Today we've saved plastic bottles from landfill

Latest Articles

Bringing back the watercooler chat

Read more

What Are the Benefits of a Water Dispenser?

Read more

Plastic Free July encourages us all to reduce plastic waste

Read more

World Oceans Day 2023

Read more

World Environment Day 2023

Read more

What are the solutions to reduce water scarcity?

How people are resolving to reduce water scarcity

Seventy percent of the surface of our planet is covered by water, so it’s easy to assume there’s plenty of it to drink, cook, and bathe with. It’s time we all threw that assumption out with, well, the bathwater.

Less than three percent of the water covering the earth is freshwater, the majority of which isn’t accessible, leaving people in many parts of the world to rely on extremely limited water resources.

Water Scarcity Facts

Main Causes:

  • Climate change
  • Pollution
  • Population growth

Main Effects:

  • Lack of access to safe and clean drinking water
  • Reduced food production
  • Heightened conflict
  • Higher cost of living


Strategies to overcome water scarcity

  • Reducing water use
  • Increasing water storage in reservoirs
  • Desalinizing seawater

Water scarcity is a predominantly man-made problem, which needs a man-made solution. Read on to learn more about water scarcity solutions, plus some of the exciting ways people are reducing it.


What is water scarcity?

Water scarcity is when demand for water outweighs the supply of water. It is an increasingly prominent problem as water stress grows due to factors such as climate change, water pollution and increased demand. Water scarcity is an issue for people across all continents and in developed and developing countries.

There are two main categories of water scarcity, physical water scarcity and economic water scarcity. Physical water scarcity refers to a lack of available water resources relative to its demand. Economic water scarcity refers to limited water access resulting from insufficient financial resources to access, store, and/or distribute water to homes, business, and so on.

According to a 2016 study, at least two-thirds of the world’s population— nearly 4 billion people — already live with severe water scarcity for at least one month each year. In addition to this, 500 million people live in regions where humans consume water at twice the rate it is replenished by rain, particularly in China and India. For those regions that fall into this category, severe water shortages are all but guaranteed in the future. With water scarcity ranked amongst the biggest risks to humanity.


What causes water scarcity?


What are the consequences of water scarcity?

There are 6 main consequences of water stress and scarcity, including:

1. Lack of access to safe, clean drinking water

Every year 842,000 people die from diarrhoea caused by consuming unsafe drinking water or insufficient sanitation practices. Eighty percent of the illnesses in developing countries result from unhealthy water and/or sanitation systems, and one out of four deaths of children under the age of five are the result of water-related illnesses.

2. Threatened ecosystems

The rapid disappearance of wetlands reduces wildlife habitat and causes the loss of water filtration, storm protection, and flood control services typically proffered by wetlands. Collectively, the world has lost 50 percent of all its wetlands since 1900, and nowhere is immune: Even places like California, Florida, and Louisiana have witnessed high rates of wetlands disappearance.

3. Unhealthy economies and increased poverty

When water is hard to access, people must spend long periods of time collecting water. This means people are not able to attend school or work, impacting both individuals and their countries. The World Bank estimates that water scarcity can result in GDP losses of as much as 14 percent.

4. Decreased food access and higher food costs

As water becomes scarcer, it also becomes more expensive. This increases the cost of producing food crops, which then increases the cost of food in local grocery stores and markets. For example, a ten percent rise in the cost of water could increase the production cost of a single orange by as much as thirty percent. This simultaneously makes farming more difficult and decreases access to healthy food, which in turn has an impact on public health.

5. Heightened conflict

History shows that when food prices spike, so do rates of violence and social conflict. This makes sense when you consider that starving people are more willing to break with social convention if it means getting something to eat.

6. Higher costs for clothing, electronics and other consumer goods

The fashion and electronics industries are notorious for their astronomical rates of water use. As water gets more expensive, it could increase the difficulty in accessing clothing, phones, and more. Check out are articles on the impacts of water stress on industry and business to learn more.


6 strategies to combat water scarcity

There is some good news. In fact, one study found that water scarcity can be significantly reduced by 2050 if we commit to making big, yet practical changes like the ones listed below.

1. Developing water filtration systems

It’s one thing to have access to water, and it’s another to have access to water that is safe to drink. Effective water filtration systems help ensure freshwater is safe to use. That’s one of the reasons why companies worldwide are committed to developing sophisticated water filtration systems that produce purified water free from bacteria, microbes, and other contaminants, and bringing this clean drinking water to as many schools, hospitals, workplaces, and homes as possible.

2. Reduce your water usage

It takes every community in the world to reduce the threat of water scarcity. Now more than ever, the world needs water stewards in all forms.

You can reduce your water usage by taking shorter showers, installing low-flow toilets, and collecting rainwater for garden use at home. You can also reuse greywater and eradicate leaks or invest in sustainable energy and water reduction initiatives.

3. Protecting wetlands

Remember when we mentioned that wetlands are natural water filtration systems? Well, that means they have a big role in collecting and purifying water. Wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate, but conserving wetlands could have a major payoff. Currently, an international treaty called the Ramsar Convention has helped protect more than 2,000 wetlands. More aggressive conservation measures are required if we want wetlands to assist our efforts to reduce water scarcity.

4. Improving irrigation efficiency

Industrial agriculture is one of the biggest drains on water resources. Simply switching from flood irrigation systems to sprinklers or drip irrigation systems could help the agricultural sector save a large amount of water. When combined with better soil management practices such as no-till or limited tillage and mulching, which reduces evaporation from the soil, more efficient irrigation systems can significantly reduce water usage.

5. Increasing water storage in reservoirs

Climate change increases the frequency of droughts and floods. By expanding the reservoir capacity, we can capture and storage floodwater, to prevent its loss to the ocean, where it becomes salinized and more difficult to treat. This stored water can be used to provide water during times of drought.

6. Desalinating seawater

Desalinization involves converting seawater into freshwater safe for drinking, cooking, bathing, and more. The biggest downside is that desalinization requires huge amounts of energy; it’s important that these energy sources be sustainable so they don’t contribute to more water scarcity. Sydney has recently enlarged their desalinization plant to cope with increasing droughts.

While the topic of water scarcity may feel daunting, there’s a lot of hope. The future of our planet and its water resources is not written in stone. If we come together to invest in reducing water scarcity, we can help ensure people are able to rely on healthy water sources for decades to come.

By Laura Newcomer in partnership with Waterlogic and Ghergich & Co