6 Min Read
Written By
Ms. Niharika Wakchaure
Civil Engineer

Water is vital for all known life forms. After its recognition as the primal resource and guarantee of survival, human settlements grew in areas that are rich with water, leading to an interaction between people and resources. It further was influenced by the factors such as demography, landscape, economy, etc. To keep this interaction under control, various management systems were adopted that were adaptable to the changing needs and environment. Nevertheless, globalization, population explosion, changes in technology and accessibility to information along with urbanization have been constantly impacting the existing water management systems.


From the water available on the Earth, 97.5% of it is saltwater whereas the remaining 2.5% is freshwater out of which the only amount accessible is about 0.5%. Even after being a renewable resource, the supply of freshwater has been observed to be decreasing all over the world.

As per the conclusions of the State of the World Report by the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA (2001), there has been a significant increase in population, which is over three times for the past 70 years, thus elevating the water usage six-fold. The major contributors to this increase are irrigation and industrial development. Water is non-substitutable which defines the limitations to sustainable development in the near future. Hence, controlling, managing and rationalizing the usage of freshwater resources is a necessity.

Water Scarcity

The increase in withdrawal of water is affected by the water demand, improper management and free use of water (even though it is a good cause). A holistic assessment of water access (including water pollution), and its usage has to be done to preserve and conserve the water. When it comes to water scarcity, it is an indicator that the water demand is greater than its amount. Even today, the increasing water demand is the foremost component for water scarcity. Moreover, water quality is also a contributor to water scarcity. So, if the quality of water is poor it will ultimately limit its usability.

Current Scenario

In today’s world with a population of about 7.9 billion, together with reducing water resources and increasing pollution driven by inappropriate economic principles are contributing to freshwater scarcity. This strain on water systems will gradually increase by the year 2050 to about 34% aggravated by unequal growth in population irrespective of the local resources. According to UNICEF, almost two-thirds of the world’s population (4 billion people) face water scarcity issues at least for a month each year. By the year 2025, half of the world’s population might be living in locations with water scarcity.

Taking a note of the annual renewable water resources which were estimated to be about 54,730 billion cubic meters per year (2017), the rate of water resource development is exceeding due to the high rate of population growth. But as water resources are indispensable, there is a necessity for humankind to be aware and understand the need for the efficient usage of water and maintain it to an extent that is lesser than the renewable rate of water resources.

When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water

Benjamin Franklin
Water quality is also a contributor to water scarcity.
By the year 2025, half of the world’s population might be living in locations with water scarcity.

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