Confronting the Global Water Crisis

Around the world, demand for fresh water doubles every 20 years, owing to increasing population and affluence, while pollution, climate change, and seawater intrusion are diminishing supplies of fresh water at similar rates. But a global fresh water crisis can be avoided by embracing several key technical and managerial adaptations.

CAMBRIDGE – Around the world, demand for fresh water doubles every 20 years, owing to increasing population and affluence. Yet pollution, climate change, and seawater intrusion are diminishing supplies of fresh water at similar rates. So, is a global fresh water crisis looming?

Fortunately, the situation appears to be less alarming. This is not to deny that the supply of fresh water is getting tight. Left unattended, major disruptions for human society could occur.

Many argue that water is different from resources such as oil, because there are often no substitutes for water in most uses (particularly growing food). Moreover, water is an essentially fixed resource, albeit one that renews itself every year.

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