlook for global water scarcity, indicating that seasonal scarcity will continue to rise due to climate change. The report highlights that 26% of the world’s population lacks access to safe drinking water, and 46% lack access to safely managed sanitation services. These findings were presented just before the first UN conference on global water scarcity in almost 50 years. The UN cautioned that an international crisis is imminent.
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The report discloses that the consumption of water worldwide has been increasing at a rate of approximately 1% per year for the past 40 years, and is expected to continue at a similar pace until 2050, driven by population growth, socio economic development, and changing consumption patterns.
The report stresses the enormous gap between water availability and usage across various regions and the need to bridge it to ensure that everyone has access to clean water by 2030. Richard Connor, the report’s editor-in-chief, stated that the cost of achieving these goals is estimated to be between $600 billion and $1 trillion per year.
Approximately 10% of the world’s population resides in areas where water stress is considered “high or critical.” Furthermore, over 70% of water consumption occurs in the agricultural sector. However, with the increase in urban populations, “water allocation from agriculture to urban centers has become a common strategy to meet freshwater needs,” the UN noted.
The report also indicates that climate change will exacerbate seasonal water scarcity in areas where water is currently abundant, such as Central Africa, East Asia, and parts of South America, and worsen it in regions where water is already scarce, such as the Middle East and the Sahara in Africa.
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