Population Growth Exacerbating Water Scarcity According To World Bank

Population Growth Exacerbating Water Scarcity According To World Bank

Population Growth Exacerbating Water Scarcity According To World Bank

According to a new World Bank report, water scarcity is threatening shared prosperity, and it is a problem worsened by population growth, urbanisation & climate change.

The Water For Shared Prosperity report was released this week at the 10th World Water Forum in Bali. The report emphasises the broadening gap in global access to water resources, with implications for human and economic development worldwide. Despite water being a fundamental source of prosperity, the report found that millions have insufficient access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

The World Bank report highlights some alarming statistics.

In 2022, 2.2 billion people lacked access to safely managed drinking water services, while 3.5 billion lacked access to safely managed sanitation. Furthermore, disparities persist across regions, with rural areas suffering the most from inadequate access.

Low-income countries have seen regression in access to safe drinking water, with an additional 197 million people lacking access since 2000.

Eight out of ten people without regular access to basic drinking water and sanitation services live in rural areas, and little progress has been made in closing the rural-urban access gap in low-income countries over the last two decades.

Globally, over 800 million people are at high risk of drought, with twice that number living in flood-prone regions.

The report examined water-related inequalities on two levels: The disparity between countries, particularly between high-income and low-income countries, and the disparity between the wealthiest and poorest individuals within each country.

In addition to income disparities, the report also identified evidence of unequal access to water services among marginalised groups based on their gender, location, ethnicity, race, political beliefs, and other social identities.

Population growth and climate change are also contributing to increased water scarcity, with developing countries the most impacted. Between 2000 and 2021, developing countries experienced more severe droughts and longer-lasting floods than countries with advanced economies, which has long-term consequences for health, education, and economic welfare.

The report identified that children who grew up in homes with access to basic services such as running water and sanitation are not only more likely to obtain a better education for themselves, but also more likely to have children who achieve higher levels of education.

Water is also essential for manufacturing, food processing, and construction, and water scarcity has a significant impact on economic growth, job creation, and wages.

It is estimated that water-intensive sectors account for 56 per cent of jobs in low-income countries, but only 20 per cent in high-income countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where water-dependent jobs account for 62 per cent of total employment, low rainfall frequently results in significant negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

The management and distribution of shared water resources can also have an impact on social cohesion and increase the likelihood of conflict at the local, national, and international levels.

Water resources that are managed equitably and effectively can foster community trust, inclusivity, and cooperation, ultimately leading to peace. But if mismanaged, water can act as a threat multiplier, fuelling existing conflicts or contributing to new conflicts.

The World Bank’s Water For Shared Prosperity report can be VIEWED HERE.

Population growth exacerbating water scarcity according to World Bank
According to the latest World Bank report, in 2022, 2.2 billion people lacked access to safely managed drinking water services.

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