Global Water Resources Under Pressure as World's Population Approaches 9.7 Billion by 2050

Explore the impact that population growth will have on global water resources and what we can do to manage this escalating crisis.

Written by Rika Andini

The world’s population is growing at a staggering rate, and according to United Nations estimates, it is expected to hit 9.7 billion by 2050. This means that every aspect of our lives, including food, water, energy, and housing, will be under immense pressure. Water, in particular, will be a critical resource that will be stretched to the limit.[1]


Population growth is a complex issue that is compounded by a range of factors such as urbanization, economic development, and climate change. The resulting strain on freshwater resources is already a challenge in many parts of the world. Extended droughts, groundwater depletion, and water contamination are just some of the problems that will exacerbate the growing demand for water. Regions such as South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa are already experiencing severe water scarcity, which is likely to intensify as population growth continues.


The burgeoning population is also causing a strain on rivers and other waterways, which are facing increased pollution, siltation, and sedimentation. The quality of water is deteriorating at an alarming rate, and this poses a significant threat to public health. Poor water quality can cause diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis, that can spread rapidly and cause epidemics that may be challenging to control. In addition, water availability is critical for agricultural production, which is essential in feeding the growing population. As the demand for food increases, so will the need for water, making it more challenging for farmers to produce food sustainably.


The world needs to adopt a more integrated approach to water management to tackle the challenges posed by population growth. We must move away from viewing water as an isolated sector to one that is connected to other sectors such as energy, agriculture, industry, and ecosystems. This will require a shift in mindset and policy frameworks that promote the efficient use and management of water resources.


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The Current State of Global Water Resources

Water scarcity and water stress are two related issues that pose significant threats to the sustainability of the world’s freshwater resources. Water scarcity refers to a situation where there is not enough available water to meet the demands for water usage, while water stress is caused by the imbalance between water availability and water demand. These issues are compounded by the over-extraction of groundwater, pollution, and poor water resource management. Climate change is also a significant contributor to the water crisis, with severe droughts and dwindling water supplies affecting many regions.


The world’s population is increasing rapidly, and so is the demand for water. According to the United Nations, water consumption has been growing at twice the rate of population growth over the past century. The current world population is over 7 billion and is expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, resulting in a continued increase in water demand. Climate change is reducing precipitation and increasing evaporation, making water availability even scarcer. Many regions are already experiencing water scarcity, and this is expected to worsen in the coming years.[1]


There are regions in the world that are currently experiencing severe water scarcity and stress. One such region is the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This region is home to a large proportion of the world’s population and is mostly characterized by arid and semi-arid areas. The scarcity of water in this region stems from its arid climate, and the demand for water is expected to increase significantly due to population growth.


Another region affected by water scarcity and stress is Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This region has the lowest per capita freshwater availability globally, and its demand for water is expected to triple by 2050 due to population growth. Climate change and variability also exacerbate water scarcity and affect the ability to access safe and clean water in this region.


South Asia is another region that is severely affected by water scarcity and stress. The region is home to about one-fourth of the world’s population and is characterized by a monsoon climate with significant variations in rainfall patterns. The region already faces a severe water deficit, with demand expected to increase in the coming years.


Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are also under significant water stress. The region hosts several river systems that cross multiple borders, and as a result, it faces several water management challenges. Climate change and variability also bring about changes in precipitation patterns and the frequency of natural disasters, which affect access to water and sanitation services.


In some regions, water stress is also characterized by the presence of too much water, as in the case of Southeast Asia. The region, home to several of the world’s largest deltas, floods regularly during the rainy season. The flooding is caused by both heavy precipitation and rising sea levels due to climate change, exacerbating the challenge of managing water resources effectively.


The Impact of Population Growth on Water Resources

The United Nations has noted that water consumption has been growing at twice the rate of population growth over the past century, and this trend is expected to continue. The impact of climate change, including reduced precipitation and more evaporation, is further exacerbating the water crisis. Many regions of the world are already experiencing water scarcity and stress, and this is expected to worsen as population growth continues. The demand for water resources is growing due to several factors, including :

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Population Growth

The world's population is rising at an alarming rate, and as more and more people come into existence, the demand for water resources will increase. As the global population grows, the need for food and water rises, putting enormous pressure on our resources. According to the United Nations, by 2050, the world's urban population will reach 68 percent, which means the need for water will only continue to increase

Economic Development

As the economies of countries continue to grow, so does the demand for water resources. Water is becoming increasingly important in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and energy production. The demand for water for economic development is only going to get stronger, with developing countries looking to catch up with the rest of the world. As per the World Economic Forum, by 2050, global water demand is projected to increase by 55% due to economic growth, urbanization, and population growth. Moreover, economic activities such as mining, manufacturing, and energy production can pollute water bodies, making them unsafe for human consumption

Changing Lifestyles

With changing lifestyles, comes the demand for more water. People are consuming more water-intensive products such as meat, thereby further increasing the demand for water resources. For instance, it takes around 15,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of beef. As people around the world enjoy increasing wealth and are looking to enjoy a western-style diet, there will be more pressure on water resources.

Climate Change

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges humanity faces right now, and one of its most aggravating effects is its impact on water resources. As the planet's temperature rises, the water cycle is disrupted, leading to significant changes in the availability and quality of water resources. Climate change impacts rainfall patterns, making some areas more prone to drought and others more vulnerable to flooding. Prolonged droughts in parts of Southern Africa have affected crop yields, with farmers unable to irrigate their fields due to water scarcity. Currently, high water stress affects approximately 250 million people in Africa, and four out of five African countries will probably not have sustainably managed water resources by 2030. The situation is not much better in other parts of the world, as climate change impacts water resources and exacerbates existing water scarcity issues.


With urbanization continuing to spread, the demand for water in cities is also increasing. As more people move into cities and the need for amenities such as water, sanitation, and electricity grows, cities are putting a significant strain on water resources. For instance, around 80% of global wastewater is discharged back into the environment without being treated. With rapid urbanization, untreated wastewater in cities will continue to undermine the quality of water resources. Indonesia is one of the countries that is grappling with the challenges of population growth and urbanization. The country's total population living in urban areas is currently 57%, and it is projected to increase to 66% by 2035. This rapid urbanization is putting a strain on the country's water resources, and clean water supply is becoming a significant challenge. As urban areas expand, the demand for water increases, leading to over-extraction of groundwater, pollution of water bodies, and degradation of water quality.

The Need for Sustainable Water Management

Sustainable water management is crucial to ensuring the availability of water resources for future generations. It involves managing water resources efficiently while minimizing their negative impact on the environment. Sustainable water management practices can include reducing water consumption through water-saving technologies, recycling wastewater, and protecting water sources from pollution. For instance, countries like Singapore have implemented sustainable water management practices, such as using treated wastewater for non-potable purposes, including industrial and irrigation use. Similarly, Denmark has implemented green roofs, which are designed to capture and filter rainwater for reuse.


The benefits of sustainable water management practices are manifold. First, it reduces water stress and ensures the availability of water resources for future generations. It also reduces water pollution and improves the quality of water sources, making them safer for human consumption. Additionally, sustainable

water management practices can lead to economic benefits, such as cost savings through reduced water consumption and increased efficiency in water use. Furthermore, implementing sustainable water management practices can help mitigate the impact of climate change on water resources.


Carocell Solar Water is an innovative and sustainable solution for water management. By using solar power, it reduces reliance on non-renewable energy sources and helps to mitigate the negative impact of traditional energy generation on the environment. This off-grid system is ideal for remote communities that lack access to reliable power sources, as it does not require a connection to the power grid. Additionally, the technology is easy to install, operate, and maintain, which makes it a cost-effective solution for sustainable water management. Carocell Solar Water can purify water from a variety of sources, including rivers, lakes, and wells, and can produce clean drinking water for communities that are facing water scarcity or contamination issues. This technology can play an important role in sustainable water management efforts, helping to ensure the availability of clean and safe water for future generations.


Carocell Solar Water is a globally recognized technology for sustainable water management with over 3000+ installations worldwide. Its innovative and eco-friendly approach to water purification has made it a popular choice for various applications, including remote communities, disaster relief, and industrial use. Annually, Carocell Technology supplies an astounding 182,500,000 litres of drinking water to these countries, which is a significant contribution to sustainable water management practices, with an impressive track record of supplying clean drinking water to over 30 countries globally.


Sri Lanka has been severely affected by drought, and Jaffna, located in the dry zone, has been hit hard. With an annual rainfall of only 13.29 mm, it has become increasingly challenging to ensure water availability for the local population. The average temperature in Jaffna ranges from 22°C to 33.8°C, further exacerbating the issue of water scarcity. However, with the installation of Carocell water, Jaffna now has access to sustainable water management. Carocell Solar Water provides a reliable and sustainable solution to the water scarcity problem by utilizing solar power to purify water. This technology has helped Jaffna become more resilient to the impact of droughts and has ensured access to clean drinking water for the local community.


While the global population continues to climb, it is becoming increasingly important for us to find ways to manage water resources and make them more sustainable so that everyone has access to clean drinking water. Carocell Solar Water is an example of how innovative and eco-friendly technology can help reduce our ecological footprint and provide a source of clean drinking water for various uses. The track record of Carocell’s 3000+ installations worldwide speaks volumes about their consistent commitment towards environmental sustainability.

We ought to urge more companies like Carocell to adopt the same principles towards preserving our natural resources for future generations. To ensure the survival of humanity, we must do our part in promoting sustainable practices in every aspect of our society and water conservation is no exception. In short, clean drinking water is essential for life, and we must work together as a global community to protect this precious resource as population growth puts immense strain on Global Water Resources.

Tirta Murni Nusantara

Jalan Penestanan, Sayan,

Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, 80571

+ 62 821 4645 0217


AHU-0020799.AH.01.04 Tahun 2022

Berita Negara No 080 Tahun 2022

Akta Notaris
no 09, 30 September 2022

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