Water Scarcity in Context

Water Scarcity in Context

Our water resources are being depleted faster than they can be replenished.

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By 2050, water consumption by humans will increase by 55%, consumption through agriculture will rise by 69%, and consumption by livestock will increase by 70%. Meanwhile, freshwater sources are depleting faster than they are being naturally replenished, thereby exacerbating the world's current water crisis

Water scarcity affects around a fifth of the world population and the search for clean water is expected to displace 700 million people by 2030. Water shortage results in 3.5 million deaths per year and is projected to cause half a billion deaths by the end of the century. In developing countries like Rwanda, anthropogenic wastes contaminate large portions of water in both groundwater aquifers and surface water bodies through untreated sewage, industrial dumps, and agricultural runoff. Even in some developed nations such as Australia, one cup of tap water can contain the carcinogen arsenic, runoff pesticides, and lead from corroded metal pipes that can lead to developmental and learning disabilities. The loss of productivity and human resources due to water-related illness results in an estimated global GDP decrease of 700 million dollars per year. In areas such as the Middle East, where thirteen out of the sixteen countries that face increasing water stress are located, increasing water shortage could not only increase the risk of death by dehydration, but also increase the tension of armed conflict already present in the region. In regards to aquatic life, populations of flounder, cod, hake, and haddock have decreased by about 95 percent in the Northern-Atlantic region within just the last decade. Because fish is a primary source of protein for around one in five people around the world, the drastic decrease in fish populations threatens international food security. Earth's rapidly growing population demands increased commercial fishing operations, but global marine ecosystems are not equipped to replenish its resources at the same rate that they are being depleted.

With the severity of the global water crisis in mind, we must strive to reduce our water consumption and push for environmentally protective legislation.

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