Urban growth is one of the major factors affecting water scarcity. With the UN predicting that around 5 billion people – over half of the global population – could experience water shortages by 2050, it’s clear that something needs to be done to change the way we organize society and use water.
Falling regularly from the sky and surrounding us in waterways and underground reserves, water feels like it’s the most abundant and renewable resource of our planet.
Whether a trigger, weapon, or a casualty, water has played a major role in conflicts around the world. With climate change altering rainfall patterns and causing extended droughts all over the globe, disputes over water appear to remain a challenge for some regions. On the other hand, history has also witnessed water being the source of cooperation between nations.
Today’s society is characterized by being dynamic and fast-paced and the more we move towards the future, the more goods and resources we consume. Since water is present in the lifecycle of any products we consume, our footprint is growing bigger every year.
Moving to a more sustainable long-term model for managing water supplies is essential if we are to avert a future water crisis. However, many countries still lack access to even basic clean water. The World Bank estimates that the poorest countries need to spend around $150 billion a year just to deliver safe and clean water for all.
In this climate, is it realistic to expect countries to achieve water sustainability? Where do we stand regarding water sustainability at the moment and what can be done to improve the situation in the future?
Water is essential to life on this planet. Yet there are signs that freshwater supplies are becoming more and more scarce. According to the UN, around 2 billion people – over 25% of the global population – already live in countries experiencing high water stress and it’s predicted that around 700 million people could be displaced by extreme water scarcity by 2030. One of the key challenges is climate change, which is disrupting the global water cycle and affecting water supplies in a number of ways.
As we move away from fossil fuels to renewables, new technologies point to a cleaner energy scheme by decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. In a planet with only 1% of fresh water, it is imperative that the new energy system pursues to decrease the water footprint (WF). Because a low-carbon footprint doesn’t necessarily mean a low water use. The water footprint (WF) is defined as the total annual volume of freshwater used to produce goods and services related to consumption.