The world’s population is still rising and will reach 10 billion by 2050. This could lead to further exploitation of natural resources for agriculture; 70% of fresh water is used in that field currently. And as if that weren’t enough, climate change is making arid and desert areas encroach on more of the world. These three trends alone explain why the spotlight is always on our most precious asset. The data speak volumes. Of the 37 biggest aquifers in the world, 21 are shrinking. And it’s happening everywhere, be it in China, the United States or Italy, as a NASA study shows.
The level of the Ganges basin continues to fall by 6.3 cm every year, as India’s ever-rising population draw too much on it for their farming. Due to global warming in China, the glacier on the Tibetan plateau is no longer a sustainable source of water for the Yangtze and Yellow rivers. Their waters have shrunk by 14% since the 1990s. The picture is disturbing. It points to an immediate future where less and less water is readily available. It’s not easy to see how this can happen in a planet whose surface is 70% water, and indeed where water has always been present and stable.