Population Matters

Water, energy challenges in a thirstier world

Water, energy challenges in a thirstier world

Some key points from the UN press release for World Water Day 2014:

According to the 2014 World Water Development Report, which was released earlier in the week by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Water, some 768 million people do not have access to an improved source of water, and 2.5 billion do not have access to appropriate sanitation.

The report further reveals that places where people do not have adequate access to water largely coincide with those where people have no electric power.

It goes on to describe the various ways in which water and energy relate to each other, explaining, for example, that energy is needed for the collection, transportation and treatment of water, and that at the same time, water is required in the production and extraction of fossil fuels. Likewise, droughts make energy shortages worse, while lack of electricity reduces farmers’ ability to irrigate their fields.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) estimates that approximately 70 per cent of the world’s water resources are used for agriculture and warns that by 2025 two-thirds of the population could struggle to get access to this resource.

UNICEF estimates that 1,400 children under five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases due to lack of safe water, and adequate sanitation and hygiene.

UN press release

A key point not in the UN press release: Human numbers are growing by around 80 million a year, putting ever more pressure on resources of all kinds.

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