The Planet Will Face Major Water Shortages by 2050, UN Chief Warns

“Water, peace and security are inextricably linked.”

As humanity adds nearly 2.5 billion more people by 2050, demand for water will rise by around 40% globally, according to the UN.

At the same time, mismanagement of resources, rampant pollution, and climate change are straining existing water sources to breaking points.

If current trends continue, then the world could face catastrophic water shortages by 2050, which could lead — as it has so many times in the past — to conflict, the UN warned in a new report.

“Water, peace and security are inextricably linked,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday. “Without effective management of our water resources, we risk intensified disputes between communities and sectors and increased tensions among nations.” Read more

23 Countries With Best and Worst Water Supplies

In Afghanistan, only 13 percent of the population has access to clean water.

Only 2.5 percent of the world’s water is fresh, drinkable water. Every year, snow melts off mountain peaks and runs into rivers, which feed into lakes. This water accounts for such a small percentage of earth’s surface — it’s no wonder wars have been waged over water, and some speculate water will be the cause of WWIII.

These renewable sources are vital to all life on earth. Unfortunately, water as a renewable source is not distributed equally. Small island nations and arid countries have to import bottled water from other water rich countries or invest in expensive infrastructure such as desalinization plants. Read more

Is Desalination the Answer to Water Shortages?

With severe droughts affecting over 36 countries could the solution lie in the ocean?

The ocean makes up 70 percent of the earth’s surface and accounts for 96 percent of the water on the planet. The problem is, this water can’t be consumed. It’s oversaturated with salt.

Desalination is the process of turning salty ocean water into drinking water. So with 783 million people lacking access to clean water and more areas facing severe droughts, could desalination be the silver bullet?

The Middle East has been a leader in desalination so far. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Israel rely heavily on desalination as a source for clean water. Israel gets 40 percent of domestic water from desalination. These countries also have hardly any groundwater or fresh water sources so desalination is a case of innovation by necessity. These countries make up the one percent of the world currently relying on desalination to meet water needs. But the UN predicts that by 2025 14 percent of the world will rely on desalination to meet water needs. Read more

The story of water in Brazil

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This Tool Makes Water Appear Out of Thin Air

Zero Mass Water’s device allows people to generate their own drinking water — even in arid regions.

A start-up in Arizona has created an at-home water-generating technologythat could be a breath of fresh air for 844 million people who lack clean, safe drinking water around the world.

That’s because Zero Mass Water’s rooftop system, already serving a few families and businesses in Arizona and California, pulls water from the air — no matter the climate or humidity level.

“We want to guarantee access to safe drinking water for every person in the world and fundamentally change the human relationship to water,” Zero Mass Water founder Cody Friesen told Forbes. Read more