A drastic water shortage is impacting two-thirds of the world’s population. About four billion people have been faced with drought conditions. A news study by the University of Twente in the Netherlands revealed that severe water shortage are happening at least one month of every year around the planet.
An academic paper published by Dr. Arjen Y. Hoekstra and fellow researcher Mesfin M. Mekonnen in the journal Science Advances stated that a severe scarcity of water can lead to both low crop yield and crop failures — and higher food prices. Dr. Hoekstra also noted that widespread starvation could occur if the drought pattern continues. According to the water shortage paper, severe shortages happen when businesses, farms, and home consume about double the amount of water than is available at any given time.
— Phys.org (@physorg_com) February 15, 2016
The severe water shortage maintains that not everyone in the affected countries would suffer the same percentage of scarcity during the revolving drought conditions, according to Dr. Hoekstra. He said that a water shortage in more affluent countries would likely results in usage restrictions for gardening and showering purposes, while poor nations will struggle to garner clean drinking water, the New York Times notes.
“That means that groundwater levels are falling, lakes are drying up, less water is flowing in rivers, and water supplies for industry and farmers are threatened,” Dr. Hoekstra added.
Approximately two billion people living in Mexico, California, Florida, Texas, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are also plagued with water shortages. Ranchers in the West have faced water struggles for several years. The annual wildfire season in California is also a mounting concerns for public officials, residents, and firefighters.
Similar studies released before the recent report by the Netherlands university findings indicated that between 1.7 and 3,1 billion people around the world were facing a severe water shortage. Dr. Hoekstra believes that the earlier studies used too general of a measurement concept or relied upon annual waterfall averages that were not as accurate as the data generated monthly.
— Global Resilience (@grp_resilience) February 15, 2016
“Freshwater scarcity is a major risk to the global economy, affecting four billion people directly. But since the remaining people in the world receive part of their food from the affected areas, it involves us all,” Dr. Hoekstra said.
The studied used a compilation of water availability data from 1996 to 2005.
Here’s an excerpt from the journal Science Advances report.
“Freshwater scarcity is increasingly perceived as a global systemic risk. Previous global water scarcity assessments, measuring water scarcity annually, have underestimated experienced water scarcity by failing to capture the seasonal fluctuations in water consumption and availability. We assess blue water scarcity globally at a high spatial resolution on a monthly basis.”
The World Economic Forum lists water crises as the “largest global risk” in terms of potential impact, according to the report. Increased in population, standard of living and consumption patterns, along with a reported expansion or irrigation for agriculture, are primary contributing factors on the enhanced demand for water around the globe. The report goes on to state that there is enough freshwater available to meet the need, but cautions that “spatial and temporal variations” on the demand for water available to the public at large is leading to scarcity during particular times of the year.
What do you think about the severe water scarcity report?
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