Population Growth and the Global Water Shortage

Earlier this year we welcomed the 7 billionth person into the world. Although this is a great feat, the rapid population growth across the world is putting a strain on our supplies. It is predicted that by 2027 there will be 8 billion people living on the planet. 90% of those will be in developing countries where the current population doesn’t have sustainable access to water. This sudden increase in population is going to affect water access hugely. In the next 12 years water shortages will increase by 50% across these developing countries. This means that the accessible water in these countries needs to double before this happens.

Food sources are going to be massively effected by this shortage. Currently to produce 1kg of rice you will need 3,500 litres of water, whereas 1kg of beef needs 15,000 litres. It is clear that by 2050 there won’t be enough water to produce food for the world’s population.

In America, there is a huge concern for the Ogallala Aquifer, which stretches across South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. It is no longer being recharged by the Rockies and rainfall in the region is only 30-60 cm per year. Now consider that Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are three of the leading grain producing states in America. Will there be enough water for these crops to grow in the future?

Another problem in the US is that so much water is being used, rivers are drying up. Just take a look at the Mississippi river now and compare it to 10 years ago.

Climate change is another factor contributing to water shortage. The Earth is getting warmer and as such, wet areas are becoming wetter and dry areas are becoming drier.

So what does all this mean?  We are running out of water fast.