Causes: Natural


Population Growth

Water scarcity has increased drastically around the world primarily due to population growth. Since the 1900s, the population has grown naturally because of reasons such as improved sanitation. An estimate has shown that in the next 15 years, world population will rise by at least 56%. As a result of this, the consumption of water will increase, our agricultural production will have to increase and, to supply the growth of population and agriculture, the amount of available water will decrease.

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Forests also play an essential role in sanitizing water. Trees and plants prevent pollution from affecting water sources, they maintain wetlands, and they prevent water and soil erosion and floods from occurring. For example, by planting tree farms or forests, the roots of these plants withhold the soil, preventing the soil from eroding. This, in turn, prevents soil from plaguing water sources during floods and rainfall. The clearing or unsustainable depletion of forests is widespread, and therefore is contributing to the impending water crisis. Over 40 million acres of Brazilian rainforest are cut down every year. In 15 years (2025), specialists have predicted that the Chilean forests will no longer exist. The director of the UN Environment Programme warns that to save many of our important forests, people will have to start taking action now.

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Climate Change

Related to these two factors but even more deleterious to Earth's freshwater supply is climate change. Experts predict that by 2080, another 40- 50% of our wetlands will be destroyed by the unnatural bipolarity in the Earth's overall temperature. The rise in sea level caused by climate change makes the water in aquifers near the coastlines useless by contaminating them with salt water. Also, with global temperature change, the water from melting snow packs and glaciers will evaporate more quickly than it once did, decreasing the water available in rivers, lakes and streams. Scientists predict that climate change will cause much of the Amazon Basin to turn to desert by 2050.

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