Water scarcity becomes more pressing as population grows
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - September 5, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Water scarcity will become more pressing as the world’s population continues to grow while global demand for water could increase by 50 percent by 2030 if people do not change habits now, according to the United Nations agriculture agency.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said growing water scarcity will become more pressing as the world’s population continues to grow, their living standards increase, diets change and the effects of climate change intensify.

“If we don’t change our habits now, global demand for water could increase by 50 percent by 2030,” FAO said.

As the global population is estimated to reach 10 billion people by 2050, demand for food, and with it the demand for water, is expected to increase.

Water is essential for agricultural production and food security. It is the lifeblood of ecosystems, including forests, lakes and wetlands, on which both present and future food and nutritional security depends. 

“Yet, our freshwater resources are dwindling at an alarming rate. Growing water scarcity is now one of the leading challenges for sustainable development,” FAO said. 

FAO noted that the “water we eat” daily through the food we consume is much more than what we drink. 

“Did you know, depending on the diet, we need 2,000 to 5,000 litres of water to produce the food consumed daily by one person? Evidence suggests that two-thirds of the world population could be living in water-stressed countries by 2025 if current consumption patterns continue,” the agency added.

FAO pointed to four areas people can work to save water – agriculture, climate change, food loss and waste and food systems.

Agriculture, FAO said, is both a major cause and casualty of water scarcity. Farming accounts for almost 70 percent of all water withdrawals, and up to 95 percent in some developing countries. 

WATER SCARCITY
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