Putting an end to the water scarcity

What is water scarcity?

Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet the demands within an area. There is enough freshwater on the planet for seven billion people but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and un-sustainably managed. There is no global water scarcity as such, but a number of places and regions are chronically short of water because its use at the global level has increased more than twice as fast as the population over the last century.

Even in countries with adequate water resources, water scarcity is not uncommon. Water scarcity limits access to safe water for drinking and for practicing basic hygiene at home, in schools and in health-care facilities. When water is scarce, sewage systems can fail and the threat of contracting diseases like cholera surges. Scarce water also becomes more expensive.

Water scarcity takes a greater toll on women and children because they are often the ones responsible for collecting it. When water is further away, it requires more time to collect, which often means less time at school. Particularly for girls, a shortage of water in schools impacts student enrolment, attendance and performance. Carrying water long distances is also an enormous physical burden and can expose children to safety risks and exploitation.

Over the last 50 years, the world’s population has doubled and continues to grow. As a result, the use of water to drink, cook and meet other needs has tripled. As the global population is expected to boom in the coming decades, water resources need to be managed more efficiently.



Water pollution comes from many sources including pesticides and fertilizers that wash away from farms, untreated human wastewater, and industrial waste. Even groundwater is not safe from pollution, as many pollutants can leach into underground aquifers. Some effects are immediate, as when harmful bacteria from human waste contaminate water and make it unfit to drink or swim in. In other instances it may take years to build up in the environment and food chain before their effects are fully recognized.

The degradation of water quality contributes to the shortage. Water pollution has environmental consequences that make water unfit for consumption or use and reduce the available water resources. Pollution is thus becoming one of the main threats to the availability and reuse of water. Fertilizers and pesticides, soil depletion and poor waste disposal conditions are detrimental to available freshwater sources.

Overuse of water

The misuse of water resources is another big issue leading to water scarcity. Inadequate management of water resources, whether it be for agriculture – using 70% of the world’s accessible freshwater – industrial activities or domestic use, causes a lot of wasted water. Considering that we are wasting more water than ever before, this causes a lot of “stress” on the amount of available water resources.

Climate Change

Glaciers and ice packs are melting in some areas, affecting the freshwater supplies. Moreover, because of global warming, there are more and more droughts, floods and heat waves. Climate change is therefore worsening the water crisis, especially in regions that are already under water stress.

Growing freshwater demand

Over the last 50 years, the world’s population has doubled and continues to grow. As a result, the use of water to drink, cook and meet other needs has tripled. As the global population is expected to boom in the coming decades, water resources need to be managed more efficiently.


Agriculture uses 70% of the world’s accessible freshwater, but some 60% of this is wasted due to leaky irrigation systems, inefficient application methods as well as the cultivation of crops that are too thirsty for the environment in which they are grown. This wasteful use of water is drying out rivers, lakes and underground aquifers. Many countries that produce large amounts of food—including India, China, Australia, Spain and the United States—have reached or are close to reaching their water resource limits. Added to these thirsty crops are the fact that agriculture also generates considerable freshwater pollution – both through fertilizers as well as pesticides – all of which affect both humans and other species.

Population Growth

In the last 50 years, the human population has more than doubled. This rapid growth— with its accompanying economic development and industrialization—has transformed water ecosystems around the world and resulted in a massive loss of biodiversity. Today, 41% of the world’s population lives in river basins that are under water stress. Concern about water availability grows as freshwater use continues at unsustainable levels. Furthermore, these new faces also need food, shelter, and clothing, thus resulting in additional pressure on freshwater through the production of commodities and energy.

Global Statistics

–   More than 1 billion people do not have access to a source of clean drinking water.

–   Four billion people — almost two thirds of the world’s population — experience severe water scarcity for at least one month each year.

–   Over two billion people live in countries where water supply is inadequate.

–   Half of the world’s population could be living in areas facing water scarcity by as early as 2025.

–   Some 700 million people could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030.

–   By 2040, roughly 1 in 4 children worldwide will be living in areas of extremely high water stress.

What can we do to prevent it?

Here are a couple of ways in which we can prevent our future generations from severe water crisis:

Identifying new water resources: By assessing the availability of water resources using various technologies, including remote sensing and geophysical surveys and field investigations.

Improving the efficiency of water resources: By rehabilitating urban water distribution networks and treatment systems to reduce water leakage and contamination and advocating people on the reuse of water.

Changing behaviors: By working with schools and communities to promote an understanding of the value of water and the importance of its protection, including by supporting environmental clubs in schools.

Planning national water needs: By working with key stakeholders at national and sub-national levels to understand the water requirements for domestic use and for health and sanitation ensuring that this is reflected in national planning considerations.

Being mindful about the wasting water: By being mindful while using any water resource and ensuring minimal waste.We are working day and night on a number of causes that are addressing the issue of water scarcity in remote areas around the globe. Head on to our website and donate to contribute to the cause.