The world’s population, currently more than 6.5 billion, is expected to rise to nine billion by mid-century, placing further massive demands on water supplies that are already under strain.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the number of people living under severe water stress is expected to rise to 3.9 billion by 2030, amounting to nearly half the world’s population. Most of these will live in China and South Asia.
That tally does not include the impacts of climate change. Global warming may already be affecting weather patterns, changing the time and place where rain and snow fall, say some experts.
Around 2.5 billion people today do not have access to decent sanitation, defying one of the targets of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. (AFP)