Water scarcity already affects every continent. Water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase since 1900, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainably delivered, especially in arid regions.
ChallengesWater scarcity will be exacerbated as rapidly growing urban areas place heavy pressure on neighbouring water resources. Climate change and bio-energy demands are also expected to amplify the already complex relationship between world development and water demand.
OpportunitiesThere is not a global water shortage as such, but individual countries and regions need to urgently tackle the critical problems presented by water stress. Water has to be treated as a scarce resource, with a far stronger focus on managing demand. Integrated water resources management provides a broad framework for governments to align water use patterns with the needs and demands of different users, including the environment.
- FAO: Aquastat
- FAO (2020): The State of Food and Agriculture 2020
- FAO (2016): Coping with water scarcity in agriculture: a global framework for action in a changing climate
- FAO (2008): Coping with water scarcity: An action framework for agriculture and food security
- UN (2006): UN World Water Development Report 2006: ‘Water: a shared responsibility’
- UNDP (2006): Human Development Report 2006: ‘Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis’
- UNICEF (2021): Water Security for All
- UNICEF (2017): Thirsting for a Future: Water and children in a changing climate
- UN-Water Activity Information System: National Drought Management Policies Initiative
- UN-Water (2021): Summary Progress Update 2021: SDG 6 — water and sanitation for all
- UN 2018: SDG 6 Synthesis Report
- World Resources Institute: Blog: What we know about water scarcity