• Outdoors Outdoors

New research suggests over 60% of world population will face water scarcity in coming decades: 'A systemic risk'

"The lack of clean water presents a systemic risk … which is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore."

"The lack of clean water presents a systemic risk... which is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore."

Photo Credit: iStock

SciTechDaily has shared a report that a new study indicates up to 66% of people worldwide may not have access to enough clean water by 2100. The majority of people affected will live in the Global South, though those in the North will also face shortages at certain times of the year. 

What's happening?

Utrecht University used a new, more comprehensive model for examining both the quantity and quality of water that people will have available in the future. Dr. Edward Jones, who led the study, explained in the report: "Previous assessments still predominantly focus on water quantity aspects only. Yet, the safe use of water also depends on the quality."

The model indicates that 55% of people around the world already face problems with either one or both of these facets of water availability, and researchers expect that number to rise. 

Many factors related to both rising global temperatures and socioeconomic development affect how much water people have available, how much they need, and how clean it is. Dr. Jones noted that "changes in these three aspects are crucial for evaluating future water scarcity," and future models need to look at all of these before they evaluate water scarcity issues.

Why is water scarcity important?

People around the world rely on water every day, not only for health and hydration but also for sanitation, food, energy, and all sorts of goods. 

If people don't have enough clean water, their health will suffer. They may also not be able to produce what they need to thrive. "The lack of clean water presents a systemic risk to both humans and ecosystems, which is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore," Dr. Jones said

Water scarcity also highlights global inequities. The majority of both water scarcity problems happen in the Global South. Water scarcity disrupts these communities with global consequences. Everything from the food supply to immigration could see shifts. Even the global economy may face slowdowns due to water scarcity. 

What's being done about water scarcity?

As people worldwide realize that water scarcity is becoming more of a problem, they are doing things to combat it. Lawmakers are passing new legislation, and researchers are developing new ways to produce, conserve, and clean water. 

There are also things that you can do every day to use less water. Buy water-saving appliances so you use less when you wash your clothes or your dishes. Use rain barrels to gather water for your yard instead of relying on sprinklers. Learn more about where your water comes from and who might face water scarcity in your area.

Every tiny effort adds up when it comes to fighting water scarcity. 

Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider