A Closer Look at the Water Shortage Crisis — and Efforts Underway to Combat It

Once a rarity, natural disasters — i.e., fires, droughts, and floods — affecting the world’s water supply have become commonplace. Thanks to climate change, these events are happening everywhere and will likely only get worse.

There were no shortage of these weather catastrophes in 2021. Commonly referred to as “compounding” disasters, these incidents take many different forms — i.e., a power outage quelling activity at a wastewater plant, causing rivers and streets to be flooded with raw sewage or a lack of rain causing electricity shortage in areas that depend on hydropower.

Leaders on both a world and community level are working hard to address this issue, before it’s too late.

2030 Water Resources Group

Launched in 2008 at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, the 2030 Water Resources Group was created to help bridge the gap between global water supply and demand by 2030. Since then, the movement has gained more than 900 private sector, government, and civil society partners.

As of June 2021, the 2030 WRG and its network have raised more than $893 million in financing for water-related programs, according to the WEF. Promising results have also been realized in several areas, including agricultural water efficiency, urban and industrial water management, wastewater treatment, and improved livelihoods for farmers.

About the World Water Shortage

If things don’t change, the gap between global water supply and demand is expected to reach 40% by 2030, according to the WEF. In fact, demand is already outpacing supply in many parts of the world.

In fact, 4 billion people — almost two-thirds of the word’s population — suffer from severe water scarcity at least one month per year, according to UNICEF. Even worse, half of the world’s population could be living in an area plagued by water scarcity by as early as 2025.

To help combat this issue, UNICEF is working to introduce new technologies that increase access to safe water and tackle the problems associated with water scarcity. Specifically, the social welfare agency is actively identifying new water resources, improving the efficiency of water resources, planning for urban scarcity, expanding technologies to ensure climate resilience, working with schools and communities to change behaviors, planning national water needs, and supporting the WASH sector.

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