Water consumption has increased rapidly in the last hundred years. Yet, fresh water is not an unlimited resource. The world faces serious water-related challenges, with the prospect of increasing demand and declining supply. Population growth, affluence, pollution and climate change are all seen as causes. In addition to water scarcity, flooding is predicted to become increasingly problematic and damaging in coming years.
In this briefing, the different causes for water scarcity are considered in more detail. Over-usage, pollution and leakages affect water quality and quantity directly, but climate change and urbanisation create great problems as well — problems with far-reaching consequences for humanity, wildlife and our environment.
We conclude that technological developments and sustainable life choices can reduce water consumption levels per capita, but that these ultimately will not be sufficient. As population stabilisation is the only permanent solution for the problem, it is important that the government incorporates policies that promote it in its water strategy.