1. News & Issues

One Third of World's Population Lacks Fresh Water

By August 22, 2006

Follow me on:

One third of the world’s population is running short of fresh water, and it’s happening about 20 years sooner than previously predicted, according to an authoritative new report on world water supplies.

Also Read: The report by the International Water Management Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka, called Insights from the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture, was released on Monday in Stockholm at the start of World Water Week. The report concludes that one in every three people on Earth now suffers from a scarcity of fresh water, a situation that a previous assessment five years ago predicted would not occur until 2025.

The discrepancy between the two reports is that the earlier analysis was done on a country-by-country basis, while the more recent report provides a detailed analysis of natural water basins. Some of those, like the Yellow River basin that provides a significant portion of China’s food, does not have enough fresh water to support more people or any increase in activity.

The report, which drew on the expertise of more than 700 experts, outlines several steps that can increase the availability and effective use of fresh water, especially among the world’s poor people, who are often most critically affected by drought and fresh water scarcity.

Many of those revolve around collecting and storing rainwater instead of letting it go to waste, focusing on rain-fed agriculture instead of irrigation, and using hardier crops. The experts who contributed to the report said rain-fed agriculture is the fastest and cheapest way to end malnutrition, reduce poverty among farmers, halt the invasion of natural habitats and end the scarcity of fresh water.

But the report also warns that action must be taken immediately to achieve positive change. If the right steps are taken now, the growth in global use of fresh water could slow by 50 percent. If nothing changes, twice as much fresh water will be required to feed the world’s people by 2050.

“Business as usual is not an option,” said David Molden, who coordinated the report and works for the International Water Management Institute.


September 12, 2006 at 6:19 pm
(1) yvonne sly says:

hello it is very scarey but i am not totally shocked its been predicted and it is happening.amorte yvonne

September 12, 2006 at 6:22 pm
(2) yvonne sly says:

hello i know the water at times iclean from experience. i woke up and was taking my thyroid medication and the water had rust in it this is a fact not fiction. amorte yvonne

April 25, 2007 at 9:09 am
(3) Queila says:

what can or should be done to prevent scarcity of water?

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.