What are the causes of water scarcity?
There are many factors that cause water scarcity, as it has recently been the subject of many studies. First on the list will be climate change. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that the majority of the Middle East countries and North Africa (MENA) will be one of the regions of the world hardest hit by climate change in the next few years, especially due to increased heat and aridity.
In the last 50 years, the human population has more than doubled whereas MENA’s population more than doubled between 1970 and 2001, rising from 173 million people to 386 million people. As the population grows water demand increases; the population growth in the MENA region alone has contributed to reducing the average amount of fresh water available per capita by more than half. Accordingly, there has been a corresponding growth in industrialization and economic development which also increases water usage, water ecosystem transformation, and a huge loss of biodiversity. Currently, over 41% of the global population lives in river basins that are experiencing water stress. A growing population also means an increased need for shelter, food, and clothing putting additional pressure on water supplies in the production of digestible commodities and energy.
The fastest population growth is occurring among the Middle East countries and North Africa (MENA), which are the least equipped economically and technologically to address the challenges of water scarcity. Climate change, coupled with water mismanagement and overconsumption, are contributing to water scarcity across many parts of the globe
Don't let the water run in the sink, our life's on the brink.
Climate change is disrupting weather patterns, leading to severe weather events, unpredictable water availability, exacerbating water scarcity, and contaminating water supplies. Such impacts can significantly affect the quantity and quality of water that agriculture needs to survive. Because water scarcity highly affects agriculture, it has a huge impact on food production. Without water, farmers do not have a means of watering their crops and, therefore, providing food for the fast-growing population.
Agriculture, which accounts for about 70% of global water withdrawals, is constantly competing with domestic, industrial and environmental uses for a scarce water supply.
The International Water Management Institute
Agriculture is a very thirsty endeavor. The extensive withdrawal of water for agriculture from rivers, lakes, and aquifers results in limited supplies for other human needs, such as drinking, washing, cooking, and sanitation. According to the UN World Water Development Report, the average supply of water per person will drop by a third in the next two decades.
Agriculture remains the largest user of water. For this reason, the water that a person consumes every day in food products is much larger than the volume of water that a person drinks. Of all the freshwater withdrawn for human use, industrial and domestic uses account for 20 and 10 percent respectively, while agriculture consumes on average about 70 percent and much more in some locations. Moreover, by 2030 the global average agricultural water withdrawal for irrigation itself is expected to increase by about 14 percent.