Friday, March 13, 2009

ALMOST HALF THE WORLD FACES WATER SHORTAGE BY 2030

Globe & Mail, Canada - The world faces a bleak future over its dwindling water supplies, with pollution, climate change and rapidly growing populations raising the possibility of widespread shortages, a new report compiled by 24 agencies of the United Nations says.

The warning from the UN is based on one of the most comprehensive assessments the global body has undertaken on the state of the world's fresh water . . .

"Today, water management crises are developing in most of the world," the report says, citing a single week in November of 2006 when there were local news reports of shortages in 14 countries, including parts of Canada, the United States and Australia. water map Enlarge Image Internet Links

The assessment, called World Water Development Report, says that while water supplies are under threat, the demand for water is increasing rapidly because of industrialization, rising living standards and changing diets that include more foods, such as meat, that require larger amounts of water to produce.

"The result is a continuously increasing demand for finite water resources for which there are no substitutes," it says, predicting that by 2030, nearly half of the world's population will be living in areas of high water stress. . .

Population and urban growth are among the reasons the UN agencies worry about water shortages. Every year, the world's population grows by another 80 million, with most of the growth occurring in urban areas. The report says this means the world will have "substantially more people" living in urban and coastal areas vulnerable to scare water resources.

Another concern is the huge demand agriculture places on water resources. Already, about 70 per cent of the fresh water used by people is for growing crops and raising livestock. The report expresses concern that as more people in emerging economies gain middle-class lifestyles, they will consume more milk, eggs, chicken and beef, "which is much more water-intensive than the simpler diets they are replacing."