Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Third of the World Faces Water Shortages

Water scarcity around the world was increasing faster than expected, with agriculture accounting for 80 percent of global water consumption, the world authority on fresh water management told a development conference in Canberra.

Globally, water usage has increased six fold in the past 100 years and would double again by 2050, driven mainly by irrigation and demands by agriculture, said Frank Rijsberman, the International Water Management Institute director-general.

We will not run out of bottled water any time soon but some countries have already run out of water to produce their own food. Without improvements in water productivity ... the consequences of this will be even more widespread water scarcity and rapidly increasing water prices.

A report on global water by environment group WWF released on Wednesday warned that rich nations, like Australia, were not immune to the coming water crisis. It said Sydney was using more water than could be replenished and Australia had among the highest water usage in the world. Each day, urban Australians use an average of 300 litres of water each, compared with Europeans who consume about 200 litres, while people in sub-Saharan Africa existed on 10-20 litres a day, said the report.


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