UN warns world could have 40 percent water shortfall by 2030

UN warns world could have 40 percent water shortfall by 2030
In this Monday, Aug. 25, 2015, file photo, an Indian villager walks through floodwaters to collect drinking water from a hand pump in Burhaburhi village in the Morigaon district of north eastern Assam state, India. A UN report released, March, 20, 2015, warns that the world will suffer a serious shortfall of potable water by 2030 unless people and nations dramatically change the way they use the resource. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath, File)

The world could suffer a 40 percent shortfall in water in just 15 years unless countries dramatically change their use of the resource, a U.N. report warned Friday.

Many underground reserves are already running low, while are predicted to become more erratic with . As the world's population grows to an expected 9 billion by 2050, more groundwater will be needed for farming, industry and personal consumption.

The report predicts global water demand will increase 55 percent by 2050, while reserves dwindle. If current usage trends don't change, the world will have only 60 percent of the water it needs in 2030, it said.

Having less available water risks catastrophe on many fronts: crops could fail, ecosystems could break down, industries could collapse, disease and poverty could worsen, and violent conflicts over access to water could become more frequent.

"Unless the balance between demand and finite supplies is restored, the world will face an increasingly severe global water deficit," the annual World Water Development Report said, noting that more efficient use could guarantee enough supply in the future.

The report, released in New Delhi two days before World Water Day, calls on policymakers and communities to rethink water policies, urging more conservation as well as recycling of wastewater as is done in Singapore. Countries may also want to consider raising prices for water, as well as searching for ways to make water-intensive sectors more efficient and less polluting, it said.

In many countries including India, water use is largely unregulated and often wasteful. Pollution of water is often ignored and unpunished. At least 80 percent of India's population relies on groundwater for drinking to avoid bacteria-infested surface waters.

In agriculture-intense India, where studies show some aquifers are being depleted at the world's fastest rates, the shortfall has been forecast at 50 percent or even higher. Climate change is expected to make the situation worse, as higher temperatures and more erratic weather patterns could disrupt rainfall.

Currently, about 748 million people worldwide have poor access to clean drinking water, the report said, cautioning that alone is not the solution - and could make the situation worse unless reforms ensure more efficiency and less pollution.

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

Explore further

Time now to act on looming water crisis, UN warns

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Citation: UN warns world could have 40 percent water shortfall by 2030 (2015, March 20) retrieved 23 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-03-world-percent-shortfall.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Mar 20, 2015
That'll be a temporary problem. Wars and starvation will bring the numbers in line.

Mar 20, 2015
But it is so messy.

Let's try another way.

Mar 21, 2015
California have all the water people need. State need to increase general price closer to what it cost for desalinated water and charge 80% for private underground water usage. Farmers could be given some gradually reduced aids and expect to only use ultra low water use farming, high price crop, or move to other state with more water. Of course salt water crops should be developed too since this will help sea level rising.

People need to get their priority straight. 23,000 years ago was glacial maximum and around 15,000 sea level rose 400 feet. Meanwhile there are over 10,000 times humans at 7 billion now and expected to GROW. Each human uses more natural resources as standard of living get tiny bit better and MORE humans. Instead of wasting energy, money, and effort on silly things such as carbon capture, world need better birth control. Of course top 0.1% and religion don't like less people that contribute money to them though.

Mar 21, 2015
rocket77777, you forgot to mention govts that demand $$ from citizens for everything imaginable.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more