NEW DELHI (AP) — The U.N. is warning that the world could suffer a 40 percent shortfall in water by 2030 unless countries dramatically change their use of the resource.
Many underground water reserves are already running low, while rainfall patterns are predicted to become more erratic with climate change. As the world’s population grows to an expected 9 billion by 2050, more groundwater will likely be used in farming, industry and for personal consumption.
In a report issued in India on Friday, the U.N. says if current trends don’t change, the world will have only 60 percent of the water it needs in 2030, and demand will rise 55 percent by 2050.
The shortfall could cause crops to fail, industries to collapse, ecosystems to break down, and trigger violent conflicts over water rights.