The world’s mineral water is the most abundant source of water in the world, but scientists are warning that it’s changing our planet.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that mineral water has been “a major driver” of the Earth’s climate, ocean, food supply and biodiversity.
It says that the global increase in water use is “disrupting” ecosystems and threatening the health of human beings.
The water used for drinking, cooking and farming in the developing world is at least half of what is used in the developed world, UNEP says.
It also points to water shortages in rural areas, and the rising rates of diarrhoea and other diseases associated with water scarcity.
“The water scarcity in Africa is one of the biggest challenges we face today,” said UNEP Director-General Christiana Figueres in a statement.
“And yet, we continue to allow it to become more severe.”
Figuere said the UNEP report was based on “a comprehensive assessment of the current status of the global water resources” and called on nations to “step up their efforts to reduce water scarcity and water-related human suffering.”
The report found that “more than 70% of the world’s population consumes water in some form or another,” and that “the most vulnerable countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East, are most affected.”
It notes that “over the last three decades, water consumption in Africa has increased by a staggering 5,500%.”
It also noted that “by 2050, there will be more than three billion people in sub-Saharan Africa who will need to drink and cook water at least once a day.”
In addition, it found that the amount of water needed to grow crops and grow livestock has doubled over the past 30 years, from about 1,400 cubic meters (5,500 gallons) to more than 2,800 cubic meters.
The report noted that water shortages are becoming more common as countries try to deal with rising populations and rising water demand.
Water scarcity is already being seen in parts of Africa, the Middle West, South America and parts of Asia, it said.
Figue-Sanchez said that “water shortages have also affected agriculture in the Pacific and the Caribbean.
For example, in Brazil, farmers have been forced to resort to growing crops using less water because of poor rainfall.”
The world needs to take action to address the water shortage problem, Figuerez said.
She added that countries need to “re-think” their approach to water conservation.
“Countries need to take into account how water management impacts on ecosystem services and biodiversity.”
She said that water management and conservation must also be made “more efficient and cost-effective,” and not only to combat water scarcity, but also to protect biodiversity.