Cracked earth (GlobalHealth.org)

Water Crisis

Water crisis is a situation where the available potable, unpolluted water within a region is less than that region’s demand. Water scarcity is being driven by two converging phenomena: growing freshwater use and depletion of usable freshwater resources.

Freshwater makes up a very small fraction of all water on the planet. While nearly 70 percent of the world is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is fresh. Even then, just 1 percent of our freshwater is easily accessible. Globally, 1.2 billion people live in areas with inadequate water supply and 1.6 billion live in areas where there is water, but they can’t afford to drink it.

Water scarcity already affects every continent. There is enough freshwater on the planet for seven billion people but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed. Almost everywhere, water is wasted, and as long as people are not facing water scarcity, they believe access to water is an obvious and natural thing. Water use is increasing much faster than the population. While the world’s population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources has grown six-fold. This population growth — coupled with industrialization and urbanization — result in an increasing demand for water. A shortage of water resources could mean an increase in conflicts in the future. Population growth will make the problem worse.

Fortunately there is an increasing awareness that our freshwater resources are limited and need to be protected both in terms of quantity and the reduction of water scarcity is a goal of many countries and governments.

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Source:

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/freshwater/freshwater-crisis.html
http://www.providice.com/water-crises.html
http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml
http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/library/archives/water-crisis/

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