5 Facts About Water Scarcity
Important Water Scarcity Facts
- Less than 1 percent of the Earth’s water is fit for consumption.
- Water conservation, use and quality affect whether a country is able to meet demands.
- Worldwide, water scarcity now affects one in three people.
- 20 percent of the world’s population walks an average of 3.5 miles a day to get drinking water
- If you could put all the world’s water into a gallon jug, the fresh water available for use would equal about one tablespoon.
THE REALITY OF WATER SCARCITY
Approximately 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, and with a number like that, it’s easy to misunderstand the reality of water scarcity. But the truth is, less than 1 percent of the Earth’s water is unpolluted, potable and fit for consumption.² So while our continents may be surrounded with water, sustainable practices and water conservation have never been more important to combat the very real threat of water scarcity.
Availability Versus Usability
Unfortunately, plenty of rainfall or an abundance of naturally occurring freshwater does not mean that an area can’t experience water scarcity. How water is conserved and used in the community, and the quality of the water available, are all factors that affect whether there is enough water to meet the demands of households, farms, industry and the environment.¹ Without proper rainwater collection methods, including testing and treatment, even areas that experience abundant rainfall may have periods of water scarcity.
Rainwater and fresh groundwater are not necessarily fit for use without treatment, making these seemingly available resources difficult to access. MECO works to develop both effective and sustainable water purification systems because the ability to test and treat water for all uses, not just consumption, is crucial. Without proper tests and treatments, an area’s inhabitants or farming industries risk consuming or using polluted water sources.
Necessity Versus Safety
As population, urbanization and water usage continues to rise, demand for water continues to grow and the supply cannot keep up. In fact, water scarcity now affects one in three people on every continent across the globe.¹ That means worldwide, nearly a billion people have limited access to clean water. One-fifth of the world’s population walks an average of 3.5 miles a day to collect suitable drinking water. These communities rely on water that is not safe, because the infrastructure does not exist to collect and treat water from aquifers.¹ In those situations, bathing and cleaning can’t be done properly, because they must use water that has not been purified. If they try to store water in their homes, they risk creating an environment of contamination and mosquito breeding, which leads to the spread of diseases.¹
Proactivity Versus Immediacy
For those who don’t regularly face water scarcity, it’s almost hard to believe that this resource could ever run out. After all, the Earth is covered in water! But the reality is, if you could put all the world’s water into a gallon jug, the freshwater available for use would equal about one tablespoon.² Conservation should not just be seen as a proactive movement for the future, but as a necessary part of life today. When you make water a priority, you make people’s lives a priority. Consider the outlook of water scarcity in the not-so-far future.
The Future of Water Scarcity
- 140+ million people may soon become “climate migrants,” due to floods, droughts, and water scarcity.5
- While nearly 70 percent of the world is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is fresh.6
- By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions.6
- It is expected that water demand in India and China alone — the world’s two most populous countries – will exceed supplies in less than 20 years.7
Sustainable water practices can be exercised on an individual level, but they should be prioritized on the industrial front as well. MECO has been 100% dedicated to providing sustainable water purification technologies for 90 years and counting. It’s more than a commitment to us, it’s a mindset and everything we do. Our innovative technologies make water accessible now and for years to come.
Discover more about MECO’s commitment to Where Tomorrow Gets Its Water.™
- “10 Facts about Water Scarcity.” Cape Town Rain and Grey Water Use, 18 Oct. 2010, www.capewatersolutions.co.za/2010/10/18/10-facts-about-water-scarcity/.
- “Amazing Facts About Water.” Water Facts, ESP Water Products, https://www.espwaterproducts.com/water-facts/.
- “Towards a Way to Improve the Situation” Water Crisis, World Water Council http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/en/water-crisis
- “Water Scarcity” Science Daily https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/water_scarcity.htm
- “143 Million People May Soon Become Climate Migrants” National Geographic https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/climate-migrants-report-world-bank-spd/
- “Freshwater Crisis” National Geographic https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/freshwater-crisis/
- “World confronts serious water crisis, former heads of government and experts warn in new report” InterAction Council https://www.interactioncouncil.org/media-centre/world-confronts-serious-water-crisis-former-heads-government-and-experts-warn-new