Climate change could cut water flow in some of the American West’s biggest river basins — including the Rio Grande and the Colorado — by up to 20 percent this century, the Interior Department reported on Monday. http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/42624 —Under an average economic growth scenario and without efficiency gains, global water requirements will grow from 4,500 billion cubic meters today to nearly 7,000 billion cubic meters, a 50% increase in only 20years. That’s more than half of all the water in Lake Superior. —By 2030, some analysts predict that available water supplies will satisfy only 60% of demand. —According to the World Economic Forum, nearly 60% of the world’s population will be living in cities by that time, causing a shortage of clean water for people and business in the urban environment worldwide. —In that same time, a third of humanity will have only half the water required to meet basic needs, which is likely to impact food production because agriculture accounts for more than 70% of water usage. —Ceres, an environmental research and sustainability group, 24/7 Wall St, and the National Resources Defense Council declare that 10 of America’s biggest cities are in severe danger of water shortages in the relatively near future. http://www.forbes.com/sites/csr/2011/03/22/on-world-water-day-a-call-for-innovation/ America’s bottled water habit has consequences: every 27 hours Americans drink enough bottles of water to circle the equator with empty plastic containers http://static.ewg.org/reports/2010/bottledwater2010/pdf/2011-bottledwater-scorecard-report.pdf
Statistics of Water Crisis
- Globally we use 70% of our water sources for agriculture and irrigation, and only 10% on domestic uses.1
- 84% of the people who don’t have access to improved water, live in rural areas, where they live principally through subsistence agriculture.2
- Less than one in three people in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to a proper toilet.2
- Over half of the developing world’s primary schools do not have access to water and sanitation facilities. Without toilets, girls typically drop out of school at puberty.3
- 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases.4
- Girls under the age of 15 are twice as likely as boys their age to be the family member responsible for fetching water.
- Almost two-thirds, 64% of households rely on women to get the family’s water when there is no water source in the home.2
- In developing countries, as much of 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.5
- Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease.6
- By investing in clean water alone, young children around the world can gain more than 413 million days of health!7
- Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease.8
- Nearly a billion, 884 million people do not have access to clean and safe water. 37% of those people live in Sub-Saharan Africa.2
- The average container for water collection in Africa, the jerry can weighs over 40 lbs when full. 9
- The United Nations estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 40 billion hours per year collecting water; that’s the same as a whole year’s worth of labor by the entire workforce in France!10
- Research has shown that for every 10% increase in women’s literacy, a country’s whole economy can grow by up to 0.3%.11
- According to the World Health Organization, for every $1 invested in water and sanitation, there is an economic return of between $3 and $34!12
- 1 in 8 people world wide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.1
http://thewaterproject.org/water_stats.asp recent statistics by World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that about 4,000 children die daily from water-borne diseases for lack of pure potable water, a result, which averages at 166 children per hour, and three children every other minute. http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/01/bottled-water-the-hidden-facts/ In 2010, total bottled water consumption increased to 8.75 billion gallons, up from 8.45 billion gallons in 2009. Per-capita consumption is up 2.6% in 2010, with every person in America now drinking an average of 28.3 gallons of bottled water last year. http://www.finewaters.com/Newsletter/The_Water_Connoisseur/U.S._Bottled_Water_Volume_Grew_3.5_in_2010.asp MOST people may drink only two litres of water a day, but they consume about 3,000 if the water that goes into their food is taken into account. The rich gulp down far more, since they tend to eat more meat, which takes far more water to produce than grains So as the world’s population grows and incomes rise, farmers will—if they use today’s methods—need a great deal more water to keep everyone fed: 2,000 more cubic kilometres a year by 2030, according to the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a research centre, or over a quarter more than they use today Some 1.2 billion people, about a fifth of the world’s population, live in places that are short of water (see map). Farming accounts for roughly 70% of human water consumption. So when water starts to run out, as is happening in northern China, southern Spain and the western United States, among other places, farming tends to offer the best potential for thrift http://www.economist.com/node/12260907 the average water footprint in the world is 1,243 cubic meters a year. As you already might have guessed, in the U.S. we are water hogs – we use more than twice the world average, or 2,500 cubic meters. That’s equivalent to an Olympic-sized swimming pool for each and every one of us, or 2.5 million liters each. The Chinese, to compare, use 700 cubic meters annually. The top five biggest average daily users of water are the U.S., Australia, Italy, Japan, and Mexico – all five of these use well over 300 liters daily. The countries where water poverty is the worst and water usage is the lowest are Mozambique, Rwanda, Haiti, Ethiopia, and Uganda – these five use 15 liters or less daily one kilo of boneless beef takes a massive 16,000 liters of water to produce, much of that used to grow the grain the cows will eat. One hamburger uses 2,400 liters of water! We in the U.S. also have the dubious distinction of being one of the eight countries – the others are China, India, the Russian Federation, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, and Pakistan – that together represent 50% of the entire world’s water footprint. a vegetarian diet using 2.6 cubic meters of water each day, while a U.S.-style meat based diet uses over 5 cubic meters http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/06/we-use-how-much-water.php Agriculture wastes 60% or 1,500 trillion litres, of the 2,500 trillion litres of water it uses each year – this is 70% of the world’s accessible water 1. Many big food producing countries like the US, China, India, Pakistan, Australia and Spain have reached, or are close to reaching, their renewable water resource limits. http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_freshwater/freshwater_problems/thirsty_crops/.
Seventy percent of all the fresh water is used for irrigation
- agriculture uses the largest amount of freshwater (70%)
- 40 percent of the world grain harvest is produced on irrigated land, t herefore, a water shortage will become a food shortage.
- Countries are importing grain as a way to import water. It takes 1000 tons of water to grow one ton of grain. On the other hand, exporters of grain are exporting water. (The U.S. annual grain exports of 90 million tons of grain represent 90 billion tons of water, an amount that exceeds the 67-billion-ton annual flow of the Missouri River. )
- Producing one ton of grain requires 1000 tons of water, but producing one ton of beef requires 15,000 tons of water, (and nearly that much is required to produce a ton of cotton). Producing wheat or soybeans requires only 2% of the water required by beef.
Twenty Percent of Fresh Water is used by Industry. As water becomes scarce, demand for water in cities and by industry is satisfied by taking water from a country’s agriculture, with imported grain offsetting the shortfall. Conservation programs aimed individuals are not applied to industry. Ten percent of fresh water is used for residential purposes. Residential use accounts for 10 percent of fresh water use and about three-fourths of the urban water demand. Each day in the U.S., more than 4.8 billion gallons of drinking water is flushed down toilets. Showers account for about 20 percent of total indoor water use. The EPA says that by replacing standard 4.5-gallon-per-minute showerheads with 2.5-gallon-per-minute heads, which cost less than $5 each, a family of four can save approximately 20,000 gallons of water per year. Outdoor residential water use varies greatly, but on average, nationally, lawn care accounts for about 32 percent of the total residential outdoor use. Other outdoor uses include washing automobiles, maintaining swimming pools, and cleaning sidewalks and driveways. It takes 2.5 billion gallons of water per day to irrigate the world’s golf courses. It would take 2.5 billion gallons of water per day to support 4.7 billion people at the UN daily minimum. Worldwatch magazine Matters of Scale: Planet Golf. Pollution of Fresh Water In addition to our using more water than is returned in rain, we are also polluting the water we have. Most of the pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture, sewer overflows, and the oil and grease from roads, eventually run off into the water systems. http://www.webofcreation.org/Earth%20Problems/water.htm Nearly half the people on the planet — most of them in China and India — don’t have a system to safely dispose of human waste and keep it away from areas where people can come into contact with it. As a result, disease-causing bacteria can enter the water supply and spread through a population. The U.N. estimates that if the proportion of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation were halved, countries around the world would save $7.3 billion per year in health care costs, and the annual global value of adult working days gained because of less illness would be almost $750 million http://www.nrdc.org/international/safewater.asp In Sub-Saharan Africa, treating diarrhoea consumes 12 percent of the health budget. On a typical day, more than half the hospital beds in are occupied by patients suffering from faecal-related disease. Source: WSSCC http://www.unwater.org/statistics_san.html
Water, Agriculture, and Food Security
Water Pollution, Environmental Degradation and Disasters
Every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water courses. Source: World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP)In developing countries, 70 percent of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply. Source: WWAP Contribution of the food sector to the production of organic water pollutants: – High income countries: 40 percent – Low-income countries: 54 percent Source: WWAP Projected increases in fertilizer use for food production and in wastewater effluents over the next three decades suggest there will be a 10-20 per cent global increase in river nitrogen flows to coastal ecosystems. Source: Global Environment Outlook: environment for development (GEO-4) Half of the world’s wetlands have been lost since 1900. Source: WWAP Between 1991 and 2000 over 665,000 people died in 2,557 natural disasters of which 90 percent were water-related events. Source: WWAP http://www.unwater.org/statistics_pollu.html Water withdrawals are predicted to increase by 50 percent by 2025 in developing countries, and 18 per cent in developed countries. Source: Global Environment Outlook: environment for development (GEO-4) Over 1.4 billion people currently live in river basins where the use of water exceeds minimum recharge levels, leading to the desiccation of rivers and depletion of groundwater. Source: Human Development Report 2006 In 60 percent of European cities with more than 100,000 people, groundwater is being used at a faster rate than it can be replenished. Source: World Business Counicl For Sustainable Development (WBCSD) By 2025, 1 800 million people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions. Source: FAO http://www.unwater.org/statistics_use.html