Severe Water Scarcity: Billions Of People Impacted By Lack Of Natural Resource

Severe water scarcity is an issue that most people in the world never really think about. For many, water is available to them whenever they turn on the faucet. The problem is that even more people in the world have to deal with water scarcity in their everyday lives, according to a study released in the Science Advances journal.

The study in the journal stated that four billion people on Earth live in a place where the people have to deal with a lack of water for at least one month of the year. Two billion of the people mentioned in the study live in China and India. Perhaps the most shocking revelation in the study is that up to 500 million people live with water scarcity issues all year long. Co-author Doctor Mesfin Mekonnen commented on the results of the study.

“Water scarcity generally occurs only during part of the year, when there is a mismatch between water availability and demand.”

Other nations that are forced to live with limits on water include Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Mexico. Some experts speculate that one of the catalysts for the civil war in Syria was the fact that water is not as plentiful there as it once was. Even the highly developed country of the United States is on this list. Severe droughts in California and Texas have led to people living under water restrictions for the first time in their lives. The drought in California has become so bad that the state has been forced to impose water restriction laws on farmers which need the resource for their crops. Not only will limiting water to farmers have an impact on food production in California, but it could also economically cripple the farming industry there.

The authors of the study were not caught off guard by the results that they discovered. The lead author, Arjen Y. Hoekstra, made a comment that many people do not realize just how bad the problem is. Hoekstra said that it is obvious “that water scarcity is a serious risk factor to our global economy, something that many people still don’t recognize.” Hoekstra also stated that people who do not live in an area where water is limited will likely still feel the impact “because they may depend on food from those areas.”

What Is Causing The Problem?

Besides droughts, water scarcity is being impacted by an increase in population which puts an increase on the demand for food. Eating habits are changing and people across the world are eating meat more. Meat is a food that takes up more water than other types of food.

Another cause of water scarcity is one that is relatively new. The world is constantly looking for alternative fuel sources and are turning more to biofuel. Biofuels are made from crops such as corn. Corn is a crop that needs a lot of water in order for the crop to grow properly. The more countries turn to fuel made from corn, the more water that is taken away for other uses.

The problem of water scarcity is not going to get better the more that time passes. Governments of the world are going to have to address the issue sooner rather than later. Like the authors of the study said, water scarcity impacts many more people than just the ones living in the countries that are impacted by the lack of resource.

How big of an impact has water scarcity made on your life?

[Image Via AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi]