Water Scarcity and Droughts are major Challenges ahead of us
Fresh water reserves account for approximately 2.5% of global water resources but only 0.6% of total natural fresh water resources are currently usable by humans (Re.UN World Water Development Report). It should be noted that demand for fresh water could exceed reliable supply by about 50% worldwide by 2030 (Re.Sustainalytics). Today, nearly one fourth of the world’s population is living in conditions of serious water shortage (Re.WRD). Many African and Middle East countries but also India are amongst the most afflicted by water scarcity. A few European countries are also becoming more and more affected by droughts. And this major challenge will become more pressing as the world’s population continues to grow. It must be stressed that we need 2000 to 5000 litres of water to produce the food consumed daily by one person (Re.UN-FAO). Farming accounts for almost 70% of all water withdrawals. Agriculture will have to undergo a considerable change. And of course, better water-saving agricultural practices include the use of food and feed crops which have a smaller water footprint. And also if the situation allows, a greater use of rainwater rather than irrigation. Moreover, water quality is also deteriorating. Pollution has worsened in almost every river in Africa, Asia and Latin-America. However, agricultural activities are not the only activities contributing to water pollution. Indeed, about 80% of industrial and municipal wastewater is discharged without treatment. Finally, all those who drink and use water, that is to say all of us, will have to use this scarce resource more sensibly.