Leaving no one behind. This is the title of the latest report by UN WATER, the United Nations agency that monitors freshwater reserves around the world. According to experts, our planet is experiencing an unprecedented water shortage. For example, 1 in 4 people – about 2.1 billion people – do not have access to safe water sources. Moreover, more than a third of the world’s population lives without basic sanitation.
The Alarming Data about Water Shortage
This is a real global emergency. Every year there are over 840,000 victims of diseases caused by the use of dirty or contaminated water, including 340,000 children under the age of 5. In other words, that is over 1,000 victims a day.
The situation is particularly dramatic in developing countries in Africa, South East Asia and Latin America. Here, wars, natural disasters and the devastating impact of climate change have drastically reduced water stocks. However, this problem also affects the industrialized nations. Excessive consumption – and waste! – of water has in fact forced cities such as Cape Town, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, London and Rome, to plan periodic rationing of running water.
A Limited Resource
Blue gold is not an unlimited resource. Above all, the supplies of drinking water for all living beings on Earth are not infinite. Fresh water accounts for only 2.6% of the total. And for the most part it is in glaciers, surface water reservoirs, groundwater tables and the atmosphere. These valuable reserves are modified and influenced by climate change, environmental characteristics and human activities. The amount of fresh water on the Planet is always the same, but we have less and less of it.
The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a non-profit organization that measures global natural resources. According to its estimates, 17 countries around the world may actually deplete their water resources, especially those in groundwater aquifers.
Scientists’ predictions are worrying to say the least. At this rate, by 2030, water shortage, combined with the impact of war, drought, famine and climate change, could generate over 700 million displaced people.
Why There Is Water Shortage?
What is causing the current global water crisis? The reasons are different, but they all have to do with man.
One of the main reasons is the huge increase in the world population. Water consumption is growing because it has to satisfy everyone and global demand has increased 6 times over the last 100 years.
Moreover, there is a link between water shortage and climate change. Long and frequent periods of drought undermine the necessary irrigation of agricultural land. When this happens, we need to take more water from underground aquifers.
At the same time, global warming is dramatically accelerating the pace of melting glaciers. As a result, glacier water ends up in the oceans, raising sea levels and the amount of salt water. In short, we are losing drinking water and increasing the amount of sea water that is unusable for life.