Canadian Consulting Engineer

Biofuels add to world’s water shortage

A report compiled by 24 United Nations agencies says water shortages are only going to get worse and calls for bett...

March 20, 2009   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A report compiled by 24 United Nations agencies says water shortages are only going to get worse and calls for better water management practices. The report cites four major reasons for the crisis: increased population, climate change, poor water management practices, and increasing demand for energy.

Prepared under the leadership of William Cosgrove at the UN for the Fifth World Water Forum being held 16-22 March in Istanbul, Turkey, the report highlights some dramatic factors, including:

– a strong link between poverty and water resources. the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day approximately coincides with the number of people without access to safe drinking water.

– dramatic increases in the production of biofuels have drawn enormously from water resources. It takes 1,000 to 4,000 litres of water to create a single litre of biofuel. Biofuel production increased 60% between 2000 and 2007.

– as living standards improve, urban areas grow and consumption of water and energy demand spikes.

“Demand is increasing. It’s creating competition and what we need are improved water management, better legislation and more effective and more transparent allocation of water,” Cosgrove said.

Due to climate change, almost half the world’s population – which is now surpassing 6 billion – will be living in areas of high water stress in 20 years’ time.

Energy demand globally is expected to increase 60% over the same period, putting more pressure on water resources.

 


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