Severe water scarcity affects two thirds of humanity

Secondo uno studio dell’università olandese di Twente circa quattro miliardi di persone nel mondo non hanno acqua a sufficienza per almeno un mese all’anno.

Two thirds of the world population live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least one month of the year. This means 4 billion people are affected, out of a total of about 7.4 billion people, and most of them live in China and India (the world’s two most populated countries).


This dreadful figure has been revealed in a study published by the American Science Advance magazine, which also shows that 500 million people in the world face severe water scarcity all year round. The calculation has considered as “facing severe water scarcity” those areas where the demand is twice the supply.


pakistan siccità
Man walking on the evaporated Lake Hanna, Pakistan ©Paula Bronstein/Getty Images


Water demand will increase over the next decades

There’s more: the world’s demand for freshwater is likely to significantly increase over the next decades, said the study’s leading authors, Mesfin Mekonnen and Arjen Hoekstra of the University of Twente, Netherlands. This is mainly due to demographic growth, improved living conditions and the increase in water resources in agriculture.


Despite most of people that will face water scarcity mainly live in China and India, the Dutch analysis points out other areas at risk, in different seasons of the year: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, and the United States (especially California, Texas, and Florida).


Sudan del Sud acqua
Woman bringing water tanks, South Sudan ©Paula Bronstein/Getty Images


Climate change will exacerbate the problem

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) explained that due to climate change “a combination of reduced river base flows, flooding and rising sea levels are predicted to affect highly productive irrigated systems dependent upon glacier melt (like the Punjab and Colorado) and lowland deltas (such as the Indus, Nile, and Brahmaputra-Ganges-Meghna – the world’s most densely populated delta)”.


The report eventually highlights the need of implementing measures aimed to prevent such problems. Namely, limitations to water exploitation in river basins, an increased efficiency, and a better resource management: these factors were considered decisive to reduce risks jeopardising not only human beings, but also biodiversity.

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