Water is life
We live on a blue planet. Seventy per cent of the earth’s surface is covered by water. But only three per cent of all the water on earth is fresh. Much of it is trapped in ice and glaciers, leaving only a fraction, – one per cent, – for human use. Of that, agriculture and industry use the lion’s share.
Water isn’t limitless. It’s continuously recycled, from oceans and the land surface, into the atmosphere as evaporation, dropped on the land as precipitation, and taken back to the sea by rivers and groundwater. We don’t have any more water on Earth today than we did millions of years ago. But now, that same water has to support six-and-a half billion people.
We might be able to survive without oil, but no one can survive without water. Water is the ultimate non-renewable resource: what we have is all we get. Yet water is at risk from climate change, pollution, over-consumption and mismanagement.
More than one billion people lack access to clean water. Water-related disease and illness are the leading causes of death in the world. Two billion people live in severely water-stressed regions. Water shortages are even slowing the growth of cities in developed nations. Yet everyone needs water.