Droughts in Somalia. Water rationing in Rome. Flooding in Jakarta and Harvey-battered Houston. It doesn’t take a hydrologist to realize that there is a growing global water crisis.
Each August, water experts, industry innovators, and researchers gather in Stockholm for World Water Week to tackle the planet’s most pressing water issues. Read more
Many people point to renewable energy as the greatest threat facing fossil fuel power plants. New WRI research finds that the real threat may be water.
When we overlaid areas of current water scarcity with existing power plant infrastructure, we found that 47 percent of the world’s thermal power plant capacity—mostly coal, natural gas and nuclear—and 11 percent of hydroelectric capacity are located in highly water-stressed areas. That’s a problem because both thermal and hydroelectric power are highly dependent on water to produce electricity. Read more
Think about your “water footprint,” the water you use day-to-day. Drinking, brushing your teeth or doing laundry are things that probably come to mind. But the truth is that people eat way more water than they drink or use for household tasks. While the average person drinks 2 to 4 liters of water a day, it requires an astonishing 2,000 to 5,000 liters of water to produce the food that the average person eats each day!
Producing food that the average person eats in a day requires 2,000 to 5,000 liters of water.
Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of Earth’s freshwater withdrawals each year. As climate change exacerbates water stress and populations grow, rivers and lakes may not be able to keep up with demand. Here are five ways companies, farmers and consumers can lessen the food system’s impact on water: Read more
Once-unthinkable water crises are becoming commonplace.
Reservoirs in Chennai, India’s sixth-largest city, are nearly dry right now. Last year, residents of Cape Town, South Africa narrowly avoided their own “Day Zero” water shut-off. And the year before that, Rome rationed water to conserve scarce resources.
The reasons for these crises go far deeper than drought: Through new hydrological models, WRI found that water withdrawals globally have more than doubled since the 1960s due to growing demand – and they show no signs of slowing down.
New data from WRI’s Aqueduct tools reveal that 17 countries – home to one-quarter of the world’s population—face “extremely high” levels of baseline water stress, where irrigated agriculture, industries and municipalities withdraw more than 80% of their available supply on average every year. Forty-four countries, home to one-third of the world, face “high” levels of stress, where on average more than 40% of available supply is withdrawn every year. (Check your country’s water stress level in the full rankings at the end of this post.) Such a narrow gap between supply and demand leaves countries vulnerable to fluctuations like droughts or increased water withdrawals, which is why we’re seeing more and more communities facing their own “Day Zeros” and other crises. Read more