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4 Billion People Cannot Access Enough Water to Meet their Basic Needs

Four billion people do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously understood, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. Water scarcity is fueled by population growth, consumption habits and demands from agriculture

Previous studies estimated that between 1.7 billion and 3.1 billion people are affected by severe water scarcity, but those findings were based on annual data that failed to capture variations in consumption and supply throughout the year. In the paper published today, researchers used monthly data on freshwater consumption and supply to evaluate water scarcity from 1996 to 2005, accounting for agriculture, municipal use, and environmental needs. Of the 4 billion people facing severe water scarcity at least one month a year 130 million live in the US — mostly in California, Texas, and Florida. Other affected countries include Bangladesh (130 million people), Pakistan (120 million), and Nigeria (110 million).

Magnus Franklin

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