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Global water shortages are looming. Here is what can be done about them.

                                                                                                                                                          Photo: PixaBay

Spanish officials declare a state of emergency due to drought. Unprecedented water shortages hammer Mexico City. Severely parched Zambia warns of a national disaster.  

These are just some of the water-related headlines from the past few weeks. 

They are all symptoms of a world facing what experts call a water crisis. At least 50 per cent of the planet’s population – 4 billion people – deal with water shortfalls at least one month of the year. By 2025, 1.8 billion people are likely to face what the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calls “absolute water scarcity.” 

In the face of that, the United Nations Environment Assembly passed a resolution earlier this month that calls for countries to better manage aquatic ecosystems and strengthen their collaboration around water to support sustainable development. Drought resilience will also be a focus of World Environment Day 2024, hosted by Saudi Arabia. 

“Solutions are within reach,” says Leticia Carvalho, Principal Coordinator of the Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems Branch at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “But we need innovative thinking, greater political commitment and collaboration, and increased financing so that when it comes to water, no one is left behind.”  

World Water Day, on 22 March, will shine a spotlight on the global water crisis, which is being driven by a combination of factors, from climate change to leaky pipes. Ahead of that international observance, here is a look at seven things countries and individuals can do to stem water shortfalls. 

Read the full story on UNEP’s website

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