CCTV.com - CNTV English - CCTV News

Backgrounder: State of the world's water resources

03-13-2012 08:23 BJT

MARSEILLE, France, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The world's water resources are facing increasing pressure from soaring demand and climate change, the latest edition of the United Nation's World Water Development Report (WWDR) warned on Monday.

The report, released every three years and now in its fourth edition, was officially unveiled at the Sixth World Water Forum opening Monday in Marseille, southern France.

Here are some key facts and figures about the state of the planet's water resources released in the flagship UN report:

Over 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by water. But only 2.5 percent of the water resources is potentially available for human, animal and plant consumption. Moreover, the spatial distribution of fresh water is highly uneven.

Agricultural consumption of water in irrigation and food production accounts for about 70 percent of global freshwater withdrawals and may increase by about 19 percent by 2050.

Water is also indispensable for the production of energy and electricity and an integral part of many industrial processes.

The main source of human demand for water comes from urban communities requiring water for drinking, sanitation and drainage.

The world population is predicted to grow to 8.3 billion in 2030 and to 9.1 billion in 2050 and the urban population is forecast to reach 6.3 billion people in 2050 from 3.4 billion in 2009, adding more pressure on the scarce resource.

Over 2 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources between 1999 and 2010, according to another UN report. But the WWDR said there are 884 million people still using unimproved sources for drinking water and 2.6 billion people without access to improved sanitation. Some estimate 3 billion to 4 billion people do not have access to safe and reliable tap water in their homes.

Water-related hazards account for 90 percent of all natural hazards and are happening with greater frequency and intensity.

As to water quality, human health risks constitute the major concern. Each year, about 3.5 million deaths are related to inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene, mainly in developing countries.

It is estimated that over 80 percent of waste water worldwide is not collected or treated, and urban settlements are the main source of point-source pollution.

Global climate change is expected to exacerbate strains on water resources and increase the frequency and severity of droughts and floods.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program