Humans are over-consuming natural resources at an unsustainable rate. Around 3.5 planets Earth would be needed to sustain a global population achieving the current lifestyle of the average European or North American.
The total volume of water on Earth is about 1.4 billion km³. The volume of freshwater resources is around 35 million km³, or about 2.5 percent of the total volume.
Of these freshwater resources, about 24 million km³ or 70 percent is in the form of ice and permanent snow cover in mountainous regions, the Antarctic and Arctic regions.
Around 30 percent of the world’s freshwater is stored underground in the form of groundwater (shallow and deep groundwater basins up to 2000 metres, soil moisture, swamp water and permafrost). This constitutes about 97 percent of all the freshwater that is potentially available for human use.
Freshwater lakes and rivers contain an estimated 105000 km³ or around 0.3 percent of the world’s freshwater.
The Earth’s atmosphere contains approximately 13,000 km³ of water.
The total usable freshwater supply for ecosystems and humans is about 200 000 km³ of water – less than 1 percent of all freshwater resources.
Water scarcity already affects almost every continent and more than 40 percent of the people on our planet. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions.
In 2030, 47% of world population will be living in areas of high water stress. Most population growth will occur in developing countries, mainly in regions that are already experiencing water stress and in areas with limited access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities.
Water resource management impacts almost all aspects of the economy, in particular, health, food production and security, domestic water supply and sanitation, energy, industry and environmental sustainability.
Sources and Courtesy: UNEP, World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) , FAO, 2012 , WWDR, 2012, http://www.unwater.org
- Averting conflict over water (japantimes.co.jp)
- Paradox of Water Crisis (propelsteps.wordpress.com)
- The Looming Threat of Water Scarcity (thethinkingtamil.com)
- Rain Water Harvesting (lohitdacha.wordpress.com)
- Searching for reliable global water data (unconventionalenergy.blogs.ihs.com)
- Water supply and conservation in Yemen (mideastissues.com)
- More than 500 million people might face increasing water scarcity (phys.org)