Washington (AFP) March 28, 2011
More than one billion urban residents will face serious water shortages by 2050 as climate change worsens effects of urbanization, with Indian cities among the worst hit, a study said Monday.
The shortage threatens sanitation in some of the world's fastest-growing cities but also poses risks for wildlife if cities pump in water from outside, said the article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study found that under current urbanization trends, by mid-century some 993 million city dwellers will live with less than 100 liters (26 gallons) each day of water each -- roughly the amount that fills a personal bathtub -- which authors considered the daily minimum.
Adding on the impact of climate change, an additional 100 million people will lack what they need for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing and toilet use.
"Don't take the numbers as destiny. They're a sign of a challenge," said lead author Rob McDonald of The Nature Conservancy, a private environmental group based near Washington.
"There are solutions to getting those billion people water. It's just a sign that a lot more investment is going to be needed, either in infrastructure or in water use efficiency," he said.
Currently, around 150 million people fall below the 100-liter threshold for daily water use. The average American has 376 liters delivered a day, although actual use varies widely depending on region, McDonald said.
But the world is undergoing an unprecedented urban shift as rural people in India, China and other growing nations flock to cities.
India's six biggest cities -- Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad -- are among those most affected by water shortages. The study forecast that 119 million people would face water shortages in 2050 in the Ganges River delta and plain alone.
With an annual monsoon, India does not lack water. But it struggles to preserve the water from the wet season to the dry season, McDonald said.
West Africa, which sees some of the world's heaviest rainfall, will also face water shortages in cities such as Lagos, Nigeria, and Cotonou in Benin, the study found.
The study warned of threats to ecosystems if developing nations take water from elsewhere. India's Western Ghats region, a potential source for thirsty cities, is home to nearly 300 fish species, 29 percent of which are found nowhere else, it said.
"If cities are essentially drinking rivers dry, that has really bad effects on the fish and the reptiles and everything else in the river," McDonald said.
Instead, the study recommended reforms to agriculture -- usually the top consumer of water -- and improved efficiency, as nearly half of the water in some poor countries is wasted due to leaks.
"There is a lot of potential for increase in water-use efficiency in the agriculture sector, or indeed in the residential sector, to solve most of this challenge," McDonald said.
The study said there would be a need for international funding to help poorer nations "to ensure that urban residents can enjoy their fundamental right to adequate drinking water."
UN-led talks last year on climate change agreed on practicalities to set up a global fund to assist poor nations most hit by climate change, with a target of 100 billion dollars a year starting in 2020.
Other cities forecast by the study to face a water crunch include Manila, Beijing, Lahore and Tehran.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
Report Uncovers Key Trends In Water Resources Research
Amsterdam. Holland (SPX) Mar 25, 2011
The report "Confronting the Global Water Crisis through Research - 2010", carried out by Elsevier, reveals the increasingly international and strategic nature of water resources research. Examining major trends in water research at the international, national and institutional levels, the report highlights the escalation in the article output of countries conducting water resources researc ... read more
Cost of disasters tripled in 2010: Swiss Re|
Aid workers praise Myanmar quake response
Japan on 'maximum alert' over nuclear plant
Tsunami-triggered toilet paper crisis hits Tokyo
Nano-Bricks May Help Build Better Packaging To Keep Foods Fresher Longer
Smartphone market to grow 50 percent in 2011: IDC
Calm urged as radiation spreads across Asia
Lenovo launches 'LePad' tablet in China
Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050: study
ADB and OPEC Fund aid Sierra Leone water project
The Pacific Oyster Is In Sweden To Stay
Developing Strategies In A Desert Watershed That Sustain Regional Water Supplies
Antarctic Icebergs Play A Previously Unknown Role In Global Carbon Cycle, Climate
Study Sheds Light On How Heat Is Transported To Greenland Glaciers
Large-Scale Assessment Of Arctic Ocean Show Significant Increase In Freshwater Content
Study: 2011 arctic ice extent is down
Study Predicts Large Regional Changes In Farmland Area
Managing Grazing Lands With Fire Improves Profitability
Sweden responds to EU criticism of wolf hunt
China 'to pull dairy licences in safety drive'
Namibia declares state of emergency after flooding
Two Koreas in talks on potential volcano threat
Japan death toll tops 10,000: Kyodo
Reactor fear at Japan plant as toll tops 10,000
Sudan president heads to Qatar amid Darfur violence
Burkina Faso soldiers freed from prison after protests
Passions stirred, Gbagbo backers "ready to die" for I.Coast
African Union demands 'immediate' halt to Libya attacks
Research Proves No 2 Of Us Are Alike, Even Identical Twins
Researchers Detail How Neurons Decide How To Transmit Information
Rare gene defect affects both pain, smell
A New Evolutionary History Of Primates
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|