25 Facts about Water Scarcity You Probably Don’t Know
Updated: Apr 25
Water is essential to life on Earth, yet it is a scarce resource many of us take for granted. With growing populations and climate change, water scarcity is becoming a critical issue in many parts of the world.
Despite its importance, most people have a limited understanding of the scope and impact of water scarcity. That's why we've compiled a list of 25 interesting facts about water scarcity that you probably don't know.
Fact 1 - Freshwater Scarcity
Water covers 70 percent of our planet. However, freshwater—the stuff we drink, bathe in, and irrigate our farm fields—is incredibly rare. Only 3 percent of the world’s water is freshwater, and two-thirds of that is tucked away in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable for our use.
Fact 2 - Water Accessibility Issues
Approximately 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year.
Fact 3 - Risks of Surface Water
Fact 4 - Water Treatment Access
3.6 billion people do not have access to safe water treatment systems, meaning a toilet that separates human waste from contact and a system to ensure that the waste is safely disposed of.
Fact 5 - Global Water Stress
According to the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, 17 countries, which are home to 25% of the world’s population, face “extremely high” water stress.
Fact 6 - Water Sanitation and Hygiene
Over 1000 children die daily from diseases linked to unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Fact 7 - Future Water Scarcity
By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity.
Fact 8 - Well Water Dependence
More than two billion people worldwide rely on wells for their water.
Fact 9 - Increasing Water Demand
Water demand is projected to grow by 55 percent by 2050, including a 400 percent rise in manufacturing water demand.
Fact 10 - Water Source Degradation
By 2040, 600 million children will live in areas of water stress as the changing climate is destroying, drying up, and contaminating water sources
Fact 11 - Water Collection Burden
In Asia and Africa, rural women must walk an average of 6 kilometers or 3.7 miles for their water.
Fact 12 - Global Water Pollution
About 4.5 billion people globally live within 50km of an "impaired" water resource – one that is running dry or polluted.
Fact 13 - Water Use Increase
Over the past 40 years, the world’s population has doubled while water use has quadrupled.
Fact 14 - Hydrologists' Approach
Hydrologists typically assess scarcity by looking at the population-water equation. An area is experiencing water stress when annual water supplies drop below 1,700 m3 per person. When annual water supplies drop below 1,000 m3 per person, the population faces water scarcity, and below 500 cubic meters, "absolute scarcity."
Fact 15 - Water Resources Group forecasts
By 2030, the Water Resources Group forecasts, global water requirements may outstrip sustainable use by 40 percent.
Fact 16 - Unsustainable Water Use
By 2050, one in five developing countries will face water shortages.
Fact 17 - Clean Water Access in Schools
29% of schools don’t have access to clean water.
Fact 18 - Lack of Clean Water Nearby
771 million people don’t have clean water close to home.
Fact 19 - Access to Safe Water in Homes
The Global Water Institute estimates that 700 million people could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030
Fact 20 - Water Shortages in Asia
Approximately 73 percent of people affected by water shortages live in Asia.
Fact 21 - Water Crisis in Lebanon
UNICEF reported that more than 71 percent of Lebanon’s population faces a critical water crisis.
Fact 22 - Impact on Women's Lives
Women and girls worldwide spend 200 million hours every day collecting water.
Fact 23 - Monetary Loss Due to Wastewater
$260 billion is lost every year due to unsafe water and inadequate sanitation in developing countries.
Fact 24 - Avoided Deaths and Economic Gains
Universal access to basic water and sanitation would result in $18.5 billion in annual economic benefits from avoided deaths alone.
Fact 25 - Global Disease Burden Reduction
Universal access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and hygiene can potentially reduce the global disease burden by 10 percent.
The Bottom Line
The issue of water scarcity is a pressing global concern that affects us all. Through this article, we hope to shed light on some lesser-known facts about the global water crisis and the effects of water shortages on health and human development. It is clear that we need to take action to conserve water and reduce waste in our daily lives, as well as implement policies and technologies that promote sustainable water management.
We urge everyone to take a moment to reflect on the information presented here and consider how they can make a difference in their own communities. Together, we can work towards a more water-secure future!
Photo by PS Photography: https://www.pexels.com/photo/water-drops-from-faucet-67184/