Water is essen­tial for all life on Earth. While there is an abun­dance of water on Earth, about 97% of this is salt­wa­ter and is unsuit­able for drink­ing. Fur­ther­more, most of the remain­ing fresh water (3%) is frozen at the poles, con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed, or oth­er­wise undrink­able. As a result, less than 1% of all water on Earth is clean and eas­i­ly uti­lized by humans. [2]

In addi­tion to its scarci­ty, water also is uneven­ly dis­trib­uted. Due to a vari­ety of fac­tors, pri­mar­i­ly cli­mate, and lack of local infra­struc­ture, many regions suf­fer from sea­son­al or year-round water stress. Accord­ing to the UN, over one quar­ter of the world’s pop­u­la­tion (2.1 bil­lion people[3]) lack access to safe drink­ing water. Many oth­ers must trav­el great dis­tances to retrieve water from dwin­dling sources. [4]

Water stress is every­where, not just in devel­op­ing coun­tries. Cal­i­for­nia is in the midst of an major drought, and is pump­ing in much of its water from oth­er states. Large-scale restric­tions on water use are already being implemented.[5] As the cli­mate con­tin­ues to under­go changes, the region may see even more extreme drought con­di­tions in the future.

Categories: Water Scarcity

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