on a global scale only about half of the world's population has a connection to a piped-water supply in the home, whereas 30 percent rely on wells or local village pipes, and about 20 percent have no access at all to clean water. World population is expected to grow by another 50 percent (another 3-4
A levee on the Mississippi River being overtopped, with water flooding farmlands in Winfield, Missouri, during Midwest floods of summer 2008 (T. Kusky)
billion people) in the next 50 years, so huge investments are needed to maintain the existing water supply infrastructure and develop new supply networks. As population grows and water supplies remain the same or diminish, it is expected that in the next 10 years about half the world's population will not have access to clean drinking water. Most of those without access to clean water will live in Africa, south and Central America, and southeast Asia. Many of the countries of the Middle East face a different prob-lem—an extreme paucity of water of any kind. many of these countries have other economic resources such as petroleum, and will have to invest in desalination to meet the needs of their populations.
Presently the highest water consumption per capita is in the united states, followed by the nations of Western Europe. As some developing nations, India and China in particular, grow in affluence, per capita water use is expected to rise dramatically. The huge populations of these countries will further stress the water resources and supply system on a global scale. As populations continue to move into urban areas, countries need to invest in huge water-supply and waste-water treatment facilities to ensure clean water for residents. In many places this has meant pumping water out of the ground, but the rate of extraction from groundwater aquifers is in many cases faster than the rate at which the water is being replenished, so this resource is being depleted.
Global climate change is starting to impact the hydrologic cycle in patterns of global rainfall and water supply. In some places rainfall is expected to diminish, while in other the amount of rainfall will increase. These changes in climate patterns may dictate massive changes in agricultural patterns and even in population trends within and among nations. It is time for scientists, politicians, and planners to discuss how to handle the coming changes on a dynamic planet.
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Preparing for Armageddon, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Strikes, the Zombie Apocalypse, and Every Other Threat to Human Life on Earth. Most of us have thought about how we would handle various types of scenarios that could signal the end of the world. There are plenty of movies on the subject, psychological papers, and even survivalists that are part of reality TV shows. Perhaps you have had dreams about being one of the few left and what you would do in order to survive.