THEM DRINK PEPSI
The Globe and Mail
John Briscoe, senior water adviser at the
World Bank, is blunt when he describes the looming water
shortage: Unless people learn to use water more efficiently,
there won't be enough fresh water to sustain the Earth's
population. "If nothing happens, the situation is really
quite terrifying," he said. "Without innovation, you're
The coming water crisis is partly driven by population growth.
But even more, it stems from a spirited overuse of the Earth's
fresh water for agriculture, industry and all sorts of uses
that turn good water bad.
The Sri Lanka-based International Water Management Institute
projected earlier this year that by 2025, only about a quarter
of the world's population will have enough fresh water.
Roughly a third of the world's population will have too
little water to meet their needs. That includes people in
Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Israel, South Africa and half of
India and China. This figure even takes into account that
these countries will learn to use water more efficiently.
As well, about 40 per cent of the world's people will experience
serious financial and development problems in their quest
to find the increased amounts of water required. Among those
countries are Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Nigeria and Turkey,
as well as large parts of India and China.
In fact, even those frightening projections may underestimate
the problem. Most scenarios don't take into account the
effects of global warming. When that's taken into account,
even such water-rich countries as the United States and
Canada may be in for some trouble.
From the point of view of the World Bank's Dr. Briscoe,
a big part of the solution is to make the cost of water
reflect its value. Now, people use it virtually for free.
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