Study: Water Scarcity Faced by Four Billion PeopleTim Kennedy (Author) Published Date : Feb 15, 2016 22:28 ET
Fresh water is already scarce and is becoming scarcer. In 2015, water crisis was placed as the top for risks the planet was facing by World Economic Forum.
However, authors from a just published study say that studies done previously underestimated how severe the water scarcity was across the globe.
Rather than impacting close to two billion as previously suggested by researchers, it is closer to 4 billion people impacted, said researchers from the Netherlands.
Authors of the new study said previous research used annual averages, which made their counts quite different from theirs.
Researchers said the studies on scarcity of water done previously based on a full year, which hides the variability within one year.
To understand the scarcity of water on a worldwide level, researchers assessed the blue water scarcity, which is the quantity of freshwater used and not returned monthly.
However, the four billion affected do not face a scarcity of water for 12 months each year, noted researchers, instead it is more like a single month per year.
When averaging for the entire year, the one month is missed where a huge number of people are facing a water scarcity.
Prior to that, researchers only thought that small numbers of people faced the water scarcity. However, the larger population s couple of difficult months skewed the overall annual average.
The authors said the truth regarding the impact of water scarcity is important because consumers who are informed are more apt to demand more transparency over water consumption as well as pollution.
The new study also broke down a barrier between the developed and less developed countries that suggested instead that water scarcity might be more related to levels of population.
In the study, researchers suggested that China and India, the most populated two countries in the world are home to 50% of the 4 billion people who are going through water scarcity.
Populations of significance that are facing severe runs of water scarcity included Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico and the U.S., which are five out of the top ten most populated countries globally.
Study: Water Scarcity Faced by Four Billion People