More than a billion people around the world have no reasonable access to fresh water. Most of the diseases in developing countries are associated with water, causing millions of deaths each year (a child is estimated to die from diarrhoea every 17 seconds).
Given all this, we have to come up with a solution to global water use fast, before water scarcity becomes a major cause of international conflict.
The vast majority of our water is found in the oceans. Only 3 per cent is fresh and can be used for farming and drinking, and in any case most of this is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. That means just 0.5 per cent of the Earth’s water is accessible and of this, more than two thirds is used in agriculture.
If we’re going to cut back on our water usage, we have to focus on making our farms more sustainable and efficient. With the global population still growing, we’ll need to produce ever more crops using less water, in less agricultural land.
Worldwide, just over a third (37 per cent) of the land that could be used to grow crops is currently used. Potential farmland is available, but it’s not developed due a lack of infrastructure, forest cover or conservation. A lack of land isn’t really a big problem as of now – but water is.