Why Water Matters

Water is integral to our existence. However, despite three quarters of the earth's surface covered by water, only a fraction of the global population has access to a consistent source of WHO-standard potable water supply.

 

The global water stress and scarcity situation is being played out by a number of secular trends: the increase in global population and its subsequent effect on demand for food production that, in turn, drives agricultural water demand. Water use-intensive industries like mining and power are adding further stress to the demand curve, particularly in countries without near-universal potable water coverage. Moreover, issues like regional aquifer depletion and the affects of pollution-contaminated groundwater sources are being having to be addressed for the first time in many countries.

 

Water Requirements: Agricultural vs Human Consumption

 


Source: UN, 2007

 

While the gap in global potable water coverage is expected to continue to 2025, a number of forces are beginning to bear positive affects for the global water situation. Environmentally sustainable water treatment technology and alternative energy solutions are now mature enough to commercialize, enabling fast deployment in disaster-hit areas. These also, through programs like the Millennium Development Goals, allow countries with low water coverage to attack their lowest common denominator in terms of per capita water consumption, typically in rural areas where the a large-scale water treatment plan is uneconomic.