July 29, 2016--Where are the world’s most water-stressed cities? (Guardian)

Water stress – where the human or ecological demand for water is not met – is caused by a variety of factors. There’s the physical scarcity of water due to lack of rainfall, the natural aridity of the area and, increasingly, changes in climate; but poor management and investment in water infrastructure, and pollution, also play their parts. The problem affects an estimated 2.7 billion people for at least one month of every year, across every continent – and is particularly pressing in cities as the global urban population grows. At present, almost four billion people live in cities, with a further 2.5 billion expected to join them by 2050. As the urban population grows, so too does the number of people living in settlements that are not connected to a formal piped water supply. Currently, some 860 million people live in slums around the world; their lack of access to clean water carries enormous health consequences. As freshwater supplies dry up, many cities are engaged in a race to the bottom as they turn to groundwater – with some underground aquifers now so overexploited that water is extracted much faster than it is recharged. During the height of the recent drought in California, farms and cities were apparently drilling so deeply for groundwater that they tapped into reserves that had fallen to earth as rain 20,000 years ago. To view the full article visit the Guardian.