Almost half of the world’s population faces a scarcity of water.
Statistics / Introduction:
Water use has grown at more than twice the rate of the population for the past century. Although there is not yet a global water shortage, about 2.8 billion people, representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s population, live in river basins with some form of water scarcity.
More than 1.2 billion of them live under conditions of physical water scarcity, which occurs when more than 75 per cent of the river flows are withdrawn. Northern Africa and Western Asia are seriously compromised, as are some regions within large countries such as China and India. Symptoms include environmental degradation and competition for water.
Another 1.6 billion people live in areas of economic water scarcity, where human, institutional and financial capital limit access to water, even though water in nature is available locally to meet human demands.
These conditions are prevalent in much of Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Symptoms include lack of or underdeveloped water infrastructure, high vulnerability to short- and long-term drought, and difficult access to reliable water supplies, especially for rural people.
Millions of people in Africa are stricken with preventable diseases every year because they lack what the developed world takes for granted — clean drinking water.
Africa is one of the most water-impoverished regions … and the lack of clean water claims the lives of 4,900 children every day.
More than one child in sub-Saharan Africa dies every minute from diarrheal disease — a direct result of inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.