Cape Town’s historic water crisis was a wake-up call for the entire world. Something that had previously been unimaginable happened. If the targets set in the Paris Agreement are not reached, there is reason to fear that many other major cities could suffer a similar fate within a few decades. The example of Cape Town is a timely warning that chronic water shortages are already just around the corner.
20 percent of mankind lives in China, but the country only has seven percent of the world’s freshwater reserves. What’s more, Beijing’s second largest reservoir had to be closed down in 1997 due to pollution.
The annual distribution of precipitation is highly uneven: some three quarters of annual rainfall occurs June to September. In addition, the aging network of water lines is also causing massive problems. The population of Mexico City already has only limited access to drinking water, for a fifth of the city’s residents, tap water is only available for a few hours per day.
Most of the annual rainfall in the Japanese capital is concentrated in four months of the year, which renders the collection of freshwater difficult. Droughts are a frequent, and serious problem.
In 2015, the city suffered a crisis similar to the one in Cape Town; water level in the main reservoir dropped below four percent. The problem was solved temporarily, but the reservoir’s water content dropped below 15 percent again last year.
97 percent of Egypt’s water reserves come from the Nile, but the river is increasingly polluted with agricultural and communal waste. In 2008, several hundred thousand people were left without water despite the high quality water network. The UN estimates that chronic water shortages will hit the country, and the capital as well, by 2025.
It may be surprising to see the British capital on this list as well. Although London’s annual rainfall exceeds that of New York and Paris put together, the water pipes are in very poor condition, while the population is growing at a dramatic rate. According to local authorities, the water supply of the city is running at near full capacity and problems are expected to surface by 2025.
Only 1 percent of the World’s water is available fresh water and 70 percent of that is used by agriculture. Morocco is one of the countries facing the crises of less rain, drier topsoil and increasing population.
Climate change is increasingly depleting the water resources of the world – in many places, drinking water shortages are already a serious problem. The shocking images below tell a story about Earth’s largest bodies of water that we can no longer ignore.
We have known for some time that a number of countries in Africa are particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming on account of their positions alone. A recent study warns that the situation is even worse than we had previously thought.
Political tension caused by water shortages was also a feature of the history of the 20th century, and today, there is fighting in a number of zones where the lack of water was one of the initial causes of the conflict.
Up to 180 thousand people may be left without drinking water due to the severe drought.
Extreme drought is putting one of the world’s most important trade routes at risk.
The characteristic sand banks of the river have grown larger, some branches have dried out completely.
Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, shut down its main water works on 23 September citing shortages of foreign currency to import chemicals required for water treatment. The situation may not only lead to a severe water shortage for the population, but also increases the risks of diseases carried by contaminated water, such as cholera.
A comprehensive report by the European Environment Agency claims that over the next 30 years, agricultural yields could drop by up to 16 percent in Europe due to the phenomena accompanying climate change.
This year’s was the third hottest summer in Germany since the beginning of regular meteorological records in 1881, according to preliminary data from the Federal Meteorological Service.