Scarcity. It is a word that underlines the delicate balance between the resources that our world has to offer and the people who consume them. There just isn’t enough of everything for everybody, and it doesn’t take a prodigy to figure it out. One look at the world and it becomes apparent: not enough cars, not enough homes, and barely enough energy to produce these commodities. It is relatively easy to picture this insufficiency because there are simply more people than these products in the world. But how does one explain the lack of a resource that literally envelopes 71% of the planet?

Well, here’s the rundown…

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Out of all the water on this planet, only 1% is readily and economically available to us. Yet, that 3.26 million trillion gallons is a lot of water and would most certainly suffice if everyone had equal access to it. But, that is the crux of the issue: the disparity in availability. Kuwait, for instance, has 10 cubic metres of water per capita compared to Canada’s 100,000 cubic metres per capita.

When we consider that on the spectrum from Kuwait to Canada, most countries are inching closer to the former; thus, the larger issue becomes clearer. The poorest countries have the least amount of freshwater and are using it in the most inefficient ways. In fact, statistics show that based on current consumption patterns, most countries will run out of fresh water by 2040.

Let’s take a step back and understand why this reality is so hard to swallow. Water is a renewable resource, and our planet is blessed with an atmosphere that recycles this water constantly. Therefore, if the water cannot leave and is replaced naturally, how can we run out?

Well for one thing, the pace of consumption is quicker than natural replacement. But the real problem isn’t that our water is decreasing, it is that our people are increasing.

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The statistics above indicate that the general trend of increasing water consumption goes hand-in-hand with the increasing population. With the assumption that the search for the Infinity Stones isn’t making any headway, we need to radically change how we consume and even think about water because soon there just won’t be enough.

Before we dive deeper into this ocean, take the week to roughly estimate how much water you consume on a daily basis. One of two things will happen when you come up with this estimate: either you’ll realize the gravity of the world’s water crisis based on your individual consumption, or you will be wrong!

-Vipul Kamani

Clean Consulting UCLA