Water access security: a vital challenge to be met

According to the conclusions of the 2018 United Nations World Water Development Report* almost six billion people could be affected by drinking water scarcity by 2050.

Freshwater scarcity represents a major problem in today’s world** with a population of 7.7 billion people. All uses included, the global demand for water is approximately 4,600 km3 per year and is set to rise by 20% to 30% by 2050, reaching 5,500 to 6,000 km3 per year. 
At the same time, water resources are declining, particularly due to strong demographic and economic growth. These scarcity factors, which are compounded by accessibility and inequality issues, could become even worse over the coming decades. 
According to a recent publication in the journal Nature, pressure on the globe’s water systems will inevitably intensify by 2050, when the world population will be between 9.4 and 10.2 billion people (i.e. a 22 to 34% increase). Demographic growth will particularly escalate in developing countries, starting with Africa (+1.3 billion, or +108% of the current population), then Asia (+0.75 billion, i.e. +18% of the current population), where drinking water scarcity is already a major problem. 
As the World Bank — the largest multilateral source of financing for water in developing countries — reminds us, out of the 2.1 billion people who currently do not have safely managed water services, 844 million are not even equipped with a rudimentary drinking water supply system. Likewise, out of the 4.5 billion people who do not have safely managed sanitation services, 2.3 billion still lack basic sanitation facilities.
According to the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme, global water demand for agriculture is set to increase by 60% in order to be able to feed over nine billion humans in 2050 (agriculture already accounts for 70% of water use at present). If the various pressures on water resources continue, 40% of grain production worldwide will be endangered by 2050.
**47% of the global population, i.e. 3.6 billion people, currently live in regions affected by water scarcity for at least one month a year. According to the UN, 57% of the global population will be concerned by 2050. 


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