Skip to content

The Three Major Challenges for Water in the World

2.5 billion people in the world don’t have access to improved sanitation.

Globally we faced three major challenges with our water. First is around the quantity of water.  We’ve reached an interesting point over the last couple years where we’re to the point where the demand for sustainable water supplies has exceeded the supply. We cannot continue down this path.  So we need to continue to reduce that demand through improved education and awareness of our consumptive behavior. Agriculturally, we need to reduce our consumption – it’s 70% of the world’s water supply.  Industrially, we have to continue to reduce that amount of water consumed.  And then we have to look at our own uses at home, in our domestic water supply.  So we have to think differently.

The second thing is around water quality.  The water quality continues to be in tough shape around the world, so we have to work toward better sanitation.  Still 2.5 billion people in the world don’t have access to improved sanitation.  We’ve got to fix that, so we’re contaminating our own fresh water supplies.  So around the world, water quality, water quantity is a challenge, and the third is around energy.  

It takes a tremendous amount of energy to produce and move and transport our water and it takes a lot of water to produce our energy.  So we’ve got to be smarter in the way that we utilize this energy and water nexus.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think’s studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


Up Next