Water in 2030
Many areas of the world that are already experiencing a shortage of water resources will see their water issues worsen, causing hardships for millions. Here are 18 projections that attempt to predict the future of the world’s water supply.
By 2020 about 30-40% of the world will have water scarcity, and according to the researchers, climate change can make this even worse.
With only 7% of the world’s freshwater, China plans to produce 807 million gallons a day from desalination by 2020, roughly quadruple the country’s current capacity.
By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions.
There will be about 1 billion more mouths to feed worldwide by 2025 and global agriculture alone will require another 1 trillion cubic meters of water per year (equal to the annual flow of 20 Niles or 100 Colorado Rivers).
UN studies project that 30 nations will be water scarce in 2025, up from 20 in 1990.
According to the U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment of Global Water Security, by 2030 humanity’s “annual global water requirements” will exceed “current sustainable water supplies” by 40%.
The global middle class will surge from 1.8 to 4.9 billion by 2030, which will result in a significant increase in freshwater consumption.
Water demand in India will reach 1.5 trillion cubic meters in 2030 while India’s current water supply is only 740 billion cubic meters.
If current usage trends don’t change, the world will have only 60 percent of the water it needs in 2030.
By 2035, the world’s energy consumption will increase by 35 percent, which in turn will increase water use by 15 percent according to the International Energy Agency.
By the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population and keep the current energy and power solutions going if we continue doing what we are doing today.
The number of people living in river basins under severe water stress is projected to reach 3.9 billion by 2050, totaling over 40% of the world’s population.
Compared to today, five times as much land is likely to be under “extreme drought” by 2050.
Feeding 9 billion people by 2050, will require a 60 percent increase in agricultural production and a 15 percent increase in water withdrawals.
Water demand is projected to grow by 55 percent by 2050 (including a 400-percent rise in manufacturing water demand).
By 2050, 1 in 5 developing countries will face water shortages (UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization).
Between 2050 and 2100, there is an 85 percent chance of a drought in the Central Plains and Southwestern United States lasting 35 years or more.
If farmers in Kansas keep irrigating at present rates, 69 percent of the Ogallala Aquifer will be gone in 50 years.
Water is used around the world for the production of electricity, but new research results show that there will not be enough water in the world to meet demand by 2040 if the energy and power situation does not improve before then.
Two new reports that focus on the global electricity water nexus have just been published. Three years of research show that by the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population and keep the current energy and power solutions going if we continue doing what we are doing today. It is a clash of competing necessities, between drinking water and energy demand. Behind the research is a group of researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark, Vermont Law School and CNA Corporation in the US.
WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT 2022
In most countries, electricity is the biggest source of water consumption because the power plants need cooling cycles in order to function. The only energy systems that do not require cooling cycles are wind and solar systems, and therefore one of the primary recommendations issued by these researchers is to replace old power systems with more sustainable wind and solar systems.
The research has also yielded the surprising finding that most power systems do not even register how much water is being used to keep the systems going.
By 2020 the water issue affects 30-40% of the world
“It’s a huge problem that the electricity sector do not even realise how much water they actually consume. And together with the fact that we do not have unlimited water resources, it could lead to a serious crisis if nobody acts on it soon,” says Professor Benjamin Sovacool from Aarhus University.
Combining the new research results with projections about water shortage and the world population, it shows that by 2020 many areas of the world will no longer have access to clean drinking water. In fact, the results predict that by 2020 about 30-40% of the world will have water scarcity, and according to the researchers, climate change can make this even worse.
“This means that we’ll have to decide where we spend our water in the future. Do we want to spend it on keeping the power plants going or as drinking water? We don’t have enough water to do both,” says Professor Benjamin Sovacool.
How to solve the problem?
In the reports, the researchers emphasise six general recommendations for decision-makers to follow in order to stop this development and handle the crisis around the world:
Improve energy efficiency
Better research on alternative cooling cycles
Registering how much water power plants use
Massive investments in wind energy
Massive investments in solar energy
Abandon fossil fuel facilities in all water stressed places (which means half the planet)
Close up on France, the US, China and India
The team of researchers conducted their research focusing on four different case studies in France, the United States, China and India respectively. Rather than reviewing the situation on a national level, the team narrowed in and focused on specific utilities and energy suppliers. The first step was identifying the current energy needs, and then the researchers made projections as far as 2040, and most of the results were surprising. All four case studies project that it will be impossible to continue to produce electricity in this way and meet the water demand by 2040.
“If we keep doing business as usual, we are facing an insurmountable water shortage — even if water was free, because it’s not a matter of the price. There will no water by 2040 if we keep doing what we’re doing today. There’s no time to waste. We need to act now,” concludes Professor Benjamin Sovacool.