The Stream, March 20: England to Face Water Shortages by 2050, Environment Agency Warns

The Global Rundown

The UK government warns that England will face water shortfalls by 2050 unless consumption patterns change. Globally, the poor pay more for water than the rich, says a new UN report. An innovative water conservation program in Maharashtra, India, fails to fend off drought. Africa’s fastest-growing cities struggle to meet water demand. Flooding in the midwestern United States worsens as floodwaters breech 200 miles of levees.  

“Around 25 years from now, where those [demand and supply] lines cross is known by some as the ‘jaws of death’ – the point at which we will not have enough water to supply our needs, unless we take action to change things.” –Sir James Bevan, the UK’s Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, in reference to government projections that England will run low on water around 2050 at current water use rates. The Agency says the crisis could be avoided if water users cut consumption by a third, and water companies fix leakages and invest in new infrastructure. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

200 Miles of levee along the Missouri River and its tributaries that have been compromised by recent flooding in the midwestern United States. The unprecedented flooding is the result of snowmelt and heavy rains, and has deluged hundreds of homes. Associated Press

In context: Historic Missouri River Flood Damages Water Infrastructure.

10 to 20 times more Amount that the world’s urban poor spend on drinking water compared to the rich, according to a the UN’s 2019 World Water Development Report. People living in slums and other low-income areas are often detached from city water systems and forced to purchase water from trucks or vendors, boosting costs substantially. The report noted that 2.1 billion people worldwide lack access to clean, continuous water, and another 4.3 billion have no access to safe sanitation facilities. Deutsche World

Science, Studies, And Reports

The UN estimates that the population of Africa will double by 2050, and an increasingly large proportion of people will live in urban areas. Many of Africa’s rapidly-growing cities–including the capitals of Ghana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and the Ivory Coast–are already struggling to provide water to their residents. In Accra, Ghana, some residents have been without running water for two years. Bloomberg

On The Radar

The government of Maharashtra, India, implemented a water conservation scheme meant to store water in rainy years and combat water scarcity in dry years. The ambitious project, which has cost millions of rupees so far, is faltering, however, as 151 of Maharashtra’s administration blocks slip into drought. Critics say the plan is failing because many areas of Maharashtra were already facing water shortages, and rainfall has not been heavy enough to jumpstart the scheme. BBC

In context: HotSpots H2O, December 10: Inequality Fuels Water Quarrels in India’s Second Most Populous State.

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