The world faces a grave and very real water shortage that is quickly becoming—if not already for many areas—a crisis. Almost every aspect of our lives depends greatly on the one resource that so many of us take for granted. However, we may soon not have the liberty of such impiety .The 2015 UN World Water Development report was released March 20th, and the findings are alarming. The bottom line screams that we cannot continue with our current policies and practices because According to the report, we will be 40% short of fresh water by 2030—just 15 years from today.

Unsustainable development pathways and governance failures have affected the quality and availability of water resources, compromising their capacity to generate social and economic benefits, Economic growth itself is not a guarantee for wider social progress.

The global population continues to grow, and with this rise, there has been a steady shift from rural to urban areas. This urbanization is especially true today in developing countries, but is a trend seen worldwide for many decades. As people move to urban areas, the demand for accessible water also increases. Furthermore, the world’s population is expected to increase by more than a billion by as early as 2050. With this growth and movement to cities, there comes a much greater need for water. This is a major global crisis, considering we already live in a world where one out of every nine people do not have access to safe water

The onset of climate change, growing demand on finite water resources from agriculture, industry and cities, and increasing pollution in many areas are hastening a water crisis that can only be addressed by cross-sectoral, holistic planning and policies – internationally, regionally and globally
— United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Along with with population growth and urban migration, the report heavily points to climate change as a culprit in the looming water crisis. Irregular weather patterns can lead to dwindling rainfall and the eventual depletion of underwater reserves. Today, close to 1 Billion people around the world have less than adequate access to clean water and the impact of this devastating statistic shows a 'snowball' effect reaching all aspects of daily life.

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The effects of the water shortage will hit farms first - where crops will begin to fail at an alarming rate and where job losses in surrounding industries begin to manifest. This Industrial decline leads to socioeconomic collapse and higher levels of poverty. The world will also see a dramatic increase in health problems - many of which are already taking shape today. For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Papua New Guinea and Mozambique - nearly 1,000 children die every day from diarrhoeal disease because they ingested unsafe drinking water. More than half the population in these 3 countries do not have access to clean water which leads to widespread hygiene and sanitation problems. 

Lack of access to this most needed resource coupled with a decline in the quality of life for those in the most affected areas will certainly lead to an increase in violent conflict - especially in the developing world. 

Nature Magazine

Nature Magazine

Unless the balance between demand and finite supplies is restored, the world will face an increasingly severe global water deficit

Header: Getty

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