Water use has risen about 1 per cent a year since the 1980s and more than 2 billion people now live in countries experiencing high water stress, the UN said in its World Water Development Report released in Geneva on Tuesday.
The report projects demand will grow as much as 30 percent by 2050.
According to the report, “Stress levels will continue to increase as demand for water grows and the effects of climate change intensify.”
The scourge is set to become exponentially worse in Africa — the UN expects the population of the world’s poorest continent to almost double to 2.5 billion by 2050.
It feels that 59 percent will reside in urban areas by then, up from 43 percent now. A massive rise in agricultural production will be required to feed everyone, compounding the pressures caused by surging household demand for water.
Meanwhile, according to a last year study published by the African Development Bank the continent needs to spend at least $130 billion to address an infrastructure backlog, including as much as $66 billion on providing universal access to water and sanitation. But the continent faces a financing gap of $68 billion to $108 billion.