Worrying trends on World Water Day

Today is World Water Day. The gist of it is that population growth, climate change, poverty, and inefficiencies waste a lot of it.

The U.S. intelligence community today issued a report warning that water shortages worldwide threaten to provoke conflict and even that terrorist groups can be expected to target water supplies. As the AP reports:

Drought, floods and a lack of fresh water may cause significant global instability and conflict in the coming decades, as developing countries scramble to meet demand from exploding populations while dealing with the effects of climate change, U.S. intelligence agencies said in a report released Thursday.

The LA Times reprinted this World Health Organization map showing the percentage of people in each country with access to an improved source of drinking water, such as a household connection or protected well, as of 2010. In some parts of Africa, less than half of people have access to safe drinking water. Blue is good, warm colors are not:

Population estimates of access to clean, safe water

The United States, not surprisingly, uses a lot of water. The average American consumer uses about five times as much as the average resident of DR Congo. Here’s an online calculator to let you estimate your own water usage.



About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.