Large parts of Spain and Eastern Europe lack water, with less than 200 millimeters (7.87 inches) of fresh water available each year while demand is three to 10 times higher, the European Union reported.
Fresh water availability in Europe ranges from 10 millimeters a year to more than 500 millimeters, according to research based on 21 years of meteorological data published online by the EU’s Joint Research Centre today.
Worldwide water use rose sixfold in the past century, more than twice the rate of population growth, according to the JRC. Global warming is expected to account for about 20 percent of an increase in water scarcity this century, the center said.
“The equitable provision of adequate water resources for agriculture, industry and human consumption poses one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century,” the JRC wrote. “Before future challenges can be addressed, a thorough analysis of current water resources is needed.”
Africa has large areas with less than 200 millimeters of fresh water available per year, while areas in Morocco, equatorial Africa, southwest Ethiopia, eastern South Africa and Madagascar have more, the research showed.