Facts and Figures

Demographics and consumption are the main pressure on water

  • Demographics and the increasing consumption that comes with rising per capita incomes are the most important drivers or pressure on water.
  • The world’s population is growing by about 80 million people a year, implying increased freshwater demand of about 64 billion cubic metres a year. Competition for water exists at all levels and is forecast to increase with demands for water in almost all countries.
  • With rapid population growth, water withdrawals have tripled over the last 50 years. This trend is explained largely by the rapid increase in irrigation development stimulated by food demand in the 1970s and by the continued growth of agriculture-based economies.
  • In 2030, 47% of world population will be living in areas of high water stress. Most population growth will occur in developing countries, mainly in regions that are already experiencing water stress and in areas with limited access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities.

Related themes: State of the Resource; Food and Agriculture.

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