The majority of the planet’s predicted 9 billion people faces “severe” pressure for water within two generations, according to a declaration today by 500 scientists.
“Millions of individual local human actions add up and reverberate into larger regional, continental and global changes that have drastically changed water flows and storage,” the researchers said, in a statement e-mailed by the Global Water System Project, based at the University of Bonn in Germany. “Mismanagement, overuse and climate change pose long-term threats to human well-being.”
The United Nations estimates that about 1.2 billion people already face water scarcity, with another 500 million approaching that level. Another 1.6 billion people live in nations that lack the necessary infrastructure to extract water from aquifers and reservoirs, the global body says. That’s set to get worse, according to today’s declaration.
The researchers called on governments to step up research into water management, train “the next generation” of water scientists and stimulate innovation in developing technology to better use water.