Two Reports Project Fresh Water Scarcity by 2030
A recent report by the World Economic Forum warns that half the world’s population will be affected by water shortages within 20 years. Unsustainable conditions are headed toward what the researchers term, “water bankruptcy,” that could incite a crisis greater than the current global financial downturn. Crops and people are in danger, as geopolitical conflicts are expected to rise due to dwindling water resources.
During the 20th century, world population increased fourfold, but the amount of fresh water that it used increased nine times over. Already, 2.8 billion people live in areas of high water stress, according to the analysis. A concurring UN World Water Development Report adds that shortages are already beginning to constrain economic growth in areas as diverse as California, China, Australia, India and Indonesia. The Associated Press reports that the pivotal Ogallala Aquifer, in America’s Great Plains breadbasket, stretching from South Dakota to North Texas, continues to be drained at alarming rates, while the natural recharge rate is considered negligible.