Feb
03
2009

water.jpgLast Friday I posted on the water crisis in Africa and on the organization Halfway There and how they are trying to make a difference. Here is an article I read on the BBC today.

A changing climate is only one of the factors likely to affect the amount of water at each person’s disposal in future.
A more populated world – and there could be another 2.5 billion people on the planet by 2050 – is likely to be a thirstier world. Those extra people will need feeding; and as agriculture accounts for about 70% of water use around the world, extra consumption for growing food is likely to reduce the amount available for those basic needs of drinking, cooking and washing. Industry can also take water that would otherwise have ended up in peoples’ mouths.

On the other hand, as a society industrialises it tends to become less reliant on farming – which could, in principle, reduce its local demand. It is a tremendously complex picture; and forecasting its impacts makes simple climate modelling look a trivial task by comparison.

Researchers at the University of Kassel in Germany, led by Martina Floerke, have attempted it. Their projections suggest that some regions are likely to see drastic declines in the amount of water available for personal use – and for intriguing reasons.

“The principal cause of decreasing water stress (where it occurs) is the greater availability of water due to increased annual precipitation related to climate change,” they conclude. “The principal cause of increasing water stress is growing water withdrawals, and the most important factor for this increase is the growth of domestic water use stimulated by income growth.”

The modelling suggests that by the 2050s, as many as six billion people could face water scarcity (defined as less than 1,000 cubic metres per person per year), depending, most importantly, on how societies develop – a significant increase on previous estimates.

To read more go here.

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