…Future water demand, with or without climate change, will grow substantially. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the world will grow by 6.6 million to 8 million by 2025, and by up to 9.3 million in 2050, with nearly all growth occurring in developing countries lacking capacity to increase water supplies or improve delivery.
The world is also rapidly urbanizing, creating additional stress by concentrating demand in small areas. Currently, the developed world is more than 70 percent urbanized, whereas less than 40 percent of the population of Africa and
As needs grow, cities will intensify aquifer drawdown and divert more distant surface-water flows, leading to potential conflicts between sectors, people, regions and countries. One need only consider the approximately 2 million people displaced by China's Three Gorges Dam or the depleting aquifer that Israel currently shares with its neighbors to see the potential outcomes of such shifts.
…Water resources are in crisis, with or without climate change, because, barring unforeseen technological advances in desalination, Earth's freshwater supply is limited and geographically variable….The upper side of the Ladybower Dam, at the south end of Ladybower Reservoir, in Derbyshire, England. Photo by Dave Pape, who has generously released it into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons